Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The Language of Flowers – Book Review

thelanguage of flowers
This novel touched me on so many levels and plucked so many emotional heart strings. Vanessa Diffenbaugh has crafted a magical book that takes the reader through a journey of loneliness, solitude,rejection, hate, grief, mistrust, love, redemption and hope.
Victoria has spent a life time in the foster care system. She turns eighteen and is emancipated. She is unable to feel a connection to other people, and instead is immersed in a world dominated by flowers and their meanings, as learned from the Victorian language of flowers. She is alone and homeless, when a florist learns of her unique ability to choose flowers that will help the flower shop customers with their own problems. A flower vendor at the flower market enters Victoria’s life and forces her to examine her life and face a painful secret, which changes her destiny.
Vanessa Diffenbaugh was inspired to write The Language of Flowers from her own experiences as a foster mother. While researching flower dictionaries, she noted that there were discrepancies between them and sometimes the same flower would be said to mean two or more different things. The more she researched, the more discrepancies she found! Therefore, she has included in this book, a flower dictionary she has made using either the science behind each flower, the most popular or frequent meaning, or the meaning she best liked. I think she did a brilliant job!
I don’t often spend money on novels, as I just don’t have room in the budget for both novels and the herbal books I need for my studies, but this novel is one I am going to definitely buy. Not only because I want to reread it whenever I like, without going to the library, but I also want the flower dictionary part as part of my herbal/plant library. Besides the fact, as Lily gets older, I think this book will help teach some valuable lessons. One being that love can overcome even the worst secret we might hold.
Vanessa Diffenbaugh is the founder of the Camellia Network. The mission is to create a nationwide movement to support youths transitioning from foster care.
Using the Language of Flowers, I thank all of you who read and comment at Comfrey Cottages

Bellflower – Gratitude
And in the coming New year I wish you each
Celadine – Joys to Come
Herbal and Honey Hugs to all who visit Comfrey Cottages xxx

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Fabulous Find (pssst something for those menopausal power surges)

This spring, I hosted the UK Herbarium group blog party one month and my dear friend Rita contributed her recipe for elderflower cordial to the party. When our elderflowers bloomed I gathered some and followed her recipe. Simply delicious and I began to just crave a nice cold glass of water mixed with the cordial in the evenings. Coincidentally, I started sleeping like a newborn baby… I eventually ran out of the cordial … and started sleeping poorly again…The other day I just developed this powerful CRAVING for the cordial and thought, well I will just make a batch with some elderflower I had dried.. in the meantime I wrote Rita and told her how I was craving it and mentioned that strangely, I had not slept as well  in the last few months as I did while enjoying the cordial nightly. She said she had never heard of elderflower as a sleep aid either, so I went to my bookshelves and just chose Backyard Medicine by Julie Bruton-Seal and Matthew Seal to reference. I figured I would just pour through all the different books and try to figure out just why this cordial made me sleep so soundly! Well right away I see that in that book, the cordial is recommended for hot flashes! A light bulb went off and I have it figured out! You see I thought I was through with my hot flashing part of menopause. I no longer can count up to 35 distinct power surges per hour, wake up so drenched I have to change night shirts 6, 7, 8 times a night. I occasionally feel a bit of a surge, but nothing like I used to feel. The rapid pulse, anxious almost anxiety type of feeling. And I have just attributed my poor sleep pattern of waking several times a night on the kitties wrestling on the covers or one of them cuddled up in my tummy too tight to why I was just a bit too hot…well I know now I must be still having hot flashes, just not as severe, so that is why the elderflower cordial helps me sleep so well.. it is controlling the power surge and keeping me at an even keel! lol! Now in looking back at the really intense flashes I must say I did use cold elderflower tea quite a bit, and it did help, but I believe if I would have been making this cordial then, and just keeping a thermos of cool water and cordial with me at all times I would have had a much, much easier time of it, ( and lets face it, the cordial just tastes yummier than the tea so would have used it more).  I had to rush and share this with all of you, hoping that it will help one of my hot flashing mama friends deal with her power surges too:) 

Children love this cordial too. Don’t worry, perfectly safe for them!


Lily squeezing all the juice out of the lemon slices



And enjoying her cordial!

Big honey and herbal hugs to all of you who visit Comfrey Cottages xx

Thursday, December 8, 2011

On My Mind… Heirloom Roses


The hemisphere I live in is fast approaching winter. It was gloomy, a little snowy and cold when I came home and found my Heirloom Roses catalogue in the mailbox. I changed into some comfy fleece pants, made a cup of tea with both rosehips and rose petals and settle back to enjoy the catalogue with visions of spring dancing through my mind. As I wishfully peruse each page, I read each flowers description with the avidness of a wine connoisseur reading the wine list at an upscale eatery…the fragrance is my weakness, with the actual beauty being secondary.  Tess of the d’Urbervilles, fragrance: exceptional, Myrrh; Lexy, fragrance: Moderate, Spicy; Crocus Rose, fragrance: Very, Tea; Lilian Austin, fragrance: Very, Clove; Strawberry Hill, fragrance: Very, Myrrh/Lemon; Tea Clipper, fragrance: Very, Citrus; CL Iceberg, fragrance: Moderate, HONEY!!!; Galaway Bay, fragrance: Very, Old Rose; Creme de la Creme, fragrance: Moderate, Fruity; Veilchenblau, fragrance: Very, Orange; Cecile Brunner: fragrance, Light, Pepper, Spice… I have a giddy, heady feeling just reading these descriptions.

I will eventually come down to earth and sort through first by fragrance, then by beauty and bloom time, of course, keeping in mind my actual planting zone, but in the meantime… what is on my mind is fragrance…and away I drift on a waft of rose scent….

This is my contribution to Herbology’s What’s on my mind blog post.

Big herbal and honey hugs, and a bit of rose scent thrown in, to all who visit Comfrey Cottages xxx