Celebrating winter’s beauty on a chilly gray day, enjoying the many berries and rose hips on display. I visited the Blue Evergreen Hydrangea, the Okinawan Holly, and two members of the rose family, the Yeddo Hawthorn and the Shillong Rose.
I walked in the garden near the winter solstice, and reflected how much change can happen in one year. One of the most devastating changes is the loss and damage resulting from the wildfires this fall. My heart goes out to everyone coming to terms with losses both personal and collective.
It has been a privilege to be of assistance and share the gift of healing and comfort flower essences can bring to these invisible wounds. I hope that you all reach out to Nature for help as we walk in the darkness of the year. Here are a few images from my walk in the garden to share with you, and bring a little beauty in your day.
There are just a few hardy blooms in this time, but so much else to enjoy in the garden. This is the season to notice details, the time to slow down and really look. It is amazing how much there is to see – I was particularly fascinated with berries this visit. The fleshier fruits of the earliest spring blooms have mostly been enjoyed already by the bird population. The crabapples are always a favorite of the robins. Now, the sturdier berries and hips are beginning to reach peak ripeness and color.
The shiny blue berries of the Blue Evergreen Hydrangea are hard to miss in winter. They last well into spring because every bird and animal knows to avoid them. This plant is a primary healing herb in Chinese Medicine, it is a powerful antimalarial. The leaves are used – but not as often as in the past because it is also a powerful emetic. I can only imagine how much you would regret eating these berries. They do look pretty toxic. (Nope, I have not tasted these!) Even as a flower essence, this plant requires respect.
The female Okinawan Holly is loaded with berries now. Like all hollies, only the female plants bear fruit – the males stand quietly to the side and are largely unnoticed. I’m always amazed how from one week to the next the shrub goes from bent to the ground with berries to picked clean. The birds can somehow tell when they are perfectly ripe, and descend for a feast. To me, the generosity of spirit of the holly shines through in this season of relative scarcity. The healing message from Okinawan Holly flower essence is all about openness and giving from the fullness of your heart. We can all use a gentle reminder to find our generosity, especially during the holidays when we may have to endure the relatives we prefer to avoid the rest of the year.
Berries on the Yeddo Hawthorn are not particularly showy – deep blue but not shiny at all. The leaves do create a lovely counterpoint with reddish blushing. I really love this plant, and admire its sturdy nature. When I designed gardens professionally I specified this shrub often in plans because I knew I could count on it growing happily pretty much anywhere I planted it. In its native habitat in Japan it grows near the ocean, a very difficult location for plants. When I got to know this plant as a wild shrub I developed a new fondness, and continue to enjoy it as a healing essence. This flower essence is helpful to create a team spirit in those (like myself) who try to do it all alone. This essence encourages you to reach out to ask for help and collaboration. You will likely find yourself pleasantly surprised how interested and helpful people can be.
The white flowered (yep, just plain white like a million other wild roses) Shillong Rose is remarkably colorful in all other possible ways. For one, she maintains shiny, deep green foliage all year. The canes and stems are distinctly orange or red, with the strong new canes appearing nearly lacquered. And the berries mature from a coral orange to a startling red with a bit of frost. I use this flower essence so often in my practice, and for myself too. This essence gives you strength to do the hard work involved in learning new skills, developing a business, or in any venture that requires sustained effort to succeed (as far as I can tell, that is pretty much all of them).
You can see these plants in all their flowering glory by following the links and viewing the galleries. I love to share images so you can get to know these beauties in other seasons, and not just the few days a year the flowers are at peak. There is so much to notice and admire, and each time I spend time with the plants I learn new things. It is a never ending cycle, and each year I see something I have missed before. Nature is full of wonders.