Its been a while since I wrote on here! I havent quite known what to write. January was full of business and sorting that the new year brings, I hardly had time to notice the changes in the trees and bushes. I did see some beautiful misty mornings when the landscapes were layers of grey that the sun would dissolve as it rose from the horizon, and some lovely starry nights. Although there really wasn’t a lot of sun this January, there was one day where the sky was blue and the sun was bright and the moon was above me too, so I took the chance to sit in it all day. That was really needed!
This month, I have had more time to look around and observe. The christmas period was quite stressful, (as im sure it is for so many people) with my Father being diagnosed with Parkinson’s, which was such a shock, but with the new life that seems to be springing up around us, I too have found a new lease of energy and positivity. I will probably do a post about Parkinson’s disease at some point, as we have done so much research since finding out; with a combination of Herbal medicine and Nutrition, we have really given him hope and his symptoms are improving, it will be a long journey for him and my Mother, they have really changed their whole life so quickly… so it is true that it is possible to make changes, at any age of your life! I’m proud of them 🙂
Snow drops –Galanthus nivalis
I’m sure everyone who is blessed with a garden or has had the chance for a little country side walk has noticed all the little shoots spouting up from the earth, the little snow drops! They are fully out where I am now and have been for a week or so I think. apparently there are up to 75 different species of snowdrops, all with the white flower head so im sure they are quite difficult to spot. I was wondering whether there were any medicinal uses for snow drops as there are so many of them and they are quite noticeable as some of the first flowers of spring. I just found this website with some uses of the bulb as a nervine and for use in Alzheimer’s.. have a look if you like http://en.heilkraeuter.net/herbs/snowdrop.htm I also found on Botanical.com this information… “An old glossary of 1465, referring to it as Leucis i viola alba, classes it as an emmenagogue, and elsewhere, placed under the narcissi, its healing properties are stated to be ‘digestive, resolutive and consolidante.'” Very interesting! I’m sure there are many uses for all the little plants.
Here is a poem I found by Hartley Coleridge, its in The Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady book.
“One month is past, another is begun, Since merry bells rang out the dying year, and buds of rarest green began to peer, as if impatient for a warmer sun, and though the distant hills are bleak and dun, the virgin snowdrop, like a lambert fire, pierce the cold earth with its green-streaked spire, and in dark woods, the wandering little one may find a primrose.”
I really must get a camera to put some photos up!
Cuckoo Pint – Arum maculatum
During my walk in the woods I noticed too lots of Cuckcoo Pint pushing up from between the Beech leaves. I find Cuckoo Pint quite mysterious and magical. The leaves are such a beautiful dark green and push upwards with their leaves rolled tight together, called a spathe to then open up and out, blotched with black. The stem is called a spadix which carries both the male and female flowers. They were commonly known as Lords and Ladies probably because of this, and their celtic name is Cluas chaoin.
I have the beautiful Druid Plant Oracle cards, and there is really lovely information on the Cuckoo Pint. “The Cuckcoo Pint displays the chalice and blade united. This symbolizes at one level the union of man and woman, but at a deeper level the goal of the Druid and all spiritual seeker: the union of the masculine and feminine aspects of the psyche, sometimes termed the Mystical Marriage or Alchemical Wedding.” I really like this thought, the male and female, the Yin and Yang all embodied in the spirit and conveyed by the parts of this plant. Perfect balance! It is a very poisonous plant and so should be avoided really, although there is a wonderful description of some of its traditional uses in the Druid Plant Oracle book. It mentions “Druids themselves were once known as ‘adders’ and Cuckcoo Pint has been called adder root, probably because of the fifth century herbalist Discorides’ belief that is could cure snake bites. He named it: Drakontaia Mikre, or ‘little dragon’.” The root has many uses, one of which is for its starch, but has to be treated appropriately before use other wise is as poisonous as the part above earth. apparently the festival of Beltane can be associated with Cuckcoo Pint as it flowers at roughly the same time.
Weeping willow – Salix babylonica
I have just been researching a little bit on willows and have found that the 2 large willows in my garden are Salix babylonica, imported from China originally. I would love to do a whole post on them some day soon; so will now just note that their long swishy stems are turning a golden colour now as the little buds begin to grow. I can almost see them trying to change to a bright green ish colour as the sun shines through, iluminating them as they sway in the gentle breeze. I have noticed that there is some sort of whitish substance on one of the branches, it looks like mould.. It’s probably moss but I will have to check. Our 3rd willow fell in the winds about 3 years ago, it was about this time in the year when the sudden winds came, they were out to do something important as their force blew it over completely; the inner trunk was totally rotten. The winds of change have plans of their own.
The last thing I would like to mention is that I saw the first little blue/white flower of Speedwell last week in my sisters allotment in Oxford. It was wide open! I would love to make some medicines with Speedwell this year, I will write about this little treasure of a plant soon too but I just love Lucindas page on her blog, she writes so beautifully! Click here.
The Beech trees are budding and I noticed too the little tiny beginnings of buds on the Hawthawns.
I hope as the evenings get lighter and the spirit of sping brings new life as the sap begins to rise, and the winds clear the sleep of winter away, that you too will feel renewed and full of inspiration and creativity for the year that comes. 🙂