Thursday, August 30, 2007

Willow Trees

I have always loved the willows (scientific name "Salix"). It's been my favorite tree since childhood, when moving to a new house, I first saw a small grove of weeping willows in our neighbor's front yard. I thought they were the most beautiful trees I had ever seen.

When I was a bit older, I was a tomboy who loved to wander through the small bit of woods behind another house we lived in. There was a little stream with willows growing next to it. I took a twig home with me one day, and stuck it in the ground. From that twig grew a huge willow tree, here's a pic of me in my 20's with my willow friend.

My family gave me a little Salix Caprea one Mother's day in recent years, I love the little fuzzy catkins that open in the spring.

In legend, it is said that the sound of wind blowing through the branches of the willow influences the mind and results in inspiration. This was sometimes referred to as the Willow-Muse, (or willow-tree faerie).

In healing, willow bark has been used as a painkiller. The bark contains salicylic acid, which is the source of aspirin. It has also been used as an incense to uplift ones spirit.

Willows are known as trees of enchantment and mysteries. It is one of the Celtic sacred trees of magic. Willow groves are said to be so magical, that poets, musicians, artists and other great thinkers would sit amongst them to gain inspiration and prophesy.

Willows have always been associated with water. They are regarded as feminine trees, thus also associated with the moon. There are many mystical myths of goddesses, gypsies and witches connected with willows, water and the moon.

The weeping willow, I think is a most beautiful tree. The swaying branches are calming to the soul, and a joy to watch.

I will be hosting the Festival of the Trees for the month of November. I'm going to try a theme of spooky trees, and hopefully have the festival post up a day early, 31 Oct, Halloween! So start thinking about the spookiest trees you have seen. I'll put up more info on this next month.
September's festival host is Raven's Nest
October's host will be Trees if you please.

For more info, see Festival of the Trees.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Despite the cloud and rain...

Zaluzianskya just started blooming, missing bloom day by a few days.

Nasturtiums everywhere, they are having some party! I tried to grow lettuces here, and after the lettuce was eaten by giant slugs, these happy flowers showed up and stayed.

And inside, my thunbergia still blooms nicely all summer.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

August Bloomday

Bloomday for August is here. The weather has been mostly rainy and cold, what a miserable summer. My garden has less flowers than it probably should.. I didn't go out much to tend things due to the rain and very soggy ground.
So.. first we have the lovely Dark Lady on a rare sunshiney day.

Listen to the European Robin, press play!
There are a few robins that visit my garden, cheeky little birds! Tiny, but very tough little creatures.

Poppy, nigella, geranium, and evening primrose.

Nasturtiums are growing everywhere! I'm happy for that, they don't have a care in the world where they grow. I like to use the flowers in my salads and pasta dishes.

Impatiens looking like miniature roses.

A pelargonium from my Mom's garden, long ago.

The only sweet pea that grew for me this year.

Wild fuchsia, and Tinkerbelle

Honeysuckle is still looking wonderful

William Morris is starting a new flush of flowers

Malva, borage, rose-scented geranium, stock, and oregano

A couple of pale yellow hollyhocks have decided to grow in the front garden. No idea how they got here, but I'm loving them! I want lots more in different colors next summer!

Whites.. eschscholzia, feverfew, allysum, and chamomile

a few violas still looking cute

Welsh poppies (from seeds collected in the Welsh mountains), and verbena.

If you'd like to participate in the monthly Bloom Day, do up a post about all the flowers blooming on the 15th of each month, then visit May Dreams Gardens and leave a link.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007


The peppermint in my wild area has grown huge! It's just now starting to get flower buds, so this must be its final height. It's between 3 and 4 feet high. I never knew it would grow so big. And the scent is powerful and gorgeous! Had to take a pic of Smudge next to the mint to see the size relation.

To answer Snappy's question in my comments as to what I do with the mint..
I've been trying the mint in various dishes. I have made some nice pasta salads with a few chopped up leaves in, it seems to combine well with cheeses, tomatoes and cucumbers.
I did try it as a tea, but prefer the leaves dried first. But my drying method doesn't work. I air dry the leaves, and they are fine for a few days in a jar, then they begin to smell musty. So need to figure out a better drying method.