What’s Flowering Now?

This year the garden has been in full bloom from the earliest part of spring. I love how it continues to give me beautiful blossoms throughout the year. Even in the winter in sunny California! I’ve been collecting photos for a while, I hope I can show them to you in the right sequence. There are too many to show you all of them, so I’ve chosen some favorites. For your enjoyment I am including descriptions for those flowers that have known benefits as flower essences.

One of my favorites is the Sweet Pea. I enjoy it’s lovely scent following me around the garden for a month or so. For many years we have been planting the sweet pea around the garden. Finally, this year it has started to spread on its own and has popped up all over the place. I love to wander through the garden and see the many-colored Sweet Pea as it unexpectedly climbs up a fence, or weaves its way into another patch of flowers to create a gorgeous contrast of colors! In the view of flower essence therapy, Sweet Pea is for finding your place in the world, forming right relationship to community.

Sweet Peas with Marigold

Purple Sweet Peas

Delightful sweet peas

 

A longer lasting flower that is still blooming in this hot weather is the Penstemon. It also comes in a variety of colors and brings joy to the eyes!

Purple Pink Penstemon

Purple Pentsemon

Pink Penstemon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Penstemon assists us in gaining physical strength through the development of spiritual depth and stamina.

Bright Pink Penstemon

Nasturtiums

 

One of Ofer’s favorites is Nasturtium. They have edible flowers, kind of with a spicy kick! It is a friendly feeling flower and is often recommended as a companion plant for vegetables, especially tomatoes. As a flower essence it revitalizes our thinking forces and connects those thoughts with the warmth of Nature.

Chocolate Nicotiana blooms

 

Nicotiana is a plant that I have used in flower essence therapy for years. I found it last year at Annie’s Annuals in Richmond. I didn’t realize what a gorgeous plant it is. It’s essence creates a connection between the human heart and the heart of the Earth which strengthens our ability to live in truth.

Valerian is the plant that Valium is derived from and has a strangely scented bloom. Years back, when I worked at a health food store, I always knew when the Valerian arrived from the strong smell emanating from the delivery box.

 

Valerian flowering

Garlic Chives blooming

Dusty Miller

 

Garlic Chives have a lovely lavendar blossom. This plant is a great edible with attractive flowers, but so far as I know doesn’t have a flower essence definition. A similarly attractive plant, is this version of the Dusty Miller that grows prolifically in the chicken yard without watering.

Aloe Vera is a popular succulent that is known for its gel soothing burns. This mother plant has a beautiful flowering stalk every year. It’s essence helps to overcome the feeling of being “burned out” and overcoming the intensity often found in “A” types who go, go ,go and don’t know when to stop.

Aloe Vera

Succulent flower

 

I can’t remember the name of this little beauty, but I love the blooms. All succulents are a wonderful addition to the blooming season. The Prickly Pear is another desert plant that thrives here. It has beautiful yellow blooms that turn into edible red fruits. Such fun! Another of Ofer’s favorites.

Prickly Pear blossoms

Prickly Pear in bloom

Rose Geranium

Hyssop and Feverfew

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Rose Geranium is one of my favorite plants to have for a lovely scented garden. It is also very tasty in the herbal sun teas I make every year. I am including Hyssop and Feverfew in those teas these days too. So easy to make. Just put your favorite herbs in a glass bottle (I like to use old apple juice bottles), fill with water and set in the sun for a few hours. Remove the leaves and presto! a delicious tea.

Summer blooms

 

Don’t forget the tantalizing rose! It’s beauty and fragrance add a lot to a garden. I find that they require more care than I like, so I’ve only kept a few. This red rose is looking quite happy even in the heat!


Signs of Spring

As we approach Valentine’s Day, I find myself feeling the full influence of what we call in California “false spring”. Every year at this time, I feel the pull of the sunshine and the slightly warmer days, fooling me into thinking that it is time to plant. Instead, it is a good time to prune, plant bare-root trees and flowers, and clean up from the winter – leaves that are in unattractive places, mud-spattered areas, jumbled pots and sticks flung around the yard.

Fig branch budding

Nonetheless, the signs of spring are evident all around the garden and I can take comfort in their presence. The first blooms every year are the snowdrops – a lovely little bulb that brightens everyone’s heart. The first year we lived here, my son (who was barely 6 at the time) and I went out in the yard in late January to take a look around.

First snowdrops

We spied the Snowdrop blossoms and our hearts soared. My tender-hearted boy let tears fall at the immense joy he felt seeing these lovely little harbingers of spring.

Not long after, the Oxalis begins to show its face. Many people don’t like this plant and call it a weed. It does tend to be invasive, but I find that it’s lovely yellow blossoms and pretty leaves  (easily visible with the snowdrops here) make up for its effusive enthusiasm. I just pull it out of the areas that I don’t want it living in and enjoy its beauty everywhere else. It has a flavorful spike that it puts out and is

Oxalis flowers

often called Sourgrass. Another child-friendly plant, the kids love to suck out the sour flavor in the early spring.

One of our favorite features of the kind of “wild and natural” style of gardening we do is the presence of volunteer natives every year. When we first moved here, we found large patches of Miner’s Lettuce in the back of the property. It is a treat in the early spring, and we love adding it to our salads for a little spice. It grows profusely in the hills around here, but we aren’t allowed to pick it – it’s against the law! When we expanded the garden last summer, I was a little concerned that we were covering up all the wild areas that the miner’s lettuce would grow. My fears were unfounded.

Now, in this earliest of springtime, I am finding many miner’s lettuce volunteers popping up all over. Some are in the vegetable beds, where I leave them to happily grow; others are placing themselves in pots and seem quite happy there as well.

Evening Primrose leaves

Evidence of one of my favorite natives, Evening Primrose, is showing itself quite early this year. This is a wonderful flower that is useful as an herb and is one of the flower essences I use in my flower essence therapy practice. When this one is blooming, I’ll show you it’s lovely blossom.

The many bulbs that I planted in the fall also begin to show themselves at this time of year. Though they aren’t blooming quite yet, when I look closely, I can see their leaves pushing up through the soil. The freesias, one of my favorite bulbs, have been showing their leaves for over a month already.

Sweet pea starts

Sweet peas also come up early in the spring if you get the early bloomers. Here is a pot of sweet peas that started growing a month ago and are looking quite happy even without much rain.

Last year, I planted some goldenrod as I read that it is a good companion plant. I also use it with my flower essence practice and enjoy having those flowers in my garden as much as possible. I didn’t know how the goldenrod would behave after it died back. I looked a week ago at the pot it is in and there is already happy evidence of its return!

Goldenrod leaves

A childhood favorite, Pussy Willow, grows in my front yard. For me, this tree is all heart. As an avid cat person, I relate on many levels to the pussy willow. It’s association with love and joy stays deep in my heart.

Early Pussy Willow Buds

Interesting that its soft little buds appear around Valentine’s Day each year.

Speaking of hearts, did you know that there is scientific study demonstrating that people die from “broken heart syndrome”?  Dr. Kate Scannell recently wrote in an article in the Contra Costa Times, “Experts think broken heart syndrome is caused by adrenaline surges triggered during physical trauma or acute emotional states such as bereavement, anxiety and anger.” So, if you know someone who has recently experienced a deep loss now is a good time to offer solace. Spring blooms are a beautiful way to open the heart again. As I mentioned, flower essence therapy uses flowers for that very purpose. The flower’s essence heals the stricken soul.

Heart-Health Benefits of Chocolate Unveiled on ClevelandClinic.org says,  “Flavanols are the main type of flavonoid found in cocoa and chocolate. In addition to having antioxidant qualities, research shows that flavanols have other potential influences on vascular health, such as lowering blood pressure, improving blood flow to the brain and heart, and making blood platelets less sticky and able to clot.” What a nice way to say “Love” on Valentine’s Day!

            We’re taking orders for heart-shaped fudge for Valentine’s Day until Friday, Feb. 10.

Who would you like to give some love to this Valentine’s Day?