Photo by Dawn Combs
When you consciously garden for medicine, you find yourself cultivating gratitude on a daily basis. Traditional-medicine folk around the world have made it a practice to ask for the benefits they need before taking from a plant and to offer thanks when it has been received. Today, many of us say thanks before each meal for all that has been sacrificed to make the daily building of our bodies possible. Even so, it can be difficult to always be aware of the many blessings in our lives. Thanksgiving is a perfect day to sit down with our families and pause to really look around at the riches we have collected in the faces we see at our table.
Today, in the spirit of the holiday, I am pausing to share with you some of the things I am thankful for in my herb gardens.
1. A Good Harvest Knife
If you are only harvesting a pinch of oregano or sage from time to time, you might not need more than your fingers or a kitchen knife. If you’re beginning to grow more of your medicine or venturing out to do some wildcrafting, you’ll need a more effective tool. We have found the serrated greens knife at Johnny’s Selected Seeds to be perfect for every job we’ve thrown at it.
2. The Versatile Mason Jar
The mason jar is to me what a cardboard box is to a child—it can do almost anything! I make all my teas in mason jars, and they’re instrumental in many of my vegetable and fruit ferments. They store my dried herbs on the shelf and they protect my culinary masterpieces in the freezer. On a hot day, I carry one with me already filled with fresh water. As I wander through my gardening chores, I toss in a bit of this and that. By mid-afternoon I am ready to sip the story of where I’ve been. On a cold day, I slip my jar into an old wool sock for insulation and enjoy a hot tea on the go.
3. The Rose
Do you have a favorite plant friend in the garden? Is there a flower that seems to shine when you give it some attention? For me, I can’t imagine our land without the roses. That sun-tea I just mentioned? It wouldn’t be the same without a good handful of rose petals.
4. The Delicate Cosmos
I tend to get very set in my practical nature. This past year, we focused on adding cut flowers that didn’t have a purpose. I guess I failed a little at this exercise when I chose to plant a mixed color pack of cosmos. These flowers are the perfect companion in the tomato rows. On our bee farm, they are important to us because they are important bee plants, as well. My children brought me handfuls of cosmos almost every day this summer, and I enjoyed them just for beauty’s sake.
5. Friends with Whom to Enjoy the Garden
After the working day is done, I am thankful to gather my friends together to enjoy the gardens. Tomorrow we will gather around the Thanksgiving table, and while I gaze around at all I have, I will be thankful as well for the gardens that are tucked away outside the dining room windows. May you and yours have a Happy Thanksgiving and truly feel the fullness of all your blessings.