In my youth, with a certain atavistic longing for a simpler universe to be fantastic in, I took a serious interest in herbs, which, unlike most adolescent crazes, has lasted my whole life. I’ve grown a lot, cooked, dried, propagated, used them in teas and potpourris, and researched a lot of the folk lore, mythology and traditional beliefs about them. Now, with the realism of reaching the age for my bus pass, I’m going to build on all this stuff, and try something new.
My own patch, which I’ve been calling the territory of rain, is shrinking a little – to my own back garden. Over the next year, I’ll be keeping any eye on the birds and wild flowers outside, but my focus is going to narrow a little, and I’m going to pay attention to the herbs – growing, using them in the house, and writing about them. At one a week that ought to make fifty two, but two of them, the rose and the elder are going to need a little more space. So fifty it is. I may add that I’ll be stretching the definition a little. There are some trees in the mix, and a few weeds and wild flowers. And there won’t be any serious medicines; medical herbalism is much more learned than I intend to be, and I’m not going beyond the odd cold remedy or hand cream. This is a very home-made project.
With a narrower focus, I hope to be paying attention to the smaller and less glamorous inhabitants of the garden – the insects, the mosses and lichens, the strange creatures I see in the pond. I’m taking my inspiration from Alan Watson Featherstone’s blog for Trees for life, which takes notes of things as small as aphids, in spite of being set in the most picturesque Highland landscape I’ve ever seen, and also from Rima Staines’ Weed Wife post on her blog The Hermitage, which wanders into some of the territory I’m working on in my Huldra-folk poems. My fingers are itching to start—-
You can find a list of the herbs available to me in this pdf: herb list
and a list of books which I have found interesting Booklist.