Sunday, July 27, 2008

Botanical Sketching in the Garden

Being an herbalist, I (Sarah) have wanted to be able to sketch plants for a long time. I'm not an artist, I just want to be able to draw a likeness of plants in my garden or that I see other places. Finally, the opportunity presented itself! Eli Weaver is an artist and a lover of herbs. She's also my garden apprentice this year, and the idea for these classes came out of our conversations as we worked together in the garden. The first three classes were held this summer, and all of us were happy with the experiences we had together. I even managed to draw some recognizeable plants! So we've scheduled 3 more dates this Autumn.

Experience the garden as it puts itself to bed. Come to this class led by local artist, Eli(sabeth) Weaver and learn how to view plants, how to portray their characteristics, style and spirit through drawing. Join her in our outdoor studio - the Herbs from the Labyrinth garden - over the course of several weeks. We will gather as a group to study plants and practice our drawing techniques. All levels are welcome.

This class will be held in the gardens of Herbs from the Labyrinth, 1053 Wheatland Avenue in Lancaster.

Sunday afternoons 3-5pm
November 9, 16, 23, 2008

$ 40.00 for the series of three classes, $15 for each individual class..

To register call Radiance, 290-1517, or stop by the shop at 9 W Grant St, in downtown Lancaster, right across the cobblestones from Central Market.

Vitex is Blooming!

Late each summer the stately Vitex (agnus castus) in my gardens comes into bloom. The flowers are an exquisite blue-purple, and cover the top with a soft haze. At dusk each day, the flowers emit a sweet scent, that travels a great distance. I know rationally that the flowers are luring the pollinators in the garden, but I always feel like I'm being called outside from the kitchen. I keep a bench positioned underneath the Vitex, so I can meditate there. Often, I send women who are struggling with irregular menstrual cycles to sit on that bench and commune with the Vitex. Once the flowers are finished blooming, a small seed will begin to set where each tiny flower was. Once the seeds are fully formed & dry, we harvest the seed heads. The seeds are used in teas and tinctures to help normalize hormone fluctuations. Centuries ago, the seeds were called Monk's Pepper, and it was believed that they could suppress sexual urges in men. Hence it's common name, Chaste Tree.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Priestess of the Forest, and perfect summer read!

Where does the time go? Between the garden and the shop, this summer is quite busy! I have found the time to read a good novel, though, and recommend it highly! You can purchase it on my web site or at Radiance, my shop in downtown Lancaster, if you like.

The Priestess of the Forest – a Druid Journey written by Ellen Evert Hopman, published 2008 by Llewellyn Publications

A well-written, engaging story of Ethne, a Druid-trained herbalist and healer, this book intertwines traditional herbal wisdom and a glimpse into the heart and spirit of a traditional healer. Ethne has sworn an oath to live alone in a small house in the forest, to provide healing to nearby villagers. She loves her peaceful life, but change is at hand. Ruadh, a wounded Fennidi warrior is brought to her for healing, and in the months that she cares for him, they develop a bond of deep spiritual love. Upheaval moves across the island, as representatives of the Roman church maneuver for power, and shifting tribal alliances require that Ethne return to her pagan Druid community.

Ellen Evert Hopman, herbalist, author and Druid herself, has written this book in the style of a Druid teaching tool, weaving rituals, spiritual practices and worldview into the tale.