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The Power of Flowers

For many of us, a flower given in a bouquet or grown in a flower bed is the quintessential gift from Mother Nature to us.  Not only do we delight in the beauty of the flower, but we enjoy the scent and the way the greenery of the plant can flourish and spread as we tend it and nurture it.  This has always been what draws me to plant flowers in my garden… whether it be annuals, bi-annuals or perennials, flowers are sure to be a focal point of my front, back and side yard.  And since I do spend so much time outside in the warm months, I often feel like my home IS the outside.  However, with that being said, I guess I have standards when it comes to flowers and there is a line I’ve drawn in the soil that I will never cross.  Unless someone sneaks one in as a joke (that could have our relationship irrevocably severed, should it occur!), there will never be a carnation growing in my garden.

Carnations are the bane of my existence.  I don’t know when I learned to detest them quite so much, I just do.  If I receive a bouquet with carnations in it, I wait until I am alone and pluck each one out to put in the bathroom, the closet, the garbage … any place that needs a bit of a “pick me up” where I don’t necessarily have to see or smell it.  I enjoy using Carnations when I am doing science experiments – such as showing differentiation among cells or osmosis using water and food colouring.  Otherwise I keep a wide berth between myself and this flower.  And yet, Carnations are known for having medicinal uses associated with nausea, inflammation and stress.  For myself, I jokingly tell people there’s a reason why these cheap and inexpensive flowers are used at funerals – there isn’t a chance the deceased will sit up and complain about all the Carnations.  Somehow, I think if it were possible to do so, I would be the first rising up to pluck each flower and complain.  What would I prefer instead of Carnations?

Creeping Charlie.  A perennial “weed” that is currently growing by my rhubarb and in the lawn of my front yard, the tiny little flowers look like tiny purple orchids.  It is an aggressive weed that grows from seeds and from the nodes found on the greenery of the plant.  Apparently it makes a great tasting herbal tea mixed with lemon and a bit of sweetner such as honey, stevia or sugar.  It has been used as a “folk remedy” for flushing the kidneys, pasting leaves onto corns, using the juice to reduce swelling and bruising.  At the same time, there is a cautionary note that horses have died from over-eating Creeping Charlie.  So if you’re interested in using this weed for a folk remedy, ensure that you’ve done adequate research to keep yourself safe from harmful side effects.

Dandelions may be one of my favourite weeds – seeing them just makes me smile.  From the root to the bloom, there is a way in which anyone can use a dandelion to improve symptoms one is experiencing.  When I researched the dandelion (which is blooming in abundance right now), there was advice for using the roots, making marmalade, jelly and wine from the blooms, advice for picking the green plants while they are young and tender and using them in soups, stir fry and even wraps.  

Lily of the Valley is a plant seems to be a miracle plant and not just because of its wonderful medicinal uses.  I’ve lived in the city for the last twenty years and each spring my mother dons her gardening gloves, hat and a hand spade, digging up Lily of the Valley by the root.  And it seems the more she digs, the more abundantly they grow.  One year she gave my sister-in-law over three hundred plants.  By the end of the following spring, the bed she’d removed them from was full of Lily of the Valley all over again.  I think she even tried to kill them with boiling water, without success.  According to my research, Lily of the Valley is used for urinary tract infections, kidney stones, edema and irregular heartbeat.  It would be best to consult an alternative medicine physician or someone who practices medicines outside of Western culture to ensure you’re receiving proper care and not risking your health.

Plants are all around us, providing us with incredible scent, beautiful blooms and even adding interest to the foods we serve at our dining room table.  It is important that we consider learning more about the advantages and adverse side effects of the plants we have access to – before we use them and make ourselves more ill than we intended to be.  But still, even as I write this I’m considering… what if a Carnation could potentially save my life? What would my thoughts be regarding this flower then?  I’ll let you know when I sit up in my coffin and start complaining about all the carnations surrounding me while I was supposed to be enjoying my final resting place.  What are the chances of that happening, do you think? Ha, ha, ha!  

Have a great week, everyone!

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