What keeps us Vermonters sane through the dark days of winter, freezing temperatures and piles of snow? Dreaming about planting our gardens in the spring.
by Jovial King
Are you fantasizing about starting a garden this year but not sure where to begin? Not to worry! There are many ways to participate in the gardening resurgence even if you don’t know the first thing about soil science or pollinators...
Spring is here as far as the calendar is concerned, but it is still quite chilly and brown in Vermont. It is what we call “mud season”, when the snow melts and everything is brown and mucky as the earth thaws and comes to life once again.
St. John’s Wort (Hypericum perforatum) loves the sun and reaches across wide sections of the meadow during the peak days of summer... the herb’s yellow flowers, small and clustered into intense bursts of color, signal that transition from the growth of spring to the fullness of the hot months. Here we are! The time of thunderstorms and cicadas, hot nights and fireflies.
It's summertime, and as herbalists, it's our favorite time of year. Everyone moves at a slower, more relaxed pace, and we spend more time outside being active, enjoying the lush paradise of the outdoors. We're eating fresh food straight from our gardens, and local farms, and our favorites herbs, and flowers are blooming.
The seeds plants make encapsulate the future: a new generation, a whole world of potential. While starting seeds indoors, or scattering them over bare ground, or pushing them into furrows and feeling the cool soil on our fingers, we hope that this potential will turn into reality through the process of germination: maybe, if we're lucky, in a few days or weeks seedlings will sprout and we can watch new life unfold.
If you are looking to spend more time outside connecting to nature--growing herbs is a great place to start, and the benefits of gardening are plenty! The health of our bodies not only come from what we put into them, but also from what we experience around us.
Studying or practicing herbalism is a vibrant, deeply fulfilling and action-oriented art, and is easily accessible to most people. While there is a wealth of information to be found through online learning and in books, there's something to be said for tapping into the plant community around you.
Connecting sun, plants and water by making sun tea is one of the easiest ways to bring herbalism into your life during the summer months.
Summertime is perhaps the best time to get started with herbal medicine. For one, it's when the plants we love are in their prime: they're easy to find, identify, and observe in their native environments.