Friday, May 6, 2011

It's Honeysuckle Time!

Dear Friends,

Welcome to Birdsong Cottage today! It is a beautiful, sunny day today, following a nice, soaking rain yesterday. The garden (and weeds) is growing nicely, and we've already been harvesting a few radishes and lettuce. We hope that we'll be harvesting peas before long (barring unforeseen chicken attacks)!

Here's Frankie sampling the radishes~

We are blessed to have a little woodlot with a stream in it behind our home, and we are excited to have the honeysuckle bushes coming into bloom. If every family in the area harvested honeysuckle blossoms in the spring to enjoy in their homes, they wouldn't be so invasive!

We think the blossoms look like fairy dancers!

We have been experimenting with using honeysuckle medicinally, and harvested enough almost-opened buds to make a jar of honeysuckle glycerin (we're out of honey, or we would use it, too). We're going to dry some for les tisanes, as well. It takes a LOT of blossoms to fill a jar!.

The buds fit in so well with the "English Cottage" look~


According to the book Backyard Medicine, "Honeysuckle is good for treating heat conditions (hot flashes, fevers, sunstroke, and urinary tract infections), spasms in the respiratory system in such conditions as asthma, croup, and bronchitis, and it is antiseptic and effective against many microorganisms, reinforcing its value for sore throats and respiratory ailments." James Duke rates honeysuckle second only to eucalyptus for sore throats.

 Another thing we were excited to find in the woods is Sweet Cicely (Myrrhis odorata). Sweet Cicely is a licorice-scented plant that resembles deadly hemlock, so you have to be very careful when identifying it. Its leaves and flowers are good in salads, and the stems make a good "nibble".

 The leaves of the species of Sweet Cicely that grows near us have bright, shiny undersides, with the veins on the leaves going to the tips of the "teeth", instead of the valleys, like hemlock. Again, be very, very careful if you want to use any member of the carrot or parsley family! It is better to not use them at all, if there is any doubt.

The rain droplets on the false solomon seal looked so beautiful in the morning sun, we couldn't resist taking a picture of him, too!
May you have a magical day of exploring today.


 The Honeysuckle

  I PLUCKED a honeysuckle where
The hedge on high is quick with thorn,
And climbing for the prize, was torn,
And fouled my feet in quag-water;
And by the thorns and by the wind
The blossom that I took was thinn'd,
And yet I found it sweet and fair.
Thence to a richer growth I came,
Where, nursed in mellow intercourse,
The honeysuckles sprang by scores,
Not harried like my single stem,
All virgin lamps of scent and dew.
     So from my hand that first I threw,
      Yet plucked not any more of them.  

                      ~Dante Gabriel Rosseti


  1. Oh--you have honeysuckle! I wish I had it growing around here, but haven't found any yet. I had never heard of using it as a medicine, but the hot flash treatment sounds great! I've been having them for almost 15 years now, and I am sooo tired of them. Glad your garden is coming up--I still haven't planted anything yet--too wet, and more rain expected next week. Ah well, if He wants me to plant a garden, it'll get done. If not--the local farmer's market is not that far away!

  2. Honeysuckle brings back sweet childhood memories for me. I spent hours snacking on the nectar from them. I love the fragrance of them also.
    Do you eat the buds and blossoms too?
    Thank you for any information.
    Blessings, Janet W.

  3. That white honeysuckle is so beautiful. I'd love to have some for my white garden. We have a yellow vine trellised by the kitchen window. The bees and hummingbirds love it. Will the domesticated kind work for medicinal purposes or does it have to be wild? Hope Frankie enjoyed his radishes! I grow them but I don't care for their taste. I just think they are pretty. Did you ever try roasting them?

  4. Good day to you, dear Marqueta!
    Oh, do enjoy that sunshine! We have only had 2 days of sunshine this spring !!! All else is rain (or snow, depending on the area).
    My peas are just peeking through the earth. We won't be harvesting any for quite some time yet. And, my rooster did get into them the day after they were planted ~ bad boy!
    Oh, what lovely honeysuckle! I didn't know it grew white; I only know of the orange colored wild one that we have growing in the woodland behind us. I don't think it is blooming yet, but we do have hummingbirds buzzing around and they dearly love the wild honeysuckle. I will have to go check it out! My tame one in my yard is only just leafing out.
    I wish I were brave enough to try some wild harvesting, but as you say, if one doesn't know for sure, it is better not to try it!
    I had planted some Sweet Cecily, but I think it is all gone now! Gentleman Farmer likes to mow anything that is taller than the grass. :~O
    My Solomon's Seal is blooming ~ I just discovered it yesterday! It is so pretty with it's little bells of white! Really brightens a shady spot.
    I would like to ask how you post video on your blog. I have tried several times with Blogger video and it just won't work. I know it is difficult with dial-up, but thought perhaps with another one it might work. I see you use Google. If you get a chance sometime, could you give me a little info. on it? I am so computer illiterate!
    Enjoy your garden goodies and woodland treats! And a very happy Mother's Day, too!

  5. Mmmmm Honeysuckle!
    I can't wait till it shall be blooming up here! ;-)
    All the pictures look so fresh and Pretty!
    Have a WONDERFUL Mother's Day. you Sweet Mommy you!!
    Blessings and Hugs, Linnie

  6. the pictures are beautiful love the water droplets!! Happy Mother's Day have a wonderful weekend and enjoy your honeysuckle :)

  7. Our honeysuckle has come and gone. I love it we made the throat syrup we used local honey and we're looking forward to trying it. So maybe with the local honey when our throats are sore due to allergies we will be doing double duty.

    I hope your mothers day is wonderful!

    Love Erika

  8. Hi Marqueta,

    Thank you for dropping by to visit my blog and for your kind comments :) Your honeysuckle is beautiful and I had no idea it could be used medicinally until now.

    Best wishes,
    Claire x

  9. I would think the fun thing about moving to a new area is seeing what grows each season. It is always a suprise. I love how you are making the most of it too xoxo Clarice


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