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 flowerat 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.
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..