• Monthly Columns,  Spells & Rituals

    Notes from the Apothecary

    Notes from the Apothecary: Bluebell     Tiny bluebells are, for me, a sign that spring is truly on the way. In the woods near where I live, they spring up, completely unannounced, sometime between the snowdrops and the wild garlic. It’s a “blink and you miss it” kind of phenomenon; Come to early, and the ground is just green and dormant. Come too late, and the flowers have already wilted, the plants getting ready to store their energy until next year. The most spectacular showing of bluebells is at a patch of woodland a little further afield, by the banks of one of our waterways. These bluebells arise and…

  • Monthly Columns

    Notes from the Apothecary

    Notes from the Apothecary: Jasmine     Jasmine, or Jasminum, is a sweet-smelling flowering plant related to the olive tree. Some jasmine plants grow as shrubs but the most famous are probably the climbing varieties. Some can grow as tall as nine metres! Jasmine flowers are white or yellow, with some holding delicate tones of pink or even red.   The Kitchen Garden Generally jasmine like partial shade and a warm setting, but there are some hardy varieties that grow happily in cooler climates – hence jasmine making it into our January issue! Winter jasmine, Jasminum nudiflorum, tends to have solitary, yellow flowers and may bloom from November to March…

  • Monthly Columns

    Notes from the Apothecary

    Notes from the Apothecary: Primrose     Primroses are a hardy, perennial plant which means they’re tough and come back year after year. They’re also absolutely gorgeous and often around in winter, lending some welcome colour to gardens, windowsills, or containers. Originally a woodland plant, primroses or Primula vulgaris will grow just about anywhere as long as there’s drainage so the roots don’t get waterlogged. Finding primroses in the wild can be a sign that you’re on ancient woodland. However, some “wild” blooms can be escapees from folks’ gardens! Either way, even in November and December, their blooms make a gorgeous, colourful addition to the winter landscape.   The Kitchen…

  • Monthly Columns

    Notes from the Apothecary

    Notes from the Apothecary: Relaxation Special There’s no getting away from it: things are pretty stressful right now. The pandemic situation is something we’re potentially stuck with until there’s a vaccine, plus on top of that, there’s a whole lot of unrest in the world. Finding time to relax and unwind has never been more important. That’s why I decided to dedicate this issue of Notes from the Apothecary to plants and herbs that help alleviate daily stresses. Remember, herbal remedies are a form of complementary therapy and should NEVER replace existing medication or treatments. You should always take advice from a medical professional, especially if you are already taking…

  • Monthly Columns

    Notes from the Apothecary

    Notes from the Apothecary: Willow   Willows are a type of tree in the family Salicaceae. They’re deciduous, meaning they lose their leaves towards winter, and they love both moisture and sunlight. Striking weeping willows are often seen trailing their leaves across the surface of streams, while fluffy goat willow or pussy willow brightens up the spring with its soft catkins. While only the largest of gardens will enjoy a willow tree of their own, many people will have a green area or park they can visit to find one of the many species of willow which grow all across the northern hemisphere. Find your own favourite willow creek or…

  • Monthly Columns

    Notes from the Apothecary

    Notes from the Apothecary: Cherries   I’m inspired to write about cherries because of my next door neighbour. They have a huge cherry tree that hangs over into our garden. We don’t mind. In fact, we love it. Not only is it a beautiful tree, with strong, thick limbs and richly coloured bark, it encourages all kinds of wildlife. Just this afternoon, we all sat enraptured in the kitchen as a squirrel hopped around the back garden munching on the fallen cherries. They’re just starting to ripen as we leave the summer solstice behind, and the windfalls attract all manner of birds and small mammals. There are actually over 50…

  • Monthly Columns

    Notes from the Apothecary

    Notes from the Apothecary Special: Five Antiviral Plants to Eat at Home     *Disclaimer: Eating any amount of plants and herbs cannot protect you entirely from catching any sort of illness. Healthy eating is great and boosts your immune system but should complement, not replace, good hygiene, prescribed medication, and safe social distancing measures where appropriate. Take a holistic approach to your well-being and always follow guidelines from medical practitioners and qualified experts. Stay safe!   Even prior to the current pandemic, there has been a lot of scientific research into what sort of plants might have significant antiviral properties. Antiviral plants are plants which help boost your body’s…

  • Monthly Columns

    Notes from the Apothecary

    Notes from the Apothecary: Jack by the Hedge I don’t get a huge amount of time to spend keeping my garden super tidy, but that’s ok, because I like it to run a little wild. Because of that, we get plants that come in from outside the garden, often spread by birds and small animals, or simply by seeds blown in on the wind. Once such plant which is a star of British verges and hedgerows is this lovely plant, pictured. It has many names, but my favourite one is Jack by the Hedge, Latin name Alliaria Petiolata. Jack by the Hedge is also called Garlic Mustard, or even Poor…

  • Reviews & Interviews

    Book Review – The Witch’s Herbal Apothecary: Rituals & Recipes for a Year of Earth Magick and Sacred Medicine Making by Marysia Miernowska

    Book Review The Witch’s Herbal Apothecary Rituals & Recipes for a Year of Earth Magick and Sacred Medicine Making by Marysia Miernowska 224 Pages     If you want to learn to love the land and feel Earth love you back, “The Witch’s Herbal Apothecary: Rituals & Recipes for a Year of Earth Magick and Sacred Medicine Making” is a must read. It doesn’t take long to realize Marysia Miernowska regards Earth as Lover and nature as the Beloved, and that everything is sacred. In a gentle, wise manner, she offers practices, rituals and recipes to ride the regenerative currents of nature following the Wheel of the Year, starting with…

  • Reviews & Interviews

    Book Review – The Witch’s Herbal Apothecary: Rituals & Recipes for a Year of Earth Magick and Sacred Medicine Making by Marysia Miernowska

    Book Review The Witch’s Herbal Apothecary Rituals & Recipes for a Year of Earth Magick and Sacred Medicine Making by Marysia Miernowska 224 Pages     If you want to learn to love the land and feel Earth love you back, “The Witch’s Herbal Apothecary: Rituals & Recipes for a Year of Earth Magick and Sacred Medicine Making” is a must read. It doesn’t take long to realize Marysia Miernowska regards Earth as Lover and nature as the Beloved, and that everything is sacred. In a gentle, wise manner, she offers practices, rituals and recipes to ride the regenerative currents of nature following the Wheel of the Year, starting with…