Saturday, April 25, 2015

It's A Garden Party - Herbs, Anyone?

This feature, originally known as Saturday Farmer's Market, was created by Heather at Capricious Reader, and then hosted by Chris at Stuff as Dreams are Made on.

I've moved my herbs into a contained area. Instead of being spread all over the garden, they now line the walk from the front door to both the sidewalk and the driveway in an aromatic "L" shape.

It's more organized & easier to use. The bed still needs to be mulched, but they all took the move well, and by mid-summer they will make a wonderfully scented hedge.

I keep looking for interesting herbs to add to the garden, but variety is not the hallmark of nurseries these days. And some of those I'd like, even though a keystroke away online, aren't practical either for their climate needs or size.

What is Paradise?
But a Garden, an Orchard of Trees and Herbs, full of pleasure,
and nothing there but delights.

- William Lawson



Lemon Balm





Lemon Verbena



Lemon Grass

Mexican Oregano

The Nine Herbs Charm
                   (An Olde English Poem In Modern English)

Remember, Mugwort, what you made known,
What you arranged at the Great proclamation.
You were called Una, the oldest of herbs,
you have power against three and against thirty,
you have power against poison and against infection,
you have power against the loathsome foe roving through the land.

And you, Plantain, mother of herbs,
Open from the east, mighty inside.
over you chariots creaked, over you queens rode,
over you brides cried out, over you bulls snorted.
You withstood all of them, you dashed against them.
May you likewise withstand poison and infection
and the loathsome foe roving through the land.

'Stune' is the name of this herb, it grew on a stone,
it stands up against poison, it dashes against poison
Nettle (?) it is called, it attacks against poison,
it drives out the hostile one, it casts out poison.
This is the herb that fought against the serpent,
it has power against poison,  it has power against infection,
it has power against the loathsome foe roving through the land.
Put to flight now, Venom-loather, the greater poisons,
though you are the lesser, until he is cured of both.

Remember, Chamomile, what you made known,
what you accomplished at Alorford,
that never a man should lose his life from infection
after Chamomile was prepared for his food.

This is the herb that is called 'Wergulu'.
A seal sent it across the sea-right,
a vexation to poison, a help to others.
it stands against pain, it dashes against poison,

A worm came crawling, it killed nothing.
For Woden took nine glory-twigs,
he smote the the adder that it flew apart into nine parts.
There the Apple accomplished it against poison
that she [the loathsome serpent] would never dwell in the house.

Chervil and Fennell, two of much might,
They were created by the wise Lord,
holy in heaven as He hung;
He set and sent them to the seven worlds,
to the wretched and the fortunate, as a help to all.
It stands against pain, it fights against poison,
it avails against 3 and against 30,
against foe´s hand and against noble scheming,
against enchantment of vile creatures.

Now there nine herbs have power against nine evil spirits,
against nine poisons and against nine infections:
Against the red poison, against the foul poison,
against the white poison, against the pale blue poison,
against the yellow poison, against the green poison,
against the black poison, against the blue poison,
against the brown poison, against the crimson poison,
against worm-blister, against water-blister,
against thorn-blister, against thistle-blister,
against ice-blister, against poison-blister,

If any poison comes flying from the east,
or any from the north, [or any from the south,]
or any from the west among the people.
Christ stood over diseases of every kind.

I alone know a running stream,
and the nine adders beware of it.
May all the weeds spring up from their roots,
the seas slip apart, all salt water,
when I blow this poison from you.

Mugwort, plantain open form the east, lamb's cress, venom-loather, camomile, nettle, crab-apple, chevil and fennel, old soap; pound the herbs to a powder, mix them with the soap and the juice oaf the apple.

Then prepare a paste of water and of ashes, take fennel, boil it with the paste and wash it with a beaten egg when you apply the salve, both before and after.

Sing this charm three times on each of the herbs before you (he) prepare them, and likewise on the apple. And sing the same charm into the mouth of the man and into both his ears, and on the wound, before you (he) apply the salve.


  1. I have grown and used most of these, but feverfew is unfamiliar to me- what do you use it for? And lemon balm never gave a good flavor to anything I put it in (I tried it cooking w/fish) but has such a lovely scent- do you have a culinary use for it?

    1. The Feverfew was a gift from my daughter. It is supposed to be good for migraines, and since I get them regularly she thought I could use it. I rely on a number of prescriptions regularly and tend to be quite sensitive to drugs, so prudence demands I don't actually use it.

      I never found a culinary use for the lemon balm that I like, but I love the smell, so keep it along the walk where it will be brushed by people as they walk by, releasing its fragrance. I also use it dried like mint in sachets.

  2. Thanks. So lemon balm is one of those non-culinary herbs. I keep it still for the pretty smell.