Some months ago, I had the opportunity to join the Practical Magic Blog Party. Practical Magic has a been a favorite movie of mine for years. As the blog party got closer, I realized my vacation travels to Washington were taking me clear across the country to the little village of Coupeville where Practical Magic was filmed. I spent an afternoon exploring the village and found my imagination sparked by the opportunity to get so close to something which up to that point had only been imagination. I published a series of blogs about the adventure. By far, the most exciting experience in Coupeville was getting to go inside the building which was used for Sally Owens’ herb shop, Verbena Botanicals. (I have included the video footage from the shop below.)
Verbena Botanicals had been Sally’s dream shop. She decided to pursue her dream (like many of you Creatives who have found your way to The Art of Collecting Yourself are doing). It was filled with all kinds of concoctions… Sally’s natural blends of herbal remedies. The shop looked inviting and energizing. And although it was beautiful, I was mostly fascinated with what she might be selling (should I be able to step into movie-land and visit it.) And I especially wished to see how she made her lotions, potions, and things. And perhaps even try my own hand at it.
A Love Affair with Nature
For a good portion of my adult life, I have used botanicals in one form or another to bring meaning and magic to my days. This tradition started with growing up on what I like to think of as a micro-farm. We had a couple of acres on the outskirts of town. My parents almost always had their hands in the dirt with my little feet trailing behind.
It wasn’t uncommon for my mother or grandmothers to offer home remedies for things. I remember quite vividly getting stung by a hornet on the leg and my mother giving me an onion to hold on the wound. I don’t know if the ONION helped, but I remember thinking mom must know what she was doing and that she knew something even the doctors didn’t. Her connection to nature always amazed me.
After college, I became a floral designer. I used flowers, greenery, and a few tricks with spray paint to make arrangements that honored special occasions for myself and my clients. Often the flowers marked rites of passage: the birth of a child, a special birthday, changing from one job to another, the marriage of two best friends, and the loss of a beloved.
Ten years ago this September, I began a career as a massage therapist. Aromatherapy played a key role in my practice. nd although I don’t regularly practice massage, I have pulled aromatherapy into my career as a counselor and include it in my self-care routine almost daily.
When I injured my back a few years ago and didn’t want to depend on harmful over-the-counter medicines or toxic steroids, I turned again to the curative properties of Mother Nature. This is how I came to learn about flower essences and homeopathic remedies.
As I contemplated what I wanted my website to look like this coming year, I decided to add a botanical section. The Art of Collecting Yourself is an eclectic mix of ways to bring more meaning into your life, and flowers, plant essences, and aromatherapy fit right in with that goal. Not only does it provide a sensory experience that can be heavily associated with memories, but botanicals can have medicinal and energetic qualities as well. I will be calling the botanical section Verbena Botanicals because it reminds me of what I loved about Sally’s shop, of the amazing trip I had to Washington this last Fall (which by the way changed my life), and because it is fun to make-believe every once in awhile. I also decided to do this because it would encourage me to experiment with botanicals in new ways and give me a chance to share what I have learned over the years.
So Welcome to Verbena Botanicals.
Featured Botanical: PEPPERMINT
This week I am featuring one of the first essential oils I was ever introduced to, PEPPERMINT, also known as Minta Piperita. Peppermint which can be used as an herb or an oil is spicy, cool, and sweet smelling.
Uses: I often use peppermint to
- sooth a tense tummy (peppermint candy or herbal tea)
- clear my sinuses when I have a stuffy nose (rub a few drops on my hands and inhale)
- take the edge of a head ache (either breathing the oil essence or massaging head and temples
- energize tired feet (essential oil massage)
- brighten a stuffy room (roomspray)
- help me wake up (tea, inhaling, roomspray, or massage
Dedication: To Mom with Love
I want to dedicate today’s Verbena Botanical feature to my mother, Charlotte. She almost always had a peppermint candy in her purse. And often left the coolness of peppermint on my cheek when she kissed me good-bye. She would have been 66 today, and I am sure it would have been a grand birthday for her. My father still has that microfarm, but the plants miss my mom, just like I do. Peppermint kisses for you momma, and a happy birthday too!
Check out the interview I had with the owner of the shop where Sally had Verbena Botanicals.