Saturday, May 29, 2010

sweet, shampoo, pick-up

Posted by PicasaThe Crow (see comments) got to the post, before I had written anything. It is Sweet Cicely or Mirrhis odorata. I have had it in the garden for as long as I can remember. It is described as a "sweetening herb" and useful therefore to diabetics. It is recommended for  sweetening purposes, for adding to gooseberry pie, for example. The crushed seeds were used for polishing furniture and produced a high gloss as well as an agreeable scent.  My herb book says  the flower heads should be cut off as soon as they appear, because they drain goodness from the leaves. But, as I don't use the leaves, I never cut off the flower heads. Would you?

In the Health Food Shop a woman is loading up her basket with cartons of pure, natural and  health-giving products. She has the pale and unhealthy look of  most health food enthusiasts. "Have you a shampoo that you can recommend?" she demands of the assistant. " I tried one with mango," she continues, "it smells like ... well... sick."

Hall's book shop has a high window with shelves, the top of which can only be reached from the balcony on the first floor. Just at the moment, there is a seasonal display of gardening books.  A man who is helping in the shop comes downstairs and grabs one of those devices with  a lever operated claw used by the infirm to pick things up without bending down. It is in the corner where umbrellas, walkingsticks and other objects, which have been discarded or forgotten by customers, reside.  " I can't quite reach the Gertrude Jekyll in the top of the window," he says.


The Crow said...

I'm early, I know, because you haven't posted beyond your photo, but I wanted to tell you what a good one it is. This looks like a plant which grows near rhe office where I work, only I don't know its name. I picked a few stems a couple of days ago and put them in a vase with some roses, also on the property. There are tiny green spiders (not scary ones) which live in the flower's umbrells.

Can you tell me the name of this lovely flower?

The Crow said...

Thank you, Plutarch, for answering my question.

I researched it online and learned of its many uses - for instance, as a decoction, it is reportedly good for treating the bites of "vipers and mad dogs." Didn't say anything about Englishmen, though.

And the proper word is umbels, not umbrells, as I had written earlier. I always think of umbrella as a mnemonic to help me remember umbel. Guess I mixed up my mnemonic with the correct name, hunh?

(I promise to wait until you have finished posting before commenting from now on. Must have seemed like I was interrupting your conversation before it even started. My apologies.)

Lucy said...

I got that one early too! We tried to grow sweet cicely from seed for ages without success, then got a plant from somewhere and since then it has ramped away and colonised a whle damp shady corner. It doesn't seem to suffer for not having its flowers chopped off! I'm very fond of it.

I don't know about the spiders but when the seeds go brown later in the summer there's some kind of bronze-coloured shield bug that goes wild all over it. I sometimes chop a bit inot a salad, especially with fish as I'm not a great fennel lover but this gives just enough of that kind of taste. The leaves are pretty then as a garnish for the fish, but I tend to tell people they don't have to eat them, as they a re a bit furry on the tongue.

You seem to have picked up some particularly satisfying snippets of conversation lately. I remarked at Crow's that I thought the mango-scented talc that her secret agent alter-ego used to conceal her messages sounded interesting, but now I've changed my mind.

Unknown said...

Crow I thought that I have left the post in its draft stage, but posted it in error. But in fact your response was encouraging and led me to give a fuller discription of sweet cicely than I would otherwise have done.

Lucy One reason I like sweet cicely is that it fills shady (and I think dry corners, a troublesome combination)so elegantly.

Crown said...

thank a lot to admin and commentator, every word are useful for me.


Lucy said...

I meant, of course, that I chop some of the herb, not the bugs, into salad.

Every word are useful to me, I assure you.