When I started gardening, it was for the simple fact that I love flowers. The family appreciates the view during peak seasons, too. Winter in the Harpie house was filled with reading up on herbs and spices and all sorts of interesting notions after a fellow gardener and camera extraordinaire, JMCS, gifted me the book of The Medicine Wheel Garden. This became my impetus for finding the intersection between perennial and herbal gardening.
How can this tie into retro culture? Hoowee what a story! It wasn’t until the economic boom of the 1950s that major antibiotics were established and distributed for all the common ailments of the population. Prior to these big-name pharmaceuticals, many people relied on ancient medicines to care for themselves and their families. Much of what we know about herbal healers comes from ancient Chinese and Native American derivations. For instance, cardinal flower has been heralded for its qualities similar to nicotine, and is used to this day in substances like Nicorette gum to help wean smokers of their habits. I figure if these practices were commonplace before the pharma-takeover, there’s definitely a place for it in today’s culture. Let’s help simplify the way we care for ourselves from the roots: literally!
The first step in herb growing and use is educating yourself. As a general precaution, it is very important to know your own allergies as well as those who you plan on sharing your concoctions with. Read up on the possible side effects of plants, how to use them effectively and safely, and establish your plan from there. The obvious next step is to plant and take care of whatever you want to grow. Sometimes it takes buying extra bags of soil or learning the preferences of the plants, but they’ll sprout. For quicker results from seeds, consider residential greenhouse accommodations- there are whole buildings to tabletop structures to fit your preferences. Drying and recipes are probably the most vintage concept out of the whole lot of herb growing. It’s also rather challenging for me- but easy to catch on. Use a cotton cloth to lay plants on to dry. Go for the crispy but not disintegrating consistency. Some people opt for drying racks like the one pictured above, which is probably easier for flowering plants. They often don’t dry cleanly otherwise.
While it is not usual for us to feature something that is this antiquated, we wanted to make an effort to give all facets of yesteryears- even the antiques (over 50 years old) and ancient traditions- a chance to find rightful spotlight in today’s world.
Some of our favorites are yarrow- which was used by Native Americans for all skin ailments from eczema to repelling mosquitos; Echinacea- which has been heralded for generations as a remedy for colds, flus, and strep throats; and
The bottom line? A vintage life can free you from big pharmaceuticals in exchange for natural remedies and home-grown goodness. Cheers to a healthy life, darlings!