I just bought Dorothy Morrison's Bud, Blossom and Leaf book.
Spell to Bless A Spring Garden
by: Dorothy Morrison
You Will Need:
1 qt. milk garden seeds or plants
1/2 cup honey 2 stakes or sticks for each garden row
2 qt. container pastel ribbon (1 for each stake)
small tree or bush branch w/ newly sprouted leaves & buds
Take all the materials outside to the garden. Mix the milk & honey
together & pour it into a container. Place the branch in the
container & set it aside. Poke a stake in the ground & the beginning
& end of each row, then sow the seeds &/or set the plants. Tie a
ribbon bow around each stake, saying to the seeds & the plants in
"Perfect love, I give to you.
sprout & thrive w/ life anew."
Pick up the container & using the branch, asperge the garden w/ milk
& honey. Consecrate it saying:
"Milk & honey flow throughout,
fertilize each seed & sprout.
Maiden, Green Man, dance & play,
twirl & laugh here everyday.
Bring lush growth & green this spot
every where you skip & walk."
Water the garden thoroughly. Tend to it's need each day.
I came across this and wanted to send this link that has links for
those interested in starting a specifif *theme* garden, such as
herbal, victorian,fragrant, medicinal, herbal tea, container,etc.
Here's the link:
*reposted from yahoo group
Mels, Fertilizer is not a must but you can use it in small spaces..just get the prepacked kind in powder, stick or pellet form instead of using natural fertilizers like manure that may smell up your condo.
Also, if you have a balcony you may want to try using a strawberry pot with a different herb in every opening for a small scale herb garden. I have one outside my back door perfect for quick spices for stews, soups, etc.
These herbs may thrive in cooler temperatures, but some seeds, such
as those of parsley, can take up to a month to germinate, especially
in cold spring soils. Soaking the seeds overnight and covering newly
seeded beds with clear plastic help speed germination of direct-sown
If you start the plants indoors, make sure the plants' growth hasn't
been hindered and that the transplants go into the ground when quite
small, and take are not to disturb the roots during the planting
Most of the herbs can be sown outdoors six to eight weeks before the
Note: If you have poor soil, applying aged manure or granulated
organic fertilizer to the soil during the seedling stage helps get
plants off to a healthy start.
Two different forms include the familiar curly parsley and the more
flavorful flat-leaved Italian version, with leaves like celery and
Sow: Direct-sow seeds or set out six- to eight-week-old transplants
about a week before the last spring frost, spacing seeds or
seedlings 8 to 10 inches apart.
Grow: Tolerates full sun or partial shade.
The emerald leaves have a distinctive flavor that combines parsley,
sage, and citrus; and its seed (coriander), which is reminiscent of
citrus and spice.
Sow: Direct-sow seeds a week or two before the last spring frost and
again in late summer.
Grow: Best in full sun, with some afternoon shade in hotter regions.
The leaves resemble parsley in appearance and taste, with delicate
overtones of anise.
Sow: Sow seeds directly into the garden about three to four weeks
before the last spring frost and again in late summer; thin
seedlings to 6 to 9 inches apart.
Grow: Prefers part shade.
Dill combines well with fish, mild cheeses, and vegetable dishes.
Sow: Best sown directly into the ground four to five weeks before
the last spring frost; thin seedlings to 6 to 18 inches apart.
Grow: This aromatic annual thrives in full sun.
Regular chives have a delicate onion flavor; garlic chives are
Sow: Grow by seeds, transplants, or divisions, with plants spaced 8
to 12 inches apart. Sow seeds in clumps or set out six-week-old
transplants about four weeks before the last spring frost; divide
existing clumps every two to four years.
Grow: Likes full sun to part shade.
By Karen Hegre
Herbs can be grown indoors on suitable window-sills. When growing
indoor herbs be sure there is plenty of light. If you are using a
south facing window, be sure that the herbs get a little shaded
during the middle of the day in the summer when the sun is shining.
On other window-sills be sure you turn the pots for even lighting
during the day.
Below are a list of herbs for beginners, the containers that are
best to use and a very brief tip on how to care for them. There are,
of course, many other herbs that can be grown indoors but this will
get you started.
Basil; Grow in Provence pots) Requires the sunniest position and
tolerates dry air. Prevent if from flowering to get long life from
Bay; Large pots or tubs; Prefers filtered sun and rich soil in a
Chervil; Grow in Troughs; Enjoys some sun but not the hot midday
sun. Be sure it has moist cool soil.
Chives; Pots; Keep well fed and watered. You can pot this up from
divisions from your garden.
Lavender;(Large pots or tubs. Buy the dwarf varieties for indoors.
Enjoys direct sun.
Lemon Verbena; Tubs; Likes filtered sun with rich soil in a cool
Marjoram; Pots; Choose sweet marjoram if you are planning on keeping
this herb in a warm room.
Mint; Pots; Enjoys some sun but not the hot midday sun. Pot in
moist, cool soil
Parsley; Pots; Choose the compact variety. It does well in a room
temperature about 60 degrees.
Tarragon; Pots; Takes full sun but will tolerate light shade
Thyme; Troughs or pots; Keep in full light and water sparingly
Rosemary; Large pots; Likes a bright situation so reflected light
can be used. Be sure however, that the room is cool, about 60
Sage; Troughs, Large pots; Select a variegated kind for indoor
color. Sage likes direct sun!
Now that you have chosen which herbs you are going to grow indoors,
here are some tips! The important think is knowing the temperature,
watering feeding and lighting to give proper caring.
Most herbs prefer a warm temperature about 60-70 degrees. Herbs will
tolerate the temperature range of 45-75 degrees, but they will not
thrive for long.
Make sure all your containers can adequately drain. Be sure not to
over-water indoor herbs. Water in the mornings, so that the excess
moisture evaporates during the day. Air is very important for potted
herbs and over-watering can cause root-rot fungus to thrive. If
necessary place a small fan beside your indoor herbs.
Herbs need feeding with a weak fertilizer every two weeks in the
spring and summer, but in the winter you can reduce to a monthly
feeding! Use half the recommended dosage of fertilizer at all
There are special grow lights, however, I use the regular 'shop'
fluorescent lights. These will improve the growth of your indoor
potted herbs if you don't have good window placement and lighting.
Be sure the lights are about six to nine inches above smaller herb
and twelve to sixteen inches above the larger herbs.
About the author:
Karen is an avid gardener and crafter. She and her
husband have a Backyard Wildlife Habitat, plus 'Fairy
Gardens' where the children can learn about different
herbs and hear Karen read a story about the Garden
Fairies and Flowers.
Peace of mind
Peace of heart
Peace of soul Plant four rows of squash:
Plant four rows of lettuce:
Lettuce be faithful
Lettuce be kind
Lettuce be happy
Lettuce really love one another
No garden should be without turnips:
Turnip for service when needed
Turnip to help one another
Turnip the music and dance
Water freely with patience and
Cultivate with love.
There is much fruit in your garden
Because you reap what you sow.
To conclude our garden We must have thyme:
Thyme for fun
Thyme for rest
Thyme for ourselves
Take your plant and appropriate digging tool and some water
to the spot you have selected take a few deep breath and center
Invoke the elements by saying:
I call upon the element of Air (fire,water,earth)
to lend your powers to this(name of plant)that it may strengthen its
healing properties and bring healing and strength to all that
partake of it
Take a moment to visualize each element then say:
Now visualize the goddess and god and say:
I call upon the goddess and god to empower this herb that it may
bring strength and healing to all who are given it As you watch over
the land and the living what over those who are in my care.
Plant the herb carefully in the ground whilst thinking of its
healing power - as you do so say:
In the earth I place your roots that you may draw strength from it
In the air your leaves and flowers reside that you may breath
The light of the sun shines on you to help you grow And as the
gentle rain will fall on you I water you to sustain your life
Carefully water the plant then say:
Thank your lord and lady and the elements.
~'The Real Witches Garden' by Kate West
The Celts were famed for their herb craft, Myths tell that Airmid,
the Irish goddess of medicinal plants, cared for the grave of her
brother Miach, and on this all the herbs of the world grew. As she
cut each herb, it described its healing properties. Healers in
former times would grow their own herbs, and every convent and
monastry had its medicinal garden. These were characterised by
fragrant herbs. Flowers and fruit tress, and because the herbs were
grown, cut and dried by the healer, they were endowed with his or
her special essence.
Ordinary people also had their herb patches, where they grew the
ingrediants for home-made lotions and potions. Even in the
industrial age, when large numbers of people moved to towns for
work, a small patch of back yard and later an allotment would often
be cultivated. You do not need acres of land - or, indeed, and land
at all - to become a spiritual herbalist. A windowbox or the balcony
of a flat can provide adequate space to grow a selection of healing
herbs. And a green place, whether indoors or outdoors, naturally
attracts health and healing to the home and family. Sitting among
your fragrant herbs or healing flowers for a short time each day
does seem to trigger the immune system, making you less susceptible
to illnesses and helping your body to fight infections and viruses.
All this benefit without actually ingesting any of your healing
The following herbs and flowers are particulary suitable for a
healing garden. Healing flowers and herbs include basil, bergamot,
chamomile,clary sage, dill,fennel,geranium,hyacinth,jasmine,
lavender,lemon verbena,lily of the valley, marigold,meadowsweet,
melissa(lemon balm),parsley,passionflower,peppermint,rose, rosemary,
sage,st.Johns wort,thyme,and violet.
Healing trees include:
almond,apple,bay, cherry,juniper,lemon,olive,pear,pine and orange
and in warmer climes:
acacia,apricot,coconut,fig and peach.
The size of the tree is irrelevant; your tiny tub olive will become
a focus of healing as well as a bringer of peace to the home.
By: David Harrington
Oh Mother Goddess,
All abundance is known;
Your love cheers the heart
And sustains the soul.
Misty summer mornings are ideal times for harvesting herbs. To enhance
magical power of your herbs, it is best to make every step in the
of herbs a magical one. Rise early and rinse your hands in cool water.
Wearing clean colothing, or nude if location permits, go out into the
garden. Bring with you a small basket, a clean cloth, and a cutting
The tool you use to harvest herbs should be one specially designed for
purpose, and duly consecrated. Any sharp blade will do, but a lovely
honoring the Moon Goddess who presides over the growth of green things
use a small sickle-shaped knife. The shining surface of the blade and
shape both connect it to the power of the moontides.
Consecrating Herb Tools
Any consecration rite for objects can be used to bless your cutting
simple rite is to wash the tool in fresh water, ideally rain water or
from a stream. As you rinse the implement, visualize all past
impurities leaving it. If you prefer, do this rite at night where you
catch the moonbeams in the shining surface of the blade. Say these
Mighty Goddess of all that grows
Bless this blade as moonlight glows
With this blade of shining power
Let me cut both herb and flower
So mote it be.
Take your newly consecrated blade and wipe it dry with a clean, white
Place it in your basket, along with the cloth.
Approach the herb you have decided to harvest. Praise its beauty and
abundance. Explain that in exchange for the careful care you have given
it, you will now, with its permission, take a small portion of it in
The following is a harvesting prayer based on one favored by Scott
Cunningham, and should be said while touching the herb to be harvested
the point of the harvesting knife.
You have grown by favor of the Sun, the
Moon, and the dew. I make this request,
herb, I ask you to be of benefit to me and my
art, for your virtues are unfailing. You are the
dew of all the gods and goddesses, the eye of
the Sun, the light of the Moon, the beauty
and glory of the sky, the mystery of the earth.
I purify you so that whatever is wrought by
me with you may, in all its powers, have a
good and speedy effect with good success. Be
purified by my prayer and be powerful.
Cut some of the herb. Shake off any excess dew. Set the sprigs
the cloth or into the basket. To retain maximum magical power, the
should not touch the ground. Do not harvest from plants that are not
grown, and never take more than about a quarter of the plant. If you
harvesting roots or bulbs, always leave enough to ensure next year's
After collecting the plant, you may want to leave an offering,
if you are gathering wild plants that you did not tend while they were
growing. A silver coin, small crystal, bit of bread, or a few grains of
fertilizing compound are all appropriate offerings to the spirit of the
Dry your herbs by tying them in bunches and hanging them up in a warm,
area that is free of sunlight and dust. If you are harvesting the herbs
seed, tie brown paper bags loosely around each bunch of hanging herbs.
bag will catch the seeds, which fall away from the foliage as it dries.
the herbs are dry. Gently shake them before removing the bag to loosen
If you need to hasten the drying process, place the herbs on a cookie
in a low-heat oven, checking them frequently to be sure that they do
turn brown. Store in clean, dry, airtight jars, preferably of amber or
cobalt blue glass. Keep jars out of direct sunlight.
Some Magical Uses of Herbs
Love: Cardamom, chickweed, cinnamon, clove, lavendar, lemon balm, rose,
rosemary, tansy, vanilla, violet, yarrow.
Good Luck: Allspice, heather, nutmeg.
Healing: Angelica, bufdock, cinnamon, eucalyptus, hyssop, lemon balm,
Prosperity: Basil, benzoil, bergamot, cinnamon, cinquefoil, lemon balm,
Protection: Alyssum, angelica, basil, bay, garlic, mullein, rue,
Psychic Skills: Angelica, anise, bay, borage, cinnamon, fennel,
Purification: Anise, bay, chamomile, clove, copal, fennel, lavender,
All information was taken from Llewellyn's Witches' Calendar July 1998.
Rue, Ruta graveolens, can irritate your skin. Some say it tastes
like strong blue cheese and it can be poisonous if ingested in
large amounts. So, why grow it? Believe it or not, there are
some great reasons for adding rue to your landscape. First,
it's ornamental with pretty foliage, it's a favorite of the black
swallowtail butterfly, dogs and cats dislike it, and it's drought
Rue is a semi-evergreen herb that can be grown in poor soil,
and once it's established it is VERY drought tolerant even in
hot dry areas and rocky soil. It's hardy to Zone 4, but should
be mulched in the winter. Full sun and a very well drained soil
are the best for rue. Seed can be sown at 68 degrees on
the surface of the soil. It's germination could be rather erratic
and will take from a week to a month. It does self-seed so be
sure to deadhead plants to prevent spreading. Rue will grow
to about 3 foot tall. It's often used in knot gardens and as a
hedge because it can be pruned into shape. Pruning should
be done in the spring or after flowering.
Rue also makes a nice addition to a rock garden or in a border
that is out of the way. Wear gloves when handling the plants
to protect yourself from the sap. The foliage and the seed pods
can be dried for arrangements. The flowers are tiny and yellow,
but look neat on the plant in midsummer.
Rue is known as a companion plant to strawberries, figs, roses
and raspberries partly because it tends to help deter Japanese
beetles. I've read NOT to plant it with cabbage, sage, mint, or
any of the basils, but don't know the reason. Rue is also said to
repel cats, dogs and flies. I would not use it in any type of
spray however, because the sap can be so irritating to some
people-- I wouldn't want it to get on pets either. The plant itself
in the garden will deter them-- most likely it's the smell.
Rue is a wonderful ornamental once you understand it's quirky
character, and plant it where it will do it's best for your garden.
MORE TIPS: Learn to grow historical costmary:
Drawing Strength From Plants
Each season, grasses, flowers, shrubs, and trees let a part of
themselves go in the form of seeds. Every one of those seeds is a
point of life, containing the full potential of the parent. In the
quest to find a rooting spot, they are buffeted by winds, parched by
sun, and soaked by rain. And, as likely as not, they find cement or
stone rather than fertile soil. Yet each season, the seeds find what
purchase they can and put forth their roots, slowly creating more
space for themselves and pushing ever upward, even when the new world
they discover is harsh and unpredictable. Seedlings are small, but a
single plant can widen a crack in a sidewalk or turn a rock to dust
through nothing more than patient perseverance.
In our lives, it is not uncommon to find ourselves cast into the
wind, through our own choices or through fate. We are blown hither
and thither by fear, uncertainty, and the influence of others. If we
do find purchase, the obstacles we face may seem insurmountable and
the challenges too much to bear. When this happens, look around you
and note the seemingly desolate and inhospitable places in which
plants have thrived. Given little choice, they set down their roots
and hold on tightly, making the best of their situation. Then look at
your own circumstances. Ask yourself if there is an unimagined source
of strength that you can tap into. Look toward the future. Imagine a
time in which you have widened a place for yourself and have
flourished through your difficulties.
The smallest things in life, like the tiny sprouts, given time and
the will to forge on, can overcome any circumstance and break down
huge barriers. It can be tempting, however, when faced with rough or
uncertain odds, to give up, to change direction, or to choose the
easiest path. But within you, there exists the same resolve and
fortitude as displayed in these courageous plants. You, too, in
finding yourself in a tight spot, can look ever upward, grabbing hold
where you can, using your determination to reach toward new heights.
There are many herbs that can be used for magical purposes; I've
elected to list only those that could be found in an ordinary
kitchen or can be easily found at a grocery store or nursery.
Herbs are wonderful for magic - they can be burned or tied up in
sachets or made into amulets to wear.
Anise: purification, protection, keeps away nightmares
Basil: purification, protection, exorcism, love, prosperity
Chamomile: prosperity, meditation, calmness
Cinnamon: psychic powers, protection, success, healing,
Dill: seeds draw money and protection, the flowers are used for
Hazel: mental powers, hazel nuts are used in fertility amulets or
Lemon Balm: health, success, love
Lugworm: divination, clairvoyance, psychic powers, protection,
strongest when picked on a full moon night
Nutmeg: clairvoyance, prosperity
Parsley: purification, protection
Peppermint: healing, purification
Rosemary: protects from negativity, blessing, consecration, aids
memory, protection rituals of all kinds
Sage: healing, prosperity, wisdom
Thyme: burn for purification, protection from negativity,
Yarrow: for a happy marriage, defense, protection
To make an herbal cleansing bottle, pour a layer of clean sand into a
large clear bottle. Add layers of dried herbs, one at a time: first
rosemary; then lemon peel, sage, cedar, black peppercorns, lavender,
dill, bay leaf, and rowan. When the bottle is full, focus cleansing
protective energy into the herbs and sand, and see a golden light
radiating from the bottle. Visualize the herbs driving away negative
influences. Cork and seal the bottle with white wax. Using a permanent
marker, draw the Algiz rune on one side of the bottle, and on the other
side draw a pentagram. Set the bottle near your front or back door, and
every six months, uncap, pour herbs out into the woods or your compost
heap, and thoroughly wash and dry the bottle before filling it with a
new round of herbs.
Dream Divination: Sights into the future, burn frankincense, dried
jasmine flowers, or mugwort in bedroom before going to sleep. Tea
brewed from mugwort or rosebuds will also work. You can also sleep
with ash leaves, bay leaves, cinquefoil, heliotrope, holly, jasmine
flowers, marigold flowers, mimosa, mugwort, onion, or yarrow under
Dreams of Guidance for Love matters: sleep with any of the following
herbs above your bed or underneath your pillow; cinquefoil,
marjoram, vervain, and yarrow.
Dreams of Spiritual Guidance: drink mint tea before sleeping, or
sleep with Buchu leaves or mint leaves under your pillow.
Enhance Dream Recall: mugwort, passionflower leaves, and rosemary.
Drink as tea before going to bed or place under your pillow while
Healing Dreams: drink tea-potion made from catnip or mint, burn
cedar as a magickal dream incense, or sleep with agrimony, catnip,
mint, sandalwood, or thyme under the pillow.
Mugwort: Most potent herb for dreamcraft. Aids in astral projection
and lucid dreaming when burned as incense or placed under pillow
while sleeping. Brew a tea from mugwort and drink it just before
going to bed in order to strengthen psychic and magickal dream
Prophetic Dream Visions: Make dream pillows or potions with any of
the following herbs; adder's tongue, agrimony, anise, camphor,
cinnamon, daisy, holly, hops, ivy, lemon verbena, lesser celandine,
mandrake root, marigold, mistletoe, mugwort, onion, peppermint,
purslane, rose, Saint John's wort, verbena, vervain, wormwood, and
Psychic and Spiritual Growth: burn frankincense or mugwort, drink
mugwort tea, or sleep with the herb underneath or sewn into your
Spiritual Protection: Burn cedar incense before going to bed. Keep
live hyacinth plant near your bed, or sleep with any of the
following herbs underneath your pillow; anise seeds, marigold
flowers, mistletoe, mullein, purslane, rosemary, thyme, Ti plant,
and yarrow. Will also guard against nightmares, psychic attacks, and
baleful phantoms of the night.
Sweet Dreams and Restful Nights: Place any of the following herbs
under your pillow; catnip, hops, mistletoe, passionflower leaves,
psyllium seeds, and vervain. Rub juice of a lettuce on your forehead
or eating its leaves before going to sleep will also help.
By Debra Mauldin, Certified Aromatherapist
The sacred plant of Rosemary is truly an all-purpose magickal herb
of great power. Rosemary is one of the earliest plants used for
food, medicine, and magic. It is a beautiful plant to grow and a
most necessary essential oil for every home. Traditionally
associated with 'remembrance', Rosemary has been used at weddings
and funerals for centuries. To the English, Rosemary was the symbol
of love and marriage. Brides would adorn their veils with it. In
Asia, people planted Rosemary on graves in the hope that their
ancestors would remember the bond between them and continue to give
guidance after death. Rosemary emits powerful cleansing and
purifying vibrations. The ancient Egyptians were the first to burn
Rosemary as a cleansing incense. It was used in the Middle Ages to
drive away evil spirits and protect against the plague. In the
European Tyrol, Rosemary was among the fragrant plants used to
fumigate and cleanse houses during the May Day Festival.
Rosemary is excellent for mental fatigue and poor memory. It
promotes clarity, concentration, and awareness. In ancient Greece,
students wore Rosemary in their hair during exams.
"Against weakness of the brain and coldness thereof, set rosemary in
wine and let the patient receive the smoke at his nose and keep his
head warm." (The Grete Herball, 1526)
Some of the most interesting characters in our history used nature's
essential oils as perfumes. Chardin, Napoleon's perfumer, recorded
the use of 162 bottles of Rosemary Eau de Cologne in the first 3
months of 1806. Reportedly, Napoleon used Rosemary for its vitality
restoring properties, its highly antiseptic qualities, and its brain
Queen Elizabeth of Hungary used Rosemary in her famous toilet
water, "Hungary Water", produced in 1370. Rosemary was reportedly
the important ingredient that helped her retain her beautiful
appearance into old age. Sometimes called Compass Weed, Dew of the
Sea, Elf Leaf, Guardrob, or Incensier, Rosemary is native to the
Mediterranean Region and thrives along the coast of the
Mediterranean Sea. It is the main ingredient in many Celtic recipes
and is grown in the garden to attract Elves and Faery Folk. Rosemary
is associated with the Sun and Fire.
A small shrub with pale blue flowers, the Rosemary plant has
glandular hairs, glandular cells, and glandular scales on its
surface; multi-cell pockets full of oil. The essential oil is steam
distilled from the leaves and flowers, and has a powerful
camphoraceous, woody, herbaceous scent. Rosemary is one of the few
plants that are suitable for tincturing, when dried.
Rosemary adds green, pine scents to a fragrance. It is a base note
in Guerlain's "Eau de Cologne Imperiale" and combined with Lavender
in "Egoiste Ptaltinum" (Chanel) and "Cool Water" (Davidoff).
Rosemary is royal in stature. It stimulates sensitivity, increases
creativity by lifting exhaustion, and philosophically awakens the
heart. The Rosemary plant spills forth its fragrance in the midday
sun. The aroma enables the human spirit to clear the mind and open
blocked passages in the body allowing it to tap into the universal
mind to receive and understand the assistance being sent forth from
wiser beings. This brings the human spirit inner peace and
contentment allowing us to remember who we are and perform the tasks
needed on our spiritual path and assist others if we are asked. Used
since antiquity to improve and strengthen memory, Rosemary is now
known to reduce headaches, increase circulation, and stimulate
digestion. Massage a couple of drops of Rosemary Essential Oil onto
the temples to restore clarity.
Use Rosemary as an herb or oil in the bath to revitalize and
refresh. Unlike coffee and other stimulants, Rosemary doesn't
deplete energy, but provides a much needed lift.
Essential Oil of Rosemary used in a massage oil alleviates water
retention, promotes circulation, and breaks down cellulite. The
inner thighs respond well to Rosemary Massage Oil and will produce
results when used at least once a day for at least a week.
Being protein in nature, the hair readily absorbs pure essential
oils. Rosemary stimulates the scalp and promotes hair growth. It
prevents dandruff and hair loss while adding suppleness and shine to
To attract love, add a few drops of Rosemary to your shampoo or
final rinse. Place Rosemary beneath your pillow to drive away
nightmares. Hang sprigs of Rosemary on the porch to protect against
Mix Rosemary with Juniper Berries for a healing potion. Wrap leaves
of Rosemary, bound in linen, to the right arm to dispel depression.
For scrying, burn dried Rosemary on charcoal and watch the smoke as
you inhale the aroma and concentrate on a question.
To restore an ailing friendship, cut stems from a Rosemary plant and
keep some for yourself, while giving the rest to the person whose
friendship you want to keep. Cook your friend a meal that includes
Rosemary. As you prepare the food, concentrate on the person and the
aspects of the friendship you want to maintain. Rosmarinus
officinalis is truly a sacred, versatile, and magickal plant
Fresh finely chopped herbs can also be used as a medium for creating
symbols or whole pictures to answer questions. Scattering herbs is
another traditional method of divination and has the advantage of
creating a three dimensional moving picture that can be easily
rearranged by shaking, much like a kaleidoscope image. It is like
taking a dream image, and being able to hold it and study possible
The four true divinatory herbs are parsley, sage, rosemary, and
thyme. You can mix these divinatory herbs to create a herb picture.
However, any fresh or dried herbs of the kind sold in jars can be
used, as long as the individual leaves are solid and separate,
rather than powdery. Dried rosemary, parsley and chives are
especially. Effective for herb pictures since each grain is distinct.
To use this technique:
Find some firm white or cream paper with a rough surface, about 30cm
(1 foot) square.
Think of a question, an issue or a person who is occupying your
thoughts, or let you mind roam freely so that your conscious
automatically focuses on the area of concern, which may be very
different from that expressed in a conscious question.
Shake a handful of herbs on to the paper and, holding the paper at
either end, gently tip and shake it until it forms an image or a
whole scene. If an interpretation does not spring to mind, close
your eye for a few seconds and then open them and look at the herbs
through half closed eyes.
When you have identified your first image, gather the herbs together
in the centre of the paper and toss the paper or swirl the herbs
around to see what new patterns emerge. Note the image at each stage
but do not try to try to interpret it in depth, although you may
wish to sketch each picture in your psychic notebook.
Repeat until you have five images or scenes
Finally study each of the images in turn. If the areas suggested
below do not seem to fit read the images one after the other and
weave them into a scenario.
IMAGE 1 : will tell you the real issue or question, which may be
different from the one you consciously considered.
IMAGE 2 : will tell you the obstacles you need to overcome to achieve
success or happiness. These may be internal fears or external
opposition. Again this may be unexpected.
IMAGE 3 : tells you of helpful influences, whether your own talents
or resources or other people.
IMAGE 4 : indicates they best way forward.
IMAGE 5 is the likely outcome or change.
Taken from A Complete Guide to Psychic Development by Cassandra Eason
Discovery of your interaction with it
Charging is the act of mixing your own energy with that of the thing
you are charging. Anything used for magical work should be charged.
To charge an herb is a process of reverence. You must acknowledge
the gift of nature, understand that it will benefit your work and be
willing to take its own force into you.
Take a small portion of the herb in your dominant hand. Cover it
lightly with your other hand. Close your eyes and begin to breathe
deeply. Calm all other thoughts in your mind. Breathe in fully and
breathe out completely.
Begin to focus in on the herb between your palms. Visualize the
energy from it as one color and your own as another. Concentrate and
picture the energies or colors slowly mixing, swirling together and
becoming one. Feel the pull of the mixed energies enter you and move
up your arms. Color visualization is one of the easiest forms. Focus
all your thoughts on the colors blended together, moving throughout
your body. This will take some practice so don't be discouraged if
the visualization is not strong on the first attempts. Keep
practicing and it will get stronger as you progress.
Note - To help with your visualization, take a small pinch of the
herb, crush it between your fingertips and release its scent. Take
in that aroma. Your mind will file it as information and you will be
able to use the scent to enhance your perception of the herb's
Once the herb is charged (or fully fortified with your energy) it is
ready for use.
Plant Doctor of the Garden
Yarrow is found all over the world in pastures, fields and meadows.
It is common throughout North America, Europe and Asia.
Its specific name, millefolium, meaning "a thousand leaf," aptly
describes the masses of feathery, green leaves. This is a very
ancient herb. It was used by the Greeks to control hemorrhages, for
which it is still prescribed in herbal medicine and homeopathy
today. The legend of Achilles, refers to this property. It was said
that during the battle of Troy, Achilles healed many of his warriors
with yarrow leaves. Hence the name "Achillea."
It has long been considered a sacred herb. The ancient Chinese text
of prophecy, I Ching, "The Book of Changes," states that 52 straight
stalks of dried yarrow were spilled to foretell the future.
It was also associated with magic. In Anglo-Saxon times it was said
to have a potency against evil, and in France and Ireland, it is one
of the Herbs of St. John. On St. John's Eve, the Irish still hang it
up in their houses to avert illness.
Yarrow is a hardy perennial with small white flowers with a hint of
pink in flat clusters from summer to autumn. "Fire King" has flat
heads of red, small clusters all summer. Achillea 'Coronation Gold',
has large flat heads of small golden flowerheads in summer that dry
Yarrow is a prolific grower, producing lots of creeping rootstock in
a growing season. To stop the invasion, divide a clump in spring or
fall and replant it where required. It is aromatic and basically
free from pests and disease.
Sow the seeds in autumn under cool protection. I do not advise
sowing directly into the garden. I do highly recommend that it has a
place in the herb garden however, for its many benefits. This
unassuming plant harbors great powers. One small leaf will speed
decomposition of a wheelbarrow full of raw compost. Because of the
abundance of leaves, I freely toss them into my compost piles
whenever I turn them, which result in a more rapid decay.
Yarrow is considered the plant doctor of the garden. Its root
secretions activate the disease resistance of nearby plants. It also
intensifies the medicinal actions of other herbs and deepens their
fragrance and flavor.
Yarrow is one of nature's survivors. Its creeping rootstock and
ability to self-seed ensure its survival in most soils. It is quite
Yarrow should be taken in moderation and never for long periods. It
should not be taken by pregnant women.
Yarrow is one of the best known herbal remedies for fevers. Use a
hot tea of the leaves to induce sweats that cool fevers and expel
toxins. It can also be made into a simple salve for healing wounds,
chapped skin and rashes in a base of beeswax and cocoa butter. In
China, yarrow is used fresh as a poultice for healing wounds. It is
a great insect repellent; use it splashed over the body in a tea
form, or rub the flowers on the body to repel mosquitoes while
working or relaxing outdoors during hot summer days.
The phases and signs of the moon affect how your garden grows and
let you know when to plant, when to reap, and when to weed. The
moon's phases and signs also result in four basic rules for
A moon that is waxing increases in light from a new moon to a full
moon, while a moon that is waning decreases in light from a full
moon until the next new moon. A waxing moon, which is increasing in
light, will be beneficial for plants growing above the ground, while
a waning moon, which is decreasing in light, will be beneficial for
plants growing below the ground.
Let's look at this first rule more closely. The waxing and waning
process of the moon can be divided into the four phases of new moon,
first quarter moon, full moon, and last quarter moon. In each phase,
certain plants have the best chances for growth.
During the first moon, it is best to plant annuals that produce
their yield above the ground and whose seed is outside their fruit.
During the first quarter moon, it is again best to plant annuals
that produce their yield above the ground, but whose seed is inside
their fruit. Perennials, biennials, and root and bulb plants should
be planted during a full moon. During the last quarter moon,
however, it is highly recommended not to plant anything! Instead,
this is a good time to kill bugs, weed, and turn the soil.
Different elements correspond to the different parts of a plant.
Knowing which part of the plant corresponds to which element--earth,
air, fire, or water--will help you determine the best time to plant
to maximize the plant's growth. For example, roots correspond to the
element of earth and are associated with the signs of Taurus, Virgo,
Each sign governs some activity in the garden. There are moon signs
which correspond to the four different gardening activities of
planting and fertilizing, harvesting, irrigation, and weeding and
pest control. For example, planting and fertilizing will be the most
successful if carried out during the fruitful signs of Cancer,
Scorpio, and Pisces.
In looking at this third rule more closely, we must be aware of
which sign will produce the best results for a plant. Along with a
plant's element, each sign's quality determines which plants will do
best when planted during their moon sign. For example, when the moon
is in Pisces, it is an excellent time for planting, especially root
plants. However, when the moon is in Virgo, it is not the best time
to plant. Rather, you will see the fruits of your labor appear at
Plant annuals that develop their yield above ground, during a waxing
moon. Plant root, bulb, perennial, and biennial plants during a
Whenever possible, plant in a water sign. Both the earth and our
bodies are three-quarters water, and life itself originated in the
oceans. Thus, planting in one of the water signs of Cancer, Scorpio,
and Pisces (which are also the fruitful signs) will increase your
chances of having a beautiful garden.
Finally, there are recommended times for such activities as moving
the lawn, pruning, and harvesting. If you want your lawn to grow,
mow it during new or first quarter moon. If you want your lawn to
grow more slowly, mow it during a full or last quarter moon. Pruning
is best done during a waning moon, and a full moon slows limb and
branch growth and produces a better yield.
Harvesting also should be done during a waning moon to avoid
problems with rot or crops going to seed. However, if you want to
use root crops for seed, then they should be harvested during a full
moon. Just after a full moon, grains should be harvested and dry
signs are best for harvesting root and fruit crop
by Barbara Radcliffe Rogers
Here are some tips to aid your spring housecleaning--and some plants
you might want to add to your garden this year to help with
housework chores all year long!
Moths aren't the only pests you can use herbs to repel. Fleas and
mosquitoes will avoid pennyroyal. Rub the fresh leaves on your skin
(but not on your face) or package the dried leaves to put in a pet
bed. Tansy was often planted around the foundation of old houses
because ants do not like to pass through it. Ants don't like catnip
either, and a sprinkling of it along an ant path will encourage them
to turn around and leave. But just try to keep catnip in the ant
path if you own a cat!
When Italian cooks discovered that houseflies don't like basil, they
placed a sprig of it over a bowl of tomatoes as they worked.
(Fortunately, the basil and tomato flavors do like each other!)
Clover flowers and sweet bay are also useful in keeping away flies,
so a bouquet of green and purple basil, sweet bay and red clover not
only looks and smells good in the kitchen, but keeps away the flies
Mint repels mice; long stems of it placed along the eaves in the
attic will encourage mice to seek a winter home at your neighbor's
house instead of yours. Anise, on the other hand, attracts mice, so
a little anise oil or a few anise seeds mixed with peanut butter is
far more effective than cheese as bait for a mousetrap. Velerian is
also good bait for mice, as well as for rats.
Bay leaves will keep weevils out of stored flour, cornmeal, and
other grains. A whole bay leaf laid on the top will not flavor the
food at all, but will protect a whole container full. The fungus
that infects dried beans and grains can be prevented by placing a
small, cheesecloth "sachet" filled with broken cinnamon stick, black
peppercorns, coarsely ground black mustard seed, and green garlic
into each gallon can or jar.
Although dogs and cats aren't properly classified as pests, they are
not welcome in garbage cans; very quickly discourage them by giving
the can covers a good sprinkling of cayenne pepper.
From Herbal Treasures by Phyllis V. Shaudys (©1990 by Phyllis V.
Shaudys; published by Storey Publishing).
2 tablespoons dried marjoram
2 tablespoons dried oregano
2 tablespoons dried rosemary
2 tablespoons dried leaf basil
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon dried thyme
1 tablespoon salt
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
Blend all together and store in a glass container. Use to
season as you would salt and pepper on vegetables and
meats. You can also mix into butter to make a great garlic
1/4 cup fresh basil, very finely minced
1/4 cup fresh oregano, very finely minced
1/4 cup fresh thyme, very finely minced
1/4 cup fresh parsley, very finely minced
2 cups good olive oil
Add the oil to a small saucepan, and add the minced
herbs. Bring to a simmer slowly, stirring occasionally.
Remove from heat and stir a little bit longer. Steep the
herbs while they cool for about an hour, then strain the
oil. Refrigerate and bring to room temperature before
serving with crusty bread.
1 cup of honey
1/2 cup fresh herbs
Heat the honey gently over low heat--do not boil. A double boiler
is good to use if you have one. Place the fresh herbs in a jar and
pour the heated honey over them. Allow them to steep for about
10 days before using. You can use any of mints, lavender, rose
petals, thyme, or any of the lemon herbs.
2/3 cup buttermilk
1/3 cup olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice or herb vinegar
1/4 cup light mayonnaise
3 tablespoons chives, snipped
1 teaspoon fresh minced basil
1/2 teaspoon fresh minced oregano or marjoram
2 teaspoons ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon granulated sugar or Splenda
Whisk the buttermilk, olive oil, lemon juice and mayonnaise in a
small bowl until smooth. Blend in the other ingredients and place
into a jar or container. Cover and chill for 30 minutes or longer.
mixture is smooth and well blended.
Latin name Calendula officinalis
Calendula is often confused with its counterpart, the Tagetes.
Calendula has a nickname of the "pot marigold", and this helps to
determine the difference between the two. In Latin, the word
Calendula means, " First day of the month", it was given this name
because it has an extremely long flowering season.
Calendula can grow up to 28 inches tall. It has paddle shaped leaves
with golden orange flowers. The leaves are added to salads and the
flowers are used as a garnish for many dishes.
Originally, Calendula grew in the Mediterranean, but now is
available throughout the world. It can be found along roadsides, in
open fields, and in many of the most beautiful flower gardens around
Calendula contains an essential oil in the flower heads and leaves
that have an antibiotic effect. The oil an be used internally and
externally. There are many methods of administration. It can be made
into tea, which can be used for wound dressings and as a gargle
antiseptic. Calendula's oil are used in ointments, as well.
To use Calendula as a tea: Pour one cup of boiling water over one to
two teaspoons of dried calendula petals. Steep for ten minutes, then
strain. By drinking two to three cups daily there will be a great
improvement in blood circulation.
To help in the healing of skin wounds: Soak a compress in Calendula
Tea, and apply to the wound for 30 minutes twice daily. Calendula
can also be used to treat sore throats. Gargle with warm tea several
times a day. This will help relieve the inflammation caused from the
The culinary use of Calendula dates back to ancient Rome. The use of
saffron (the powdered stigmas of the exotic saffron flower) was a
sign of wealth and power. The common people couldn't afford to buy
saffron, and they discovered that powdered calendula petals were an
The petals can be dried and kept in a tightly sealed container in a
cool, dry place for use out of season. To dry flowers, place them on
a piece of canvas or cheesecloth stretched over a screen in a warm,
dry, shady place. Do not let the flowers touch one another. Once the
flowers are completely dried, pick the petals off by hand and put
them in a container and seal it tightly. Before adding dried petals
to a recipe, pulverize them.
This is a great article for anyone getting started.
By Karen Hegre
Whether you wish to give your kitchen a refreshing aroma, to keep
insects at bay, or simply to store your culinary herbs in an
attractive way......this traditional herb ball is the ideal
decoration. Some of you may have these herbs growing in your garden
Half a stub wire
3 inch diameter floral foam ball, soaked in water
Selection of herbs such as rosemary, bay, sage, purple sage, mint,
marjoram and thyme
Satin ribbon one half inch wide.
For a long-lasting decoration, make your choice from the evergreen
herbs....bay, rosemary and sage, and from spice seedheads such as
caraway, fennel, and dill.
Bend the stub wire in half to make a staple and push it into the
foam ball. Hang the ball on a piece of string while you work on the
decoration. Cut the stems to almost equal lengths...a perfectly
round decoration would look contrived....and build up the design by
mixing the various herbs all the way around.
Position the caraway seedheads more or less evenly around the ball.
Remove the string and hang the ball on a ribbon. Tie a bow on top.
By Karen Hegre
Sinus Headache Pillow
Cut two pieces of material 10 x 4 inches and sew together. Making a
bag, leave one end open and stuff your bag with the following
Mix together in a bowl;
1/2 cup of flax seeds
1 part crushed spearmint leaf
1 part crushed peppermint leaf
1 part lavender buds
1 part eucalyptus leaf
1 part rosemary leaf
Stuff the bag and sew of the end!
Combine the following in a bowl;
1 cup mugwort
1/2 cup rose petals
1/2 cup german chamomile
1/2 cup sweet hops
1/3 cup lavender buds
1/3 cup crushed catnip
1/4 cup peppermint
Mix the ingredients together....make cloth bags from a 5 x 12 inch
piece of material....fill the bag with your mixture....sew the top
of the bag shut.
By Karen Hegre
Another way of bringing the delights of your garden into the house
and enjoying them the year round is to make 'Door Bouquets'. I hang
new door bouquets on the outside entrance door every other month, I
hang them over mirrors....even on the bed post, and even on the
inside of the bathroom door or wall. When you take a bath or shower
the scents are intensified.
Unlike the more structured tussie-mussie, a door bouquet is an
informal massing of dried flowers, leaves, herbs, and grasses, all
tied together with a length of twine or string. The effect is
spontaneous and random-looking. If you don't have a garden, you can
use wild flowers and grasses for this type of arrangement, or
purchase drieds at a craft store.
The important thing is to select a nice variety of textures and
colors that work well against each other. One example of such a
combination might include flowers you have dried in silica gel, on
their stems, such as peonies and lilacs. Another choice might be the
herbs and the greens in a southernwood/lavender bouquet. (These are
excellent on closet doors.)
Here are some instructions for a Closet Door Bouquet; This
particular closet door bouquet contains herbs that deters moths and
Take one full, long-stemmed sprig each of tansy, wormwood,
southernwood, lavender, Silver King artemisia and rosemary. Air dry
Arrange the dried sprigs in a bunch with the shortest stems on top.
Fasten them tightly together with a rubber band.
Knot a length of twine over the rubber band and wind the twine
around the stems for about 1 1/2 inches to hide the rubber band.
Knot twine a second time and make a bow or loop.
By Karen Hegre
Cleaning out drawers and closets...rearranging them to match the new
season, and storing winter clothes is a spring ritual at most homes.
First, I empty the drawers, vacuum out any debris, wipe them with a
damp cloth, then spritz them with the following Drawer Spray;
two ounces isopropy alcohol
one half teaspoon sandalwood e.o.(essential oil)
one teaspoon tangerine e.o.
one half teaspoon Peru balsam e.o.
One eighth spruce e.o.
one eighth lavender e.o.(or more if you prefer)
two ounces distilled water.
Pour the isopropyl alcohol into a glass spray bottle and add the
oils. Add the water and shake to mix.
Before using, first test the spray on a small section of a drawer
before using as alcohol can dissolve a shellac finish. If the finish
is unharmed, spray the empty drawer and allow it to dry before
replacing the clothes.
Drawers and Closets
Use the following blend in drawers and closets, particularly where
woolens and furs are stored.
Make sure the herbs are dried completely...then chop or crush them
4 cups lavender flowers
2 cups peppermint leaves
2 cups rosemary leaves
1 cup patchouli leaf
1/2 cup whole cloves
1/4 cup thyme leaves
Make some sachets and fill with the herb blend. Hang in closets and
tuck in drawers.
Spice Sachet Blend:
6 cups oakmoss
one cup each black peppercorns, allspice berries and cinnamon chips
one fourth cup aniseed
two tablespoons cloves
(sandalwood and ginger would also be nice additions to this recipe)
Combine all ingredients and mix well. Fill sachets and hang in
closets and tuck in drawers. I use spice sachets in my kitchen towel
More Oil Uses
Place a drop of your favorite essential oil on a scrap of fabric or
handkerchief. Toss it into the dryer with your clothes or sheets.
Use a drop or two of orange oil on a paper coffee filter to remove
glue or masking tape residue from windows.
Scent the filter bag of your vacuum cleaner with a drop or two of a
fresh-smelling essential oil.
Interesting thread! I especially enjoyed reading about the symbolic messages of herbs.
I'm perhaps lucky as I live in the UK where the weather is more temperate and have loamy, well-drained soil and a garden that gets full sun. I originally grew most of my herbs from seed (borage, lavender, sage, thyme, marjoram, mint, rosemary, calendula, alchemilla mollis, basil, sorrel, rocket, coriander) and mugwort which seeded itself. I propagate more plants from those each year by taking cuttings (in case we get a bad winter - rare now in my part of the UK), or just to replace plants that have become old and tired. (What a pity I can't do that to myself !!!!)
it doesn't matter too much whether you are new or not, just whether you have a green thumb. Some fairly sturdy herbs to start out with though are rosemary, oregeno, basil, sage, parsley. I have been into the "cooking" herbs for a few years now but I am wanting to expand into the flowering, medicinal and "smell good" herbs. I'm just thinking of waiting till we buy our next house so I can plant a permanent garden instead of doing container gardens. I have some perms at my parents but I can't keep up with them and the heat wave we had this year killed some of my container gardens because we just couldn't keep them watered enough and the heat burnt the leaves. That always hurts me when a plant dies. Good luck Chris!!!
I'm a keen gardener but have been very bad this year and all my herbs died except the chives!
What are the best herbs to be growing? I grow basil, oregano, sorrel, thyme, coriander, parsley - or at least I did!
A Wiccan sister I know from the old Care2 did say which ones were best for somebody new but I can't remember what they were. Sage was one but that's all I can remember!
Language Of Herbs
The healing powers of herbs have long been known. And, in addition
to their medicinal properties herbs, like flowers, speak a silent,
symbolic language. While in recent times, flowers have become the
more popular way to convey messages of love and caring, in ancient
times, and even as recent as the Victorian era, herbal bouquets were
exchanged to express that which words could not.
Some herbs have many meanings, even varying in interpretation by
different sources. Others have very specific messages, such as
Rosemary which symbolizes remembrance says, "Your presence revives
me." A considerate nosegay of Chives asks, "Why do you weep?"
Verbena's reassuring message is "You have my confidence." Abor Vitae
conveys unchanging friendship saying, "Live for me." Mugwort bestows
sentiments of happiness and travel, telling its recipient, "Be not
weary." Sage speaks of domestic virtues, long life, and good health.
Its potent message is, "I will suffer all for you."
Alas, not all herbal messages are loving or even uplifting. Borage
speaks of bluntness and says, "Your intentions only embarrass me."
Lemon Balm begs, "Don't misuse me," and the spiciness of Savory
tells it like it is, "The truth may be bitter." Goldenrod offers a
little more encouragement while sending a message of indecision,
pleading, "Allow me time to decide."
Still, the language of herbs can be light-hearted and humorous. The
common cooking herb Parsley stands for useful knowledge, festivity,
joy, and victory while claiming, "The woman of the house is boss."
Sweet Marjoram tells a persistent admirer, "Your passion sends
blushes to my cheeks."
The following offers the symbolic messages of other herbs:
Balm - sympathy
Basil (sweet) - good or best wishes, love or serious intentions
Bergamot (Monarda, Bee Balm) - compassion, sweet virtues
Betony - surprise, healing
Calendula - sacred affections, joy, remembrance, grief
Catnip - intoxification with love
Chamomile - energy in adversity
Cilantro (Coriander) - hidden worth
Cowslip - pensiveness, happiness
Dill - good spirits
Fennel - worthy of praise or flattery
Geranium - present preference
Gloxinia - a proud spirit
Hop - injustice
Ivy - friendship, matrimony, fidelity, constancy
Lavender - acknowledgment, suspicion, devotion, loyalty
Mint - grief, homeliness, wisdom, eternal refreshment
Marigold - despair, grief, honesty
Nasturtium - optimism, splendor
Pennyroyal - flee away
Peppermint - cordiality
Santolina - protection
Sorrel - affection
Southernwood - bantering jest
Spearmint - warmth of sentiment
Tansy (Tannacetum) - resistance, life everlasting, hostile thoughts
Thyme - thriftiness, happiness, courage
Herbs heal on many levels and offer us a way to convey our
sentiments through their beauty and fragrance. Herbs may be combined
with other herbs or flowers in a posy or nosegay to convey just the
sentiment you wish to express to someone you care about.
By Linda Gray
One of the pleasurable spin-offs in organic gardening is finding
alternative ways of coming up with the same, if not better, end
Household throwaways can be valuable to the alternate enthusiast.
Here are ten recyclable ideas to make gardening a little less hard
on the pocket!
1. Hedge clippings: Instead of burning or direct composting, beg,
borrow or even buy, if the quantity justifies the price, an electric
Branches up to an inch in diameter are posted into a slot and the
machine munches them up into small chips. Spread these chips thickly
around shrubs or fruit trees to help keep moisture in, and control
the temperature of the soil.
2. Food Waste: All food waste must be composted. Composting is
becoming quite an art form, and special composting bins can be
bought, or very simply made.
There are many different theories and each gardener will find his or
her preferred way. Keeping the compost fairly warm is the overall
key to a good result. Or, if you're in no hurry, simply keep adding
to a heap, and dig out the bottom when required. Sieve before using
and the compost will be ready for planting small plants and even
3. Old carpets, large damaged cardboard boxes; and similar materials
can be laid over the vegetable plot in autumn to help prevent those
early spring weeds appearing. Spread over a whole patch and weigh
down with stones or logs. Lift off on a sunny day in early spring a
few days before digging..
4. Paint trays: Keep old roller painting trays and similar
containers for seed trays. Punch a few holes in the bottom for
drainage. Add a little fine gravel before filling with seed compost.
Seed trays shouldn't be deeper than 15cm.
5. Yoghurt pots: All plastic yoghurt or dessert pots can be washed
and saved for re-potting seedlings. Make a hole in the bottom of
each and add a little fine gravel before filling with compost or
6. Glass jars: Glass jars with sealable lids are excellent for
storing seeds, beans and peas for planting next year. (Safe from
mice as well) After washing the jars, dry in the oven to remove all
traces of moisture before storing your seeds. Collect dark glass
jars, or wrap paper round clear jars to prevent seeds being damaged
7. Ice Lolly sticks: Make perfect row markers in your seed trays or
greenhouse beds. The wooden ones won't last for ever but you can at
least write on them with pen, pencil or crayons!
8. Wire coat hangers: Make mini-cloches with discarded or broken
wire coat hangers. Pull into a square shape. Place the hook in the
soil and push down gently until the natural bend in the wire rests
on top of the soil. Place another a short distance away in your seed
bed to create two ends of a cloche. Now throw over a sheet of
plastic and hold down with logs or stones.
Note: this will work only when creating very small cloches.
9. Clear plastic: Keep any clear plastic containers that could be
placed upside down over a plant. Cut a mineral water bottle in half
to make two handy individual cloches. Large sheets of clear plastic
from packaged household items are fine for throwing over mini coat
10. Aluminium bottle tops: Keep aluminium tops from milk or juice
bottles, and also coloured foil around beer or wine bottles. Thread
together to make bird scarer. Simply thread with thick cotton and
hang on your fruit bushes before the birds find the new fruits.
Look out for other tools for the garden from kitchen throwaways such
as: old kitchen spoons and forks for transplanting tiny plants in
the greenhouse. Leaky buckets for harvesting small quantities of
potatoes, carrots etc; light wooden boxes for harvesting salads
through the summer, and transporting pots etc;
Keep an eye on that rubbish bag and turn today's throwaways into
the herb...BASIL July 08, 2005 8:17 PM
Featured Herb: Basil
Sweet basil, with it's wonderful aroma and flavor, is one of the
most popular and widely grown herbs in the world. We associate basil
with Italian cooking, so you may be surprised to find that basil
originated in the far eastern countries of India, Pakistan and
There are so many uses for basil that every herb gardener will want
to have a plant or two. It is an attractive plant that works well in
vegetable, herb and flower gardens. Basil also makes a great kitchen
windowsill plant and looks great in hanging baskets either alone or
in combination with flowers. Basil is striking in containers when
combined with nasturtiums, zinnias or marigolds. Place pots of basil
around the deck or porch to enjoy the aroma.
Do you think of basil as 'the spaghetti herb?' Read on to find out
how versatile basil really is!
The easiest way to start basil seeds is to sow them directly into
the garden. In colder zones, start basil indoors in mid-spring.
Seedlings should not be set outdoors until all danger of frost has
past and the plant has four true leaves. Plants can also be started
from cuttings or rooted suckers.
Once plants are established, pinch out the top to encourage a
bushier plant. Frequent harvesting of the outer leaves will prolong
the life of the plant. Basil leaves have the best flavor just before
the plant flowers, and if you plan to preserve some of your basil or
make a big batch of pesto, this is the best time to harvest. You can
delay flowering by pinching or clipping off new flower buds.
Basil has a warm, resinous, clove-like flavor and fragrance. The
flowers and leaves are best used fresh and added only during the
last few minutes of cooking. Basil works well in combination with
tomatoes. Finely chopped basil stirred into mayonnaise makes a good
sauce for fish. Use as a garnish for vegetables, chicken and egg
dishes. Large lettuce-leaf basil can be stuffed as you would a grape
Basil doesn't keep well in the refrigerator. Instead, place the cut
stems in water and keep them on the windowsill. Sprigs stored this
way will remain fresh a week or more.
To relieve sore gums, swish out the mouth often with a tea made from
eight basil leaves in a cup of boiling water. A basil leaf tucked
into the mouth over an ulcer and kept there for as long as possible
will ease the pain.
- Basil in the bath is refreshing.
- Leaves and flowers can be dried for potpourri.
- Burn sprigs of basil on the barbecue to deter mosquitoes.
- A bunch of basil hung over the kitchen window or a pot of basil in
the windowsill will deter flies.
Basil doesn't retain its flavor well when dried. Instead, layer
basil between sheets of waxed paper and freeze. The leaves will
darken when frozen this way, but you'll be pleasantly surprised at
how well it will retain aroma and flavor. You can also fill ice cube
trays with chopped basil, and then cover with water and freeze.
Basil ice cubes are great for soups and stews.
More info Tuesday, 3:34 PM
At the bottom of the link, you will find a link to Indian remedies, women's herbs, etc. While I know it is not a wiccan site, it is full of information about useful herbs. Hope it is alright!
The above article is found at http://www.herb.co.za/herb-gardening/herb-garden.htm.
I have had a small herb garden for many years that I used for cooking. I am fixing to start another one for teas/medicines/lotions/potions etc. So that I can grow all my supplies naturally. As this garden is going to be larger, I am having to go about it slowly due to time, finances etc. I thought it would be great to add herbal gardening tips and share with everyone.
One quick tip which many may have seen before but I really do have is a Clay Strawberry planter with a hollow pcp pipe with many holes going through the center for watering. Different herbs are planted on different levels and it stays on my porch for quick add ins to my pasta dishes and roasts. Also, a great, space saving method for people without land-apartments, townhomes, student housing etc.
The appeal of a small formal herb garden remains timeless. Formal designs are based on geometric patterns, which are framed by low hedges and paved paths. For maximum impact each bed is planted with one kind of herb, giving bold blocks of colour and texture. Planting Tips Before transplanting herbs out of their "nursery" pots into the ground, water the pots well because a dry rootball is difficult to wet thoroughly once it is in the ground. Because "nursery" pots are small, herbs tend to become root bound. To encourage new root growth gently loosen the root ball before planting in the ground. Pinch out the tips of shrubby herbs, like thyme, to encourage bushy growth. Add some bone meal or fishmeal at the bottom of each planting hole. If you are using a planting plan, first set the herbs in their positions. It is easier to move them around while they are still in their pots, rather than having to transplant them later. Space them according to their expected height and spread so they have room to develop. After planting firm the soil gently around the plant and water thoroughly to settle the soil and give the herb a good start. Some herbs, like the spearmint, can be invasive. Restrict their spread by planting them in sunken containers. Remove any spreading material immediately. Repot them yearly with fresh soil. Mulch your herbs once a year with bulky organic material, such as shredded bark. Inorganic fertilising and heavy composting is not recommended because this produces sappy growth that’s more prone to disease and pests. Fertilizing is very important, especially if you intend to use your herbs on a regular basis. During the growing season (August to April in the Southern hemisphere) fertilize at least once a month. During the winter months one or two doses will be sufficient. Use any balanced fertilizer like 2:3:2. Always half the dosage given on the packaging. The reason for this is that the essential oils of herbs that ‘suffer’ a bit are more concentrated, increasing their flavour, aroma and medicinal value. If your herbs get too much fertilizer they will grow scraggly and be more susceptible to pests and diseases. Please note: If you are growing herbs for medicinal purposes do not use artificial fertilizer. Use organics. You can also try your own compost tea. Pruning is essential to encourage healthy, bushy growth. Remove dead leaves and flowers on a regular basis. Should you frequently use your herbs, pruning may not be necessary as you would be pruning automatically. Herbs are not very prone to pests but if you do have an infestation (aphids, red spider, white fly) either cut back the herbs or use an organic pesticide. Do not cut herbs at random. Take the opportunity to pinch out or prune the plant at the same time, removing unwanted shoots and encouraging bushiness. Use a sharp knife or scissors, do not break, bend or tear off the branches. Always harvest from clean, healthy plants in peak condition
Before transplanting herbs out of their "nursery" pots into the ground, water the pots well because a dry rootball is difficult to wet thoroughly once it is in the ground.
Because "nursery" pots are small, herbs tend to become root bound. To encourage new root growth gently loosen the root ball before planting in the ground. Pinch out the tips of shrubby herbs, like thyme, to encourage bushy growth. Add some bone meal or fishmeal at the bottom of each planting hole.
If you are using a planting plan, first set the herbs in their positions. It is easier to move them around while they are still in their pots, rather than having to transplant them later. Space them according to their expected height and spread so they have room to develop.
After planting firm the soil gently around the plant and water thoroughly to settle the soil and give the herb a good start.
Some herbs, like the spearmint, can be invasive. Restrict their spread by planting them in sunken containers. Remove any spreading material immediately. Repot them yearly with fresh soil.Prepare the ground well in advance, remove weeds (they compete for nutrition), fork in organic matter, such as compost, and rake the soil so that the bed is level. You don’t need to add large amounts of manure or fertiliser because that produces soft growth. My free article on site preparationwill give you some additional tips on the preparation of your herb garden.Caring for Your Herb Garden
Mulch your herbs once a year with bulky organic material, such as shredded bark. Inorganic fertilising and heavy composting is not recommended because this produces sappy growth that’s more prone to disease and pests.
Fertilizing is very important, especially if you intend to use your herbs on a regular basis. During the growing season (August to April in the Southern hemisphere) fertilize at least once a month. During the winter months one or two doses will be sufficient.
Use any balanced fertilizer like 2:3:2. Always half the dosage given on the packaging. The reason for this is that the essential oils of herbs that ‘suffer’ a bit are more concentrated, increasing their flavour, aroma and medicinal value.
If your herbs get too much fertilizer they will grow scraggly and be more susceptible to pests and diseases. Please note: If you are growing herbs for medicinal purposes do not use artificial fertilizer. Use organics. You can also try your own compost tea.
Pruning is essential to encourage healthy, bushy growth. Remove dead leaves and flowers on a regular basis. Should you frequently use your herbs, pruning may not be necessary as you would be pruning automatically.
Herbs are not very prone to pests but if you do have an infestation (aphids, red spider, white fly) either cut back the herbs or use an organic pesticide.Water newly planted herbs regularly but once they are established, they are naturally drought resistant. Watering and drainage goes hand in hand. Rather give your herbs too little than too much water. After a good soaking, allow the water to drain away and the soil to dry off. Water again when the top 2 or 3 cm of soil is dry to the touch.Harvesting Your Herb Garden
Do not cut herbs at random. Take the opportunity to pinch out or prune the plant at the same time, removing unwanted shoots and encouraging bushiness. Use a sharp knife or scissors, do not break, bend or tear off the branches. Always harvest from clean, healthy plants in peak conditionCollect small quantities of herbs at a time and handle them as little as possible.
Paving is an essential element, accentuating the formal lines and geometric design. Natural shades, like sand, terracotta or grey, contrast beautifully with the herbs, adding to the design element. The pathways and stepping stones also provide access to the herbs for ease of harvesting.
How To Start
Your Own Herb Garden
The rewards of growing herbs are far greater than with other plants. Other plants in the garden are mostly planted for their decorative value. Herbs, on the other hand, can also be used for a myriad of other purposes that stretch from flavouring your food to curing your flu to ridding your home of insects.
Herbs are some of the easiest, most grateful plants to grow. If you follow the following basic guidelines for setting up your own herb garden, they will richly reward you with their flavours and aromas.Herb Garden Location
The ideal site for a herb garden is a sunny, open but sheltered spot with well-drained fertile soil. As far as possible it should be free from weeds and overhanging trees and have good access to the house so that the herbs can be harvested in all weathers.
Most of the herbs that we can successfully grow in our country originated in the warmer climates of the world where they grow in the warm sun. It is these conditions that we must create for them. The minimum requirement is four to seven hours of direct sun per day.
Remember that your herbs will grow well even if they get less sun. They may tend to grow scraggly and will be more susceptible to diseases, but with a little extra attention they will still be successful.
Herbs are like most people: they do not like to have ‘wet feet.’ It is very important that your soil have good drainage. Most herbs will survive in poor sandy soil, but few will tolerate wet clay soil.
Culinary herbs should be planted away from possible contamination by pets, roadside pollution and agricultural sprays.
If you would like to find out more about selecting the best site for your herb garden read my Herb Garden Site Selection article. Paving is an essential element, accentuating the formal lines and geometric design. Natural shades, like sand, terracotta or grey, contrast beautifully with the herbs, adding to the design element. The pathways and stepping stones also provide access to the herbs for ease of harvesting. Before transplanting herbs out of their "nursery" pots into the ground, water the pots well because a dry rootball is difficult to wet thoroughly once it is in the ground. Because "nursery" pots are small, herbs tend to become root bound. To encourage new root growth gently loosen the root ball before planting in the ground. Pinch out the tips of shrubby herbs, like thyme, to encourage bushy growth. Add some bone meal or fishmeal at the bottom of each planting hole. If you are using a planting plan, first set the herbs in their positions. It is easier to move them around while they are still in their pots, rather than having to transplant them later. Space them according to their expected height and spread so they have room to develop. After planting firm the soil gently around the plant and water thoroughly to settle the soil and give the herb a good start. Some herbs, like the spearmint, can be invasive. Restrict their spread by planting them in sunken containers. Remove any spreading material immediately. Repot them yearly with fresh soil. Mulch your herbs once a year with bulky organic material, such as shredded bark. Inorganic fertilising and heavy composting is not recommended because this produces sappy growth that’s more prone to disease and pests. Fertilizing is very important, especially if you intend to use your herbs on a regular basis. During the growing season (August to April in the Southern hemisphere) fertilize at least once a month. During the winter months one or two doses will be sufficient. Use any balanced fertilizer like 2:3:2.
Paving is an essential element, accentuating the formal lines and geometric design. Natural shades, like sand, terracotta or grey, contrast beautifully with the herbs, adding to the design element. The pathways and stepping stones also provide access to the herbs for ease of harvesting.The appeal of a small formal herb garden remains timeless. Formal designs are based on geometric patterns, which are framed by low hedges and paved paths. For maximum impact each bed is planted with one kind of herb, giving bold blocks of colour and texture. Planting Tips
Use any balanced fertilizer like 2:3:2.