Friday, 10 June 2011

Garden Report

Even at the risk of repeating myself....
 what a strange season this year!

First lavender harvest


only 3 weeks ago - in May

now - first week in June



Can't remember that I ever cut any lavender shrub beginning of June! Not even the early flowering ones!

on the waiting-list to be bundled

Oh...the scent!  Can you imagine ?


But - the Hydrangeas behave very 'normal'...

coming into full flower
at the right time of the year....


Meine Schafsgarbe - Achillea - Yarrow
is good 4 weeks earlier this year!
 Achillea filipendulina "Gold plate"

Perfect for drying, the flower heads retain their color when dried and last for ever!

Yarrow has also been used as a food, and was very popular as a vegetable in the 17th century.
The younger leaves are said to be a pleasant leaf vegetable when cooked as spinach, or in a soup.
Yarrow is sweet with a slight bitter taste.
The leaves can also be dried and used as a herb in cooking.
I use fresh leaves 'dans ma cuisine', very often for mixed salads, for example.

Common  Achillea millefolium or Yarrow

I found out that in Spanish-speaking New Mexico and southern Colorado,
it is called plumajillo, or "little feather", for the shape of the leaves.
In antiquity, yarrow was known as herbal militaris,
for its use in staunching the flow of blood from wounds.
In classical tradition, Homer tells us that the centaur Chiron,
who conveyed herbal secrets to his human pupils,
taught Achilles to use yarrow on the battle grounds of Troy.
Achilles is said to have used it to stop the bleeding wounds of his soldiers.
For centuries it has been carried in battle because of its magical as well as medicinal properties.
Western European tradition also connects yarrow with a goddess and a demon.
Yarrow was a witching herb, used to summon the devil or drive him away.
But it was also a loving herb in the domain of Aphrodite.

Yarrow has seen historical use as medicine, often because of its astringent effects.
In the nineteenth century,
yarrow was said to have a greater number of indications than any other herb.
It is considered an especially useful companion plant,
not only repelling some bad insects while attracting good, predatory ones,
but also improving soil quality.
It is also directly beneficial to other plants,
improving the health of sick plants when grown near them.

Yarrow also featured in folk customs and beliefs.
In Britain it was one of the herbs put in Saxon amulets.
These amulets were for protection from everything from blindness to barking dogs (very useful!).
In the Middle Ages, witches were said to use yarrow to make incantations.
This may be the source for the common names devil's nettle, devil's plaything,
and bad man's plaything (never thought about that!).
Some people believed that you could determine the devotion of a lover
by poking a yarrow leaf up your nostril and twitching the leaf while saying,
"Yarroway, yarroway, bear a white blow: if my love loves me, my nose will bleed now".
Nursery rhymes say if you put a yarrow sachet under your pillow,
you will dream of your own true love.
In Germany a folk belief states that if you hang a bunch of dried yarrow
or yarrow that had been used in wedding decorations over the bed,
you can thus ensure a lasting love for at least seven years.
In the Middle Ages, yarrow was part of a herbal mixture known as gruit
used in the flavouring of beer prior to the use of hops.
And now:
In the science-fiction/fantasy novel Crystal Singer by Anne McCaffrey,
Yarrow is mentioned as the name of a planet where 'the best beer in the galaxy' is brewed.
How about that!
Countless stories about yarrow - and also featured in traditional Chinese culture.
For example, it is said that it grows around the grave of Confucius.

  dried Achillea and Lavender

Also the most authentic way to cast the Yi Ling is to use dried yarrow stalks.
The stems are said to be good for divining the future!

With this in mind..

Bon Weekend


Preview for next week:

Week 24 - Newsletter from Périgord
Coming up for auction in Bergerac
An unusual large and fabulous Collection of 18th and 19th century Fayences, over 300 pieces!
'Raffraichissoir' Moustier 18th century


 Old Linen and Lavender


  1. Dear Karin,
    your lavender pics are really stunning!

    Die frühe Ernte aber auch!


  2. Dear Karin, Your lavender is thick and beautiful...mine will never look that good, but I keep trying. I'm also drooling over the Faience.

  3. One of the prettiest posts I have seen all day!! The lavender is gorgeous.....

  4. Karin your garden is stunning! I'm jealous we can't grow lavender well here our winters are to harsh. We do grows a lot of hydrangeas and they're all getting a lot of blooms and I can't wait! Have a wonderful weekend Karin and I love your gardens!!!!

    Hugs Debra,

  5. Gina, Lavender likes 'kalkhaltigen Boden' - a chalky and not a rich soil. Also, there exist about 23 different varieties.
    Try to add some chalk to the soil where your lavender is placed. Will talk to mail, later.

  6. The enchanted home
    Thank you very much, Tina,
    Great compliment for me!

  7. Debra,
    We cannot have as much Hydrangeas as I would love. They do not like a chalky soil and too much heat/sun at all and grow much better in the North and colder climates. All our Hydrangeas are either in pots or in a special build concrete 'container'.
    But - the lavender just loves it here in our poor soil. Here we are.....

  8. Tres jolie, Karin! Tell me, what do you do with all of the lavender year after year?

    I could live in your garden!


  9. Drying - drying - drying, Linsey!
    Having some in the cloth cupboards and in drawers to keep the moths away! Making little presents, and...and...

  10. Hi Karin~ I do so love lavender and yours is fabulous! Our winters are so harsh here that I have to replant almost all of my plants each spring, so my plants never get as large and mature as yours. I have grown yellow yarrow too but I also have a deep, redish pink variety. Have you seen one like that?
    Love your photos, especially the first on with the planter.
    Have a wonderful weekend!

  11. Your garden is beautiful Karin and your lavender looks so healthy. It must be the lovely French climate...mine is no where near flowering in the UK.
    Great photos as usual and I love reading your informative posts.
    Have a good weekend.
    Julie x

  12. Karin I almost faint every time I have a look at the amazing garden you have and the flowers - OHHH I love it so :O)
    Have a splendid weekend my sweet,


  13. Wonderful pictures from lovely garden!!! i love the porcelain too! have anice day =)

  14. Karin, your lavender is just beautiful. Oh how I wish we could grow it here. Most beautiful! Can't wait to see your linen and lavender post next week.

  15. I have got a good imagination when it comes to the perfume of's wafting over here! Beautiful images.

  16. liebe Karin, was für ein wundervoller Bericht + zauberhafte Fotos! i am full of admiration...
    frohe Pfingsten wünsche ich euch

  17. Hello,

    Your lavander is beautiful! Mine is still in bud.
    It's feel good to see these lovely pics.