Category Archives: In An English Town Garden

What’s In Your Mix? Fun Times With Creation and Growth

Creation is an important part of spirituality. Whether we choose to show our imagination through cooking, crafts, writing or growing herbs in the garden (or all of those things and more!) it is important that we have an outlet to manifest, achieve and create.

We don’t have to be especially talented in our chosen media. I admit if I had to make a living using my art then the chances are I would be hungry but the important thing is that I enjoy doing it. I have fun! Also, if things go well, I have something to decorate my altar, other parts of the house and the garden which I admit is rather satisfying.

Just lately I have got into working with air dry clay and have made the amulets (and several more) that you see in the header photo for my nature altar.  I really like exploring symbolism and I try to incorporate as much as I can into my work, practice and life in general. The above photo is my Mother Earth Goddess figure. She now has pins coming out of her underskirts ready to be rooted into a base which I will be doing in the near future. I intend for her to have flowers, herbs and plants at her feet.

I also like to draw and spent quite a while drawing out the above Antahkarana symbol for use in the room I send my distance healing sessions. It was surprising how long it took to work out how to draw the squares on to top on another like that. It looks so simple but…well, it was a little taxing surprisingly but good fun, especially for the youngest teenager who enjoy the process and her mother’s struggles immensely. She also had the lesson of ‘never giving up despite having an obvious inability to use a ruler with ease’ 🙂

Having something arty or creative on the go is a fabulous way to relax and find our inner child too. Remind yourself what it feels like to squash wet, sticky clay between your fingers or how great it feels to eat something you have grown yourself.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Those of you who follow my blog will know I spend a lot of time in my garden. I like to think of myself as a small time gardener and herbs are my go-to plants of choice. The slide show above shows some of this year’s produce in its very early stages. In the last week alone things have really started to come to life.

Bringing the garden indoors sounded like a wonderful idea to me when I saw some inspirational mosaics made out of clay and so I decided to try a herb press mosaic and have produced some quite pleasing results so far.

I hope to incorporate the leaves I used once they are dry and then I intend to try out Pebeo’s Mixed Media paint on these once the primer and base colours are on. I have heard some good stuff about the possible effects when using this media.

Below is a photo of an interesting example and you can click here to see more ideas on Pinterest.

I am itching to have a go. I will also be making some clay beads for some particular jewellery I have in mind…watch this space as there is a chance I will inflict them on you all 😉

Creating and growing are important parts of spirituality. It isn’t just about where you are in your head, it is about where you are in the outside world and how you interact with that.

If you want to imagine those roots of yours going deep into the ground to nourish your soul then what better teacher than a willing herb you have grown from seed who is happy to show you the way in the real world in return for a little care and appreciation? See how she grows when she is well nourished, has just the right balance of sun and shade and is given a good and healthy compost mix to grow in?

What’s in your mix?

This article is part of Your Spiritual Life series. Other articles in the series can be found in the top menu.

Getting Rid Of Black Aphids/Black Flies – Essential Oil Recipe

lice-1271992_1280

My herbs in pots, namely most of my mint family, were all put in the greenhouse a couple of weekends ago ready for the colder months. I thought they would be nice and safe there but some late visitors, (probably left over from an insect 18-30 (day) holiday jaunt by the looks of them…rabble!) decided to drop in unannounced at what was obviously the equivalent of an insect Little Chef. Whatever the reason there was a brand new menu at The Little Black Aphid and diners were aplenty.

Feeling fairly put out, I put the cauldron on the fire and added a couple of toad eyes, three stag beetle antennae and a handful of vervain. Once this hearty family supper was on I decided to tackle the aphid problem.

The completely natural method is to hand pick them off one by one. I thought about this option for a few seconds but discarded the idea when I realised I had a life. However, it may have also been because I just didn’t fancy it 😀

Here is my essential oil recipe for tackling the beasties –

200ml of water

6 drops of thyme

5 drops of peppermint

5 drops of clove

6 drops of rosemary

1 spray bottle

At this time of year you can probably afford to cut your herbs back a little anyway but for those leaves left I suggest a liberal spray of the above concoction. It only took one application and a few choice words and my aphid invasion ceased production. Of course I am not a qualified aromatherapist so it may have been my few choice words which made the aphids drop down stone dead. I can’t say. If in doubt then I urge you to try reasoning with them first…and if that doesn’t work then do try the essential oils  😉

Do be careful not to spray any loitering spiders. I accidently caught two right in their eyes and they were not happy! It’s the peppermint, they hate it apparently. When I went back later they had moved out and left the place in quite a state. I don’t recommend it.

I suggest always washing leaves you intend to consume very well before eating, especially after spraying with the above recipe.

Always consult a qualified aromatherapist and your medical provider before trying any of my recipes. Do not use essential oils if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

Please note: I can’t be held responsible for the demise of any pet aphids, this mixture will probably kill them whether you have given them pet names or not. Thank you  😉

Autumn Gardening

20160903_135815

As autumn approaches it is time to start thinking about pruning things back and tidying up ready for the colder months. We only have a small patch of soil but there is still plenty to do.

There are several shrubs which need a prune and a particularly hardy creeper plant that takes over the gardens hereabouts (but whose name escapes me!) needs taming before we disappear under it. It does go a beautiful red and copper shade so I confess I am really waiting for that but it is nearly its time.

20160903_135144

The herb garden is coming along nicely and has provided me with a big jar of dried lavender and many daily herbal tea infusions this year using the lemon balm, catnip, peppermint et al. It’s been very generous.

I decided not to take any more of the herbs to dry as I feel they need to get established before we take too much from them. The roman chamomile has started to trail across and the bergamot has come back after getting a little sickly. The first lemon balm we bought and planted (in the top right of the photo above) is doing really rather nicely and, I think, will be strong next year.

I have decided to put a crystal grid in the herb garden next year and I am in the process of designing it. We had to cut a few branches off a tree and I hope to use some of those sliced up in with the design.

20160911_125248

The pinapple mint is loving the spot it is in as are the second lemon balm, the catnip and the lemon verbena. I am going to put these four in the greenhouse over winter along with the moroccan mint and a few of the others. I am not sure if the lemon verbena will survive in our unheated greenhouse but we shall keep an eye on her and see how she goes.

20160911_125114

So during winter this year it looks as if I shall have to buy some dried catnip, lemon balm and some others if I am to carry on with my various potions but this time next year I have a feeling I am going to be drying out plenty to keep me going over the winter of 2017 and I am hopeful I won’t have to buy many herbs in at all! How satisfying!

It has been a very successful year in the garden with my partner having a good stock of potatoes, onions, fennel, tomatoes, peas, asparagus and all sorts to offer to the table. He is hoping to have some potatoes ready for Yule dinner too. I’m very grateful and proud of his work in the garden this year in particular. He doesn’t have a lot of spare time but what he does have gets used to provide extra food for our family from our small patch and he also builds things from scratch such as wooden wall units for my jars and crystals – my hero – couldn’t ask for more!

I know he reads this blog of mine so just going to say a big Thank You!

 

Refreshed!

planting-780736__180

I am back again after a few days off with my wonderful other half and our teenagers! We spent the first few days decorating our bedroom (looks fantastic!!) and then we went out to the forest, the beach and to a local market on the other days.

The hound went to the beauty parlour and came back trimmed and powdered. Frankly he knew he smelt like a girl and he was not in the slightest bit impressed with this until we went for a walk by the beach and he got lots of compliments. He was also chatted up twice which pleased him no end and his tail curled back up as he strutted down the prom at the head of the pack with a ‘Look at me! I’m so handsome it hurts!’ vibe going on. And he was and it did, until he found some mud later on…

verbena-61241__180

We also did some work in the garden and I bought more herbs! I now have 25 different herbs I have specifically planted in the garden. I have used each one which is established enough to do so and have plans for the others once they take hold. The most interesting experiment is the morning infusion I created myself to help with my perimenopause symptoms using Lemon Balm, Peppermint and Vervain in various amounts. I really do think it is making a difference so I shall continue for another three weeks and see how I feel then. I have certainly had less headaches so that’s a plus in itself! I will post the recipe up once I am happy it works…having a holiday in the middle of the test may have altered the results so I need those extra weeks to be sure. Every little helps though, so fingers crossed it carries on working so well!

Outside, Where The Sun Is Shining

20160722_140430

This afternoon finds me out in the garden having planted in some Catnip, Majoram, Lemon Balm, Hyssop and Bergamot into pots and into the garden. I am lazily drinking a cup of ‘rather late in the day’ Peppermint Tea and perusing my patch of soil with a critical eye to find some jobs for my wonderful other half at the weekend…he’ll thank me one day when he is older and looks back ;-D

Here is my special viewing platform

20160722_140509

And this is my view

I potted the Catnip and the Lemon Balm, hoping to keep the former away from the local felines and keeping the latter from spreading too far and wide. I decided to let the Bergamot and Hyssop have their wicked way (but not together obviously) in the back of the herb garden but I left them with strict instructions to behave and not to do anything I wouldn’t…the teenagers always scoff when I say this to them as if those instructions open up a whole world of possibilities for them but the herbs stayed strangely silent on the matter.

The Borage has been pulled up and the seedlings have been transplanted to the back of the herb garden. I have, what you might call, a Borage Nursery but with a strict intake. I had to thin out rather a lot, including the stragglers hiding in the lavender! It was a Borage Convention and they were getting rowdy.

20160722_140522

20160722_140407

I wish you all a beautiful day, wherever you may be! Keep smiling!

Nigella/Love In A Mist

Studio_20160718_164947

An unexpected new resident has moved in to our garden this week. I believe this is a Nigella or Love In A Mist.

I vaguely remember we put a few seeds in a while back, the man of the house says two years ago! Suddenly it has sprung to life 🙂

I don’t think it is the ‘right’ Nigella to eat the seeds from but I am not sure so if anyone knows more then do tell!

Studio_20160718_165026

Herbal Course

planting-780738_960_720

I had been looking for an online herbal course for a while and came across one which had been under my nose for several weeks! One of my lovely followers, who is known as GrannyMoon online, does a very reasonably priced herbal course in three levels on her website. The first level consists of 10 lessons, one a week. I signed up for the first of the three levels a few days ago and had a lot of fun completing my first lesson. I sent it off today and will get feedback soon.

Here’s a short poem I wrote:

COOLING BREATH
 
With dawn of day comes dew of morn,
The rising Sun renewed, reborn
Washed and crushed and bathed in bath,
Tingly, minty aftermath,
Cup and spoon and then to blend,
Stomach, headache there to mend.
 

Can guess the herb in question? *laugh*

I’m hoping the course will fine tune my herbal knowledge and also help me get even more out of our garden and our foraging expeditions.

Fun, hey?

Peppermint Tea and Other Boosters

Studio_20160708_111615

This morning I picked some of the young leaves from the garden mint and made myself a pot of peppermint tea. I added a touch of honey and it was delicious. Why didn’t I do this regularly years ago?!

I am really enjoying experimenting with these teas straight from the garden. All the herbs are getting very well established out there and, so far, the slugs have behaved themselves. This could possibly be because they are far too lazy to tramp up the side of the railway sleepers to reach the raised bed or it could be because the bird table is nearby and they don’t want to risk becoming dinner themselves to an incoming bird. I hope I haven’t spoken too soon!

Talking of birds, our rescued pigeon from a few weeks back is surprisingly still about and raiding the bird table on a regular basis. I have seen him go and peck elsewhere so I am confident he isn’t relying on us completely for his supper. I am pretty sure it is him because he doesn’t seem to mind our presence mid-raid whereas the other pigeons all clear off sharpish when the dog starts his garden wanderings.

Tomorrow the hound goes for his booster injections after which he doesn’t usually speak to me in pleasant tones until he next wants feeding. I guess I would feel the same if I had sat there minding my own business, wagging my behind at an apparently friendly stranger, only to find I had been betrayed when I felt a sharp…well, yes, quite, you can see his point.

Still, as I said to the children when they were younger and were due for their health injections, it does stop you getting anything nastier. I don’t think that convinced them much at the time either.

Homegrown Dried Chamomile

Studio_20160624_102704

I harvested by very first batch of chamomile last week and I am delighted to say it is now dried and ready for use! I left a third of this months crop in the garden for the bees and they seem to be making good use of them.

I had decided to cut two thirds of the chamomile we had grown into bunches and hang them upside down in the big cupboard under the stairs. It smelt wonderful in there as they were drying but I think next time I shall just pick the flower heads straight off the plant and let them air dry. The reason for this is that they made a bit of a mess when I went to take them off the dried plant stems and mostly disintegrated (as you can see from the photo below) but they are still usable to make tea with the help of a muslin square or a bit of cheesecloth and a strainer *smiles*

20160624_102611.jpg

With this first little crop I have decided to keep half to make tea and the other half I intend to make into an infused oil. Here is a fabulous article to follow if you fancy making your own herbal infused oil from Whispering Earth. I shall be making mine by solar infusing it…simply leaving in on the windowsill once made and let the sunshine do the rest 😉

We are starting out small but I am guessing this is going to be something I will be experimenting with a lot as the herbs in the garden get themselves established. I can’t wait to start adding bits and bobs to other homemade products.

Totally organic! Doesn’t get much better, does it?

Just Misbeehaving…

Studio_20160619_191641

I hope you are all having a wonderful Father’s Day and beehaving 😉

I rescued a bee with lavender and reiki this morning. Turned his nose up at the sugar water my man offered him though. Presume it wasn’t the right vintage for a fast bee around town. He didn’t stop for a photo and went about his business shortly after but here is his cousin twice removed who was happy to pose *smiles*

Photo © In The Autumn Of My Life (taken by the man of the house).