• Monthly Columns

    Notes from the Apothecary

    Notes from the Apothecary: Blackthorn   Prunus spinosa, literally meaning a spiny fruit tree, perfectly describes the beautiful yet oh so spiky blackthorn. Blackthorn is a familiar sight across much of Europe, and in Northern England where I live, the blossoms are one of the most impressive displays of spring. Blackthorn blossoms really stand out in the hedgerows because the flowers arrive quite some time before the leaves; white, delicate yet profuse blossoms perched on dark, spiny twigs. Blackthorn is also intertwined with folklore, otherworldly beings, and magic. It truly is a worthy addition to our apothecary.   The Kitchen Garden Many people will know the blackthorn for its beautiful…

  • Reviews & Interviews

    Jade Reviews Libby’s Handcrafted Magick Box & Interviews Owner Libby Tomsha

    This month we would like to introduce you to Libby’s Handcrafted Magick. You can view her shop on Etsy, or Facebook. Libby offers a variety of handmade items. Today we will share her “Small Box of Magick”, which according to her shop will include a handmade soy wax crystal candle, an intuitively chosen crystal and the herb of the month. Libby states that the items are valued at $35, and you are able to purchase it for only $25 plus shipping.     Your box arrives very carefully packaged, nothing was broken or damaged. There was a colorful handwritten index card identifying each item and their properties. I personally liked…

  • 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

    Of Medicine ‘n’ Magick

    Winter Here I am in the season we call winter. Yule has passed, and length of daylight is waxing in my world, though imperceptibly. I know it is, though, because the hens are laying again. I know because the stored onions and garlic are waking. I know because I’m taking inventory of seeds, placing orders, and dreaming of the spring-to-autumn gardens that sustain us. I know because I’m already dreaming of Imbolc, that glorious midpoint between winter and spring, when the waxing daylight turns undeniable, and garden dreams move into garden actions, albeit indoors, on shelves aglow with privileged light. But now… in the gloom of true winter, it’s a…

  • 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

    Of Medicine ‘n’ Magick

    Deep Autumn I love this time of year. The wheel turns in my hemisphere, and the dark of night claims sway in its dance with daylight. It’s a wondrous sharing. As I anticipate the arrival of winter, the enveloping darkness is comforting Medicine to me. The older I get, the more meaningful this deep autumn Medicine becomes. It’s hard for many, I know. It’s hard, even for me with my solitary ways and absolute love for the long nights, short days, and cooling temps. And this year such seasonal challenges are compounded for many – if not most – with the increased isolation offered by COVID-19. Nonetheless, with or without…

  • 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…

  • Reviews & Interviews

    Book Review – The Sacred Herbs of Spring: Magical, Healing, and Edible Plants to Celebrate Beltaine by Ellen Evert Hopman

    Book Review The Sacred Herbs of Spring Magical, Healing, and Edible Plants to Celebrate Beltaine by Ellen Evert Hopman 376 Pages ….The month of May is a time of great spiritual power for those who are attuned to natural cycles. In the northern hemisphere the sap is rising in the trees and medicinally beneficial new leaves and flowers are reappearing. For Druids, Witches, and other followers of the Nature Religions, May is the time to celebrate love, fertility and the new growth of summer, and most of this book is dedicated to these magical aspects of the May Day festival…. (Introduction) Call it wishful thinking or the reality that we…