Well the Winter Solstice has come and gone here in my little garden downunder and truthfully it is one of the busiest times of year in my garden. Thanks to our late start to winter this year I’ve been harvesting the last of the Hyssop, Belladonna, Clary Sage, Mugwort, Wormwood, and various varieties of Mint.
After the harvesting come the winter maintenance. Belladonna and Wormwood are divided and repotted, cuttings are taken from the Mugwort and they are all moved into the coldframe. Other plants are also babied a little through the winter; Aloe, Arnica, Valerian, Feverfew, Tansy, Herb Robert, Marshmallow, a new variegated Elder and a variegated Wormwood. All the plants receive winter offerings and precious resins are burned in their honour.
The Mugwort has had a good cutting back, it was nearly as high as my house! I now have some lovely long stems set aside to dry for Besoms. I also have an abundance of dried Mugwort. I have placed a few packets in the shop and wee little sample packs have been sneaking into orders from the store.
My darling Belladonna enjoyed a good dose of lime and already her precious young leaves are poking out to great the coming sun. I also harvested and dried some of the roots this year, Some of the fresh root has already made its way into a very potent oil. The oil in turn has been added to our new Lucus Dark Grove Flying Ointment.
I wasn’t ever planning on selling my herbs but I have become very disenchanted with unscrupulous and uninformed sellers passing off incorrectly labelled herbs. These poor plants are chopped beyond recognition, smell like nothing at all, and are often a depressing uniform brown colour. I will never have a wide variety of herbs available for you, I simply don’t have the space, but when I have extra I will offer it to you.
So far there are two items available; Mugwort Leaf and Mugwort Flowering Tops. The flowering tops are of particular interest to the Alchemist and apprentice as they are preferred for that kind of work. I find them particularly useful in charms and witches bottles.
All my herbs are organically grown, hand harvested & air dried. They receive regular offerings to their plant spirits and all the care and attention that magically intended plants deserve.
Why do these things matter?
You know I’ll be the first to tell you to dive into the kitchen pantry or your local supermarket if that is all you have access to. Even these mechanically processed and heat dried herbs still contain the essential spark of the plant, albeit in a diminished state. In a pinch (sorry 🙂 ) they will work though. Even better though visit your local Middle Eastern, Mediterranean or Indian Grocer, the spices will be cheap, have high turnover and be better quality.
What happens when you grow your own herbs or source them from another magic user is something extraordinary. The spark is there of course, it burns brighter and sharper, the energy of the plant is tangible. The Spirit of the plant is often present, something rarely found in commercially treated herbs. They smell, look and taste as they should. Energetically and magically they will just work better.
Growing your own herbs for magical, medicinal and culinary purposes is a rewarding experience and one I can recommend to any witch who uses plants in their practice.
I’ll be sending out some special offerings in my newsletter including access to our very special new offering – Magica Herbae – a monthly magical herbalism subscription box! be sure to subscribe to the newsletter to be the first to know when it is released.