I smelt the rich scent of the heating spices; and admired the shining kitchen utensils, the polished clock, decked in holly, the silver mugs ranged on a tray ready to be filled with mulled ale for supper; and above all, the speckless purity of my particular care – the scoured and well-swept floor. Wuthering Heights, EmilyContinue reading “Holly”


For you there’s rosemary and rue. These keep Seeming and savor all the winter long. Grace and remembrance be to you both, And welcome to our shearing. Act IV Scene IV, The Winter’s Tale, William Shakespeare History of Rosemary Rosemary, like lavender, is a well-known and easily accessible herb with a long history of medicinalContinue reading “Rosemary”


Player Queen O, confound the rest! Such love must needs be treason in my breast: In second husband let me be accurst! None wed the second but who kill’d the first. HAMLET [Aside] Wormwood, wormwood. Player Queen The instances that second marriage move Are base respects of thrift, but none of love: A second time IContinue reading “Wormwood”


I have a deadly nightshade So twisted does it grow With berries black as midnight And a skull as white as snow The vicar’s cocky young son Came to drink my tea He touched me without asking Now he’s buried ‘neath a tree. Trad. “Girls’ Skipping Rhyme” from Chokely in Wynterset History of Belladonna Belladonna,Continue reading “Belladonna”


If they wad drink nettles in March, And eat muggins [Mugwort] in May, Sae mony braw young maidens Wad na’ be gang to clay.” Popular Rhymes of Scotland, Robert Chambers History of Mugwort An herb of the night, mugwort has a long mysterious and magickal history. An unassuming, weed-like plant, this herb has been usedContinue reading “Mugwort”


 A kindlier background for the whole,  Between the gloom and splendour.  Let others captivate the mass  With power and brilliant seeming:  The lily and the rose I pass,  The yarrow holds me dreaming. Sorrow by Archibal lampman, canadian poet History of Yarrow Perhaps one of the oldest herbs on the planet, yarrow is a plantContinue reading “Yarrow”