Ohhhhhhh and she goes for one of my FAVORITE plants in the whole world. Is that SMELL just not the ABSOLUTE best. Before I learned what it WAS, my partner and I would come upon it while gardening for other folks and we just called it "Fragrant Hoo-Hah" [:D]
COOL thing about Sweet Annie is that you can harvest it at all DIFFERENT times, depending on what you're DOING with it.....For tincturing, (and we DO use it to help with Lyme and malaria)I take some BEFORE it blooms, when the leaves are still perfect and green.
(Blooms, did she say BLOOMS???)Ahhh yes, Sweet Annie, being the baby sister of Artemesias does indeed 'bloom' in magnificent artemesia 'beads' at the tips of her branches. They start out green (her elder sisters start out silver) and then the FUN starts. They go from green, to yellow, to golden.....while at the same time the STEMS go from green to burgundy to brown....all the while the LEAVES go from green eventually to beige too.....So NOW what do we do??? Just WATCH.....there's a PLACE where the flowerbeads are RIPE, a good, solid feel to them and the whole thing is just this green/gold/burgundy that is just STUNNING. Cut at this PRECISE point of gloriousness, all the colors STAY for a very long time, especially if you hang them upside down in a dark place (but where there's plenty of air circulation.
I wish I could EXPLAIN just WHEN it's at its very BEST...I'm rubbing my fingertips together here at the screen just ITCHIN' to be able to be there with you saying "Feel that?? FEEL that?? It's DONE". (I won't COMPLETELY love the internet until we have gooey screens we can REACH through!!)
If you choose to weave a wreath while it's fresh, be sure you lay the wreath flat to dry. If you HANG it to dry completely, some of the flowering tips might give over to gravity and it will LOOK droopy. But prop it evenly up on something so the back doesn't go moldy....Actually, laying the whole wreath flat on a screen would be grand.
I let DEAR Sweet Annie rather TAKE OVER the cutting garden at Glynwood....(not hard to do, just turn your back!) But I had SO much of it that I was cutting it in all different color combos and drying entire plants upside down to use the gorgeous beaded tips in OTHER wreaths...mainly the Christmas wreaths. Utterly ELEGANT against deep evergreens with REAL rosehips for berries.
But THEN there's the Grand Finale.....I always tried to let just ONE grow to her absolute, unencumbered, FULL wingspread. Notice how they look like PERFECT Christmas trees.....and that ONE would become this madly, oddly fragrant CHRISTMAS TREE!! (shedding a zillion seeds all over the floor as it was decorated with the TINIEST bows and lightest-weight ornaments). It was VERY special.
THANK YOU, Beth.....that was GREAT fun.....I miss my Annies
(though YES, there are STILL some dried branches in my storage shed!)
enjoy, enjoy, enjoy
where gypsies and goddesses bellydance
and Healing Happens!