This section of the monthly newsletter will be dedicated to exploring the profiles and properties of common native plants. Although some of the plants will be native to California, I’ll ensure that each plant featured here is common enough that it will be worthwhile for our readers to learn about its uses, myths and medicinal qualities. This month we'd love to introduce you to Yarrow.
image courtesy of Gardener's Path
The mythological history of Yarrow is fascinating; its Latin name comes from Achilles, the legendary Greek warrior who used Yarrow to heal soldiers wounded in battle. According to legend, Chiron the centaur taught Achilles how to use the herb, which was said to have grown from the rust on his spear. Yarrow is also associated with Aphrodite, Hermes, and the European Horned God. In western European tradition, Yarrow is believed to be a boundary setting plant - providing protection as we approach the darkness of the coming season. During the equinox we can use this plant for dyeing or put it on display to remind us of the importance of healthy boundaries.
You can choose to dye with Yarrow by harvesting the plant tops from spring through the fall. Cut the stalks close to the soil, leaving a few inches for new growth. Simmering the flower heads alone will yield yellow; modifiers such as iron will turn to olive-green shades.
Another beautiful feature of Yarrow is that it dries really well and adds a beautiful natural texture by itself in a vase or combined with fresh Fall flowers.
I felt inspired to make this arrangement:
This stone vase is from Bloomist.