Is there anything as peaceful as a morning walk in Spring mist? With Wind a breathy whisper and the quiet only punctuated with the sound of bird's trills? I hear the underlying sounds then...the sounds that are usually muted by the roar of Spring machinery.
I hear the swish of water from car tires, passing by the house. I hear the distant surf, and seagulls calling. And if I focus my senses on my hearing, I hear a roar and there, in the underlying hum, I note vibrations of sound coming from Earth. The sounds of sucking mud, the drip off the eaves, the crinkle of a dry branch underfoot, the whisper of the worms...
And so it was this morning, as I ventured outside. The weather has been rainy and cold and sunny and warm lately, in fact, it has been Spring weather. I was dressed warmly, took my Camera, with some trepidation. I am still used to coddling my old Camera, Camera No. 1.
But Camera No. 2 performed admirably, as I ambled along, listening to the songs of the plants.
It is time to deadhead...a horrible term, for a peaceful Gardener. But it is what it is, and the Daffodils and Tulips look naked without their frill of overblown petals surrounding their hearts. And there is another show to look forward to next year, as these Daffodils and Tulips store food from their leaves in their bulbs for the rest of the year, producing once again next Spring.
I love the cycles of the garden...the complete circles.
I came upon Lady's Mantle, one of my favourite self-seeders. She is strong and adaptable, showing off chartreuse, airy flowers all summer long. I have a picture of her flowering exuberance somewhere, but couldn't find it. This photo is of her just getting started...leaves are still small and tender, just right to enhance my salads, with her slightly bitter taste.
If I were to collect the water, be they Raindrops or Dew, that settle on the leaves, I would join a long line of Women doing the same from times gone by...
Lady's Mantle was considered a Woman's protector, she was given the nickname 'a Woman's best friend'. She was used to regulate the menstrual cycle and to ease the effects of menopause. She was useful, as well, in reducing inflammation of the female organs. Since the 18th century, her large leaves have been applied to women's breasts, to recover their shape after breast- feeding.
And the magical properties! It is said that if a Woman were to collect the Water droplets on the Lady's leaves, in May, on a full Moon night, naked and with bare feet, showing her purity and ability to ward of opposing forces, she would preserve her youth.
My youth has been left behind. But I wonder if the collected droplets of dew would do well on eBay. And off I go, fantasizing about the wonderful possibilities for Lady's Mantle Water...
The Lady's children are vagabonds, taking long trips away from the Lady's settled home, to try out different parts of the garden, hopscotching here and there, carefree and putting down roots wherever they find a hospitable patch of ground. I don't mind these baby Ladies, I try to keep things manageable, but they do look lovely! and these volunteers are so very indepen- dent.
On this misty morning, the salad garden looks crisp and luscious. We have been enjoying Sorrel for a month...another amazing plant.
She has blood cleansing and blood improving qualities, similar to spinach...which improves haemoglobin content, along with Vitamin C. Granny G would feed everybody Sorrel Soup in the early Spring, when she had great quantities of this strong warrior.
This was one potion of Granny's at which we didn't turn our noses up. The soup had a lemony, very tart taste, which bit into your taste buds with a punch. There were bits of ham and potato and lots of parsley and garlic...it was one of her Spring Tonics.
I use her sparingly, much as I would any other Herb, fresh, added to salads and stir-fries alike. She is high in oxalic acid, and a little goes a long way. Sorrel can also, in large quantities, cause problems for arthritic people, of which I'm one. But in the Spring, she helps me cleanse Gray's and my blood; her fresh taste, beginning in early February, a prelude to the dance of Spring yet to arrive.
Sorrel's children, too, are vagabonds. She also has inconspicuous, yellowy-green flowers. But she has fooled me once, and I let her go to seed...the rest is history. But her seeds take a long time to grow to an appreciable size...she is best propagated through division. Her children, too, are a little tougher to remove than the precious Lady's offspring.
But Roman soldiers used to suck on Sorrel's leaves to relieve thirst; Henry VIII loved her, with the Tudors considering the herb one of England's best vegetables. Roman doctors used her as a diuretic. It strikes me that the use of an herb as a thirst reliever and as a diuretic is a little odd, but I remember as a child sucking on Sorrel, relishing her tartness. But I can't remember the result.
Lady's Mantle and Sorrel...the women's protector and the warrior helper...two plants that have taken up residence in my garden that love to wander. If their roots and leaves find the nutrients they require, they do well. If they don't find the habitat to their liking, they will still hang on and on, trying to replicate a former hospitable corner. Trying to find home.
Volunteers such as these are the backbone of my garden...I know when self-seeders have found a place to be that I have a choice to move them or enjoy them where they are. I rarely consign these two to the compost...I would rather pot them up and give them away.
Something these two plants allow me to do with regularity.