June Wedding Herbs – Part III…

Including peppermint in a summer bridal bouquet may sound unusual, but there are so many lovely varieties of mint these days that it might just be the most fragrant and intoxicating bouquet ever carried by a bride. Imagine a bouquet compromised of lemon verbena, pineapple mint, chocolate mint and peppermint; to name a few.

image Peppermint – Peppermint is a perennial plant that will grow to 12–35 in. tall.  It spreads through the rhizomes at its root. The leaves are a broad, dark green with reddish veins and are slightly fuzzy. The flowers are purple. They are produced in whorls around the stem, forming thick, blunt spikes. Flowering is from mid to late summer.

Peppermint generally grows best in moist, shaded locations. Peppermint is a fast growing plant; once it sprouts, it spreads very quickly. For the home gardener, it is often grown in containers to restrict rapid spreading. It grows best with a good supply of water, without being water-logged, and planted in areas with part-sun to shade.

According to ancient Greek legend, Pluto — the god who reigned over the underworld — became enraptured by a nymph named Menthe, causing his wife, Proserpina, to turn the young beauty into an herb and banish her forever to regions of shadows and moisture. And — like most such tales — the myth still has relevance today: peppermint is often found growing wild in wet, shaded spots but it will also thrive in your own garden or window box.

image Yarrow – Yarrow comes in a variety of colors. It is a perennial plant that produces one to several stems 1–3 ft.  in height, and has a spreading rhizomatous growth form. Leaves are evenly distributed along the stem, with the leaves near the middle and bottom of the stem being the largest. The leaves are almost feathery and arranged spirally on the stems. The plant has a strong, sweet scent, similar to chrysanthemums.

In planting, the seeds require light for germination, so optimal germination occurs when planted no deeper than one-quarter inch . Seeds also require a germination temperature of 64-75°F. 

Yarrow, as it grows,  prefers light soil with good drainage and full sun.

It has a relatively short life in some situations, but may be prolonged by division in the spring every other year, and planting 12–18 in  apart. It can become invasive because of its ability to send out runners with rhizomes. To curtail this try planting it in the garden at normal depth in a pot with the bottom cut out.

Yarrow is associated with Aphrodite, Hermes, the Horned God and the hero Achilles. It is said that Achilles was taught by Charon the centaur to use Yarrow to treat the wounds of his soldiers. For centuries soldiers carried yarrow in war for this reason. One story says that the plant originally grew from rust that he scraped from his spear. The botanical name translates as “Achilles’ thousand leaved herb”.

Yarrow is used for divination and love spells and in spells for contacting or seeking out a specific person. Strewn across a threshold, it will prevent unhelpful spirits from entering. Yarrow can be used in sachets for love, courage, communication and psychic abilities.

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