Thursday, June 26, 2008

Herbal art

You wanted something?

The weather finally warmed up and Tripod decided to bake his little brain in the greenhouse. I found him asleep on a shelf, tucked in between shelves of begonias. He slept the afternoon away there in nearly 30C temperatures. He's an odd cat...

Meanwhile I inspected my herb garden to see what's survived the winter. I need to move my medicinal herb bed and either eliminate or at least restrain some plants which are threatening to take over. All the rain this year has made things very lush and now the heat has them rocketing upwards.

I harvest the herbs just as they flower as that is when the oils are at their peak point. They are then dried in a shady place to preserve colour and oils as much as possible. The objective is to have a dried imitation of the original plant, not a browned leaf that shatters at a touch.

One of the herbs that has done well is Blue Vervain. This herb has beautiful blue spires of flowers that look glorious in a group as they are now.

I counted thirty varieties of medicinal and culinary herbs currently in the garden and I want to record them in more than a simple photographic way. I found little blank paged book with 24 double sided pages which I must have bought some time ago but that got stuffed away in my art cupboard. I'm considering filling this book with 24 different medicinal herb drawings and perhaps some writing about the herb to go with each drawing. I'll create a cover and back for the book and it could be an interesting piece both in terms of art and herbal medicine.

I'll aim to see what I can come up with during July. Watch this space. I have visitors this week so its slowing both my drawing and blogging, but this is a long weekend for me, so I'll play at catch up then.


Katherine Tyrrell said...

Now is it a herbal or a florilegium? Or maybe both?

What an excellent project Jeanette - I really look forward to seeing this take off.

Jeanette said... word alert, new word alert!!:)

...florilegium first appeared in the English language in 1711 in a sense nearer the literal one: describing a collection of flower illustrations...

Ok, now I know. And yes, florilegium sounds much grander! I do love language. I'm currently listening to Pride & Prejudice on iPod and love the expansive use of language from that period. How little we use language to its fullest extent these days.

vivien said...

sweet face!

the book sounds a lovely idea - and a blurb book from it?

Jeanette said...

He's sooooooo cranky when the weather's warm Vivien, I don't know how he bears the heat in the greenhouse, but he does.

A Blurb book....well you made it sound pretty easy...

Teresa said...

look forward to seeing your herb book... sounds delightful!

Robyn said...

I love the idea of your herb book, Jeanette.

I found a florilegium of the Willibaldsburg Castle garden in the 17th century. Hundreds of beautiful old botanical plates. Published by Taschen for 20 euros!