It was nearly the end of summer, and as I collected hollyhocks, I came across a uniquely colored one. It had a pinkish line as if someone had marked it with a pen. I placed it in my little basket so that I could admire it later on.
Once I completed my morning harvest, I took a moment to look over the lovely flowers I had collected. I saw the hollyhock once again and was reminded that nature is perfectly imperfect. Oddly enough, this was the message I needed at the time. I had been putting together ideas for the new website I wanted to create. It was to be a total rebranding of my current site. But I kept putting it off. As a matter of fact, I’d been procrastinating for several months with ideas floating around me but never deciding on any one thing. Maybe it was because life, in general, felt unsettled and a bit hectic. It is 2020, after all.
Even Mother Nature will sometimes color outside the lines.
As I gazed at the quirky hollyhock flower, I realized it didn’t have to be perfect. It was its own brand of beautiful. Besides, who was I to judge? As if I resonate with anything that isn’t at least somewhat unique or quirky? And once again, the message was clear as the Magical Garden plants offered guidance when I was not expecting it. Shortly after this realization, the ideas began to float into place, similar to how my poplar trees were dropping their autumn leaves. The new website came together, and here I am writing my first post.
Why do I collect hollyhock flowers? Besides the fact that I find them irresistible, I use them in my home apothecary. They are part of the Mallow Family, and their beneficial properties include anti-inflammatory, astringent, demulcent, diuretic, emollient, and febrifuge. The flowers can be harvested when they are open and dried for later use. While they are blooming, I use them fresh. An infusion using the dried flowers can soothe sore throats, coughs, mouth irritation, and the digestive tract. Since heat can destroy the medicinal properties of some flower petals, use a cold infusion. A cold infusion can be made by soaking the flowers in cold water for about 8 hours. Strain the liquid and add sweetener, if desired. The dried flowers can also be added to bathwater to soften skin or used as a hair rinse to moisturize hair.
Speaking of individuality, the morning glories shared some meaningful insight this summer. I have always appreciated morning glories and their ability to adapt to their situation. They can thrive in ways that many plants will either avoid or not succeed in trying. They inspire me. Even more than the hollyhock with an added splash of color, morning glories pay no mind to what the expected norms are for most plants. One morning glory found herself growing near the frog “pond.” And then one day, I noticed she had stretched out on to the water. There she continued to grow and eventually, bloomed.
To bloom is inevitable, to thrive is a choice.
With their heart-shaped leaves, morning glories will wrap themselves around the nearest support; such as a milkweed plant with its fluffy ethereal seeds or a sunflower stalk. I’m pretty much convinced that morning glories are the garden’s extroverts- never a hint of shyness is seen. The morning glory finds its way, the message is “onward…there isn’t a choice but to thrive, grow and bloom…and have gratitude in this.”
Autumn is one of my favorite seasons because it leads to winter, a magical time of year. The vibrant yellow leaves imply that winter approaches and the plants are beginning to transition. There are still a few morning glories that are blooming, but most have gone to seed. I saved a handful of those seeds as well, as I do every year. It isn’t that I need to save morning glory seeds, as believe me, they are quite prolific throughout the garden. I save them out of mutual respect for the plant; they provided me with beauty and inspiration all season long. The least I can do is secure their future. So with gratitude, I collect their seeds every autumn.
I hope that the morning glories and hollyhocks have inspired you as they have me. Perhaps, at the very least, may they encourage you to release the need for perfection and embrace your unique and beautiful self.
Daughter of the Earth, Mother of her creations. Ivanna (Evie) doesn’t care for titles, but the ones that fit best are homeschool mom, herbalist, and blogger. Her greatest joy is guiding others to find true wellness within themselves and Mother Earth. When not spending time with her beloved family, she can be found researching everything related to holistic wellness, crafting herbal remedies, or convening with the plants in the Magical Garden.