I like to soak the fresh flowers in cool water to drink on hot summer days. Cooling, bitter, digestive. There is hardly anything more refreshing than a sip of the infused water, or to sit beneath the skirting branches of a Southern Magnolia. Hard rough bark like the callouses of a mother's impersonal protective hands. Cool like sweet dirt. Even just being near the aromatics of the Magnolia blossom works out some of that overactive pitta heat that can baffle my summertime nervous system.
I see you Magnolia, and I love you.
I brought these blossoms home from one of the two Magnolias that highlight my country walks.
For some reason all the blossoms were full of copulating lightning bugs!! ( Thats what we call flashy "fire fly" bugs up north, but these guys are as different down South as the Saucer Magnolia is to the Southern Magnolia)
This photograph was taken the day before this Mint patch was unexpectedly ripped out by my landlord. It felt incredible offensive, like a deep wounding reminder that I don't own this land enough to put down roots. Fortunately Mint isn't as hard to find as a good place to cultivate "home".
The proliferation of Mint is a gift. You will rarely have to coddle Mint in order for it to grow- in fact many people, such as my landlord, find it to be nothing but a nusaince weed. But! Mint is so safe and flavorful. It is both an amazing culinary and medicinal herb. For all that Mint has to give, it really doesn't expect much in return... just give it plenty of room to spread and you'll be rich. For that, I feel we've a responsibility to keep it well stocked in our apothecary, and recipe-repertoire. When the garden gives you Mint: make Mint Lemonade... Mint Tabouli, Mint Marmalade, Mint Watermelon juice, or Mint Chocolate Chip dairy free ice cream... ;-) Or just make a nice settling digestive tea.
Calming, cooling, digestive. Mint is frequently used in relaxing tea blends. Frequently employed as an antispasmodic to calm the spasms of cough and asthma, or as a febrifuge to reduce fevers.
And that squashy mallow looking plant I had no clue about ended up shooting up and blooming into the hollyhock my room mate forgot he'd planted. Hoorah!