I thought I would share with you a few Easter cards from my vintage card collection. The Italian card at the bottom was posted in 1943 from a father stationed in Italy during the Second World War to his young daughter in New Zealand. The others aren’t dated so I’m not sure exactly how old they are. If you click on the image, you can see a larger picture and read the greeting.
My love for herbs began many years ago when I became interested in natural remedies and decided to do a correspondence course in herbal studies. The course involved the study of a wide range of herbs, their healing properties, and how to make herbal medicines and treatments. While studying the course, I got a job at Weleda NZ Ltd., a manufacturer of natural and herbal medicines and body care products. I worked in the despatch department, picking and packing orders and invoicing, and occasionally helped out in other departments, including a brief stint in the manufacturing department where I had hands-on experience in the making of the herbal medicines. It was a lovely place to work, surrounded by biodynamic gardens of healing herbs.
After working at Weleda for six years, I left to pursue my dream of a writing career, but my love of herbs continued in my garden at home. I grow herbs to use in cooking, herbs for healing, and some just for their beauty, and for the folklore and magic associated with them.
Whenever I feel a sore throat coming on, I make an infusion of sage and thyme and gargle with it several times a day.
The sage is lovely in stuffing balls at Christmas time.
To help relieve congested sinuses from a cold, I put a few sprigs of rosemary in a bowl of boiled water, cover my head with a towel, then lean over the bowl and breathe in the aromatic steam. I use rosemary a lot in cooking – rosemary shortbread, rosemary focaccia bread, rosemary roast potatoes, or a few sprigs thrown on the barbecue.
I add a few fresh leaves of stevia, the sugar herb, to fruit when stewing, to replace sugar. This year I’m going to dry the leaves and grind them into a powder to use in baking.
Borage is a good companion plant for my strawberries, and it helps to attract the bees.
Lavender is also a great bee plant. I use it in herbal crafts, and often pick a few sprigs to keep in a vase on the kitchen bench.
I keep a pot of Aloe Vera on hand in case of burns.
Foxgloves just because they are one of my favourite flowers, and I love the folklore that surrounds them.
The leaves of lemon balm have the most beautiful lemony scent and possess many healing properties.
I use garlic chives a lot in cooking, and their flowers are so pretty.
I use basil, parsley and mint a lot in cooking, too. The smell of minted potatoes always reminds me of holidays with my grandparents. It’s nice to be able to go outside and pick herbs fresh from the garden whenever you want to add them to a dish.
Anise Hyssop is another great bee plant. It is also very pretty and I love the aniseed fragrance of the leaves.
Feverfew and calendulas self-seed throughout our garden.
I used to love the mass plantings of echinaceas in the summers when I worked at Weleda. They are used in their medicines to support the immune system and to treat infections.
This year I grew my own echinaceas.
I am also growing bay, arnica, angelica, and comfrey, but they are only small at the moment.
The last month of summer, here in Napier, New Zealand, brought lots of sunshine and hot temperatures, but little rain. Flowers bloomed in the garden, while in the vegetable beds, beans, zucchinis, beetroot, chard, and salad greens were plentiful. Our blueberry bush provided a steady supply of berries throughout the month. The tomato plants gave us enough for salads and sandwiches, but not enough for preserving. We had loads of basil in the garden that we wanted to use, so while tomatoes were cheap to buy, we bought some for making pasta sauce and we now have several jars in the pantry and the freezer to see us through the next few months.
I started a new garden journal this year that I plan to fill with collaged pages of photographs, sketches and journaling. These are the first pages. I’ve added some embellishments from Graphic 45s Time To Flourish collection, which has lots of pretty floral stickers, scrapbooking papers, chipboard tags and journaling cards. On January’s page I included a layout plan of our veggie garden to aid in planning for crop rotation next season.
Our summer, so far, has been very hot, with not very much rain. The flowers, veggies and weeds are all growing well! Some of my favourite flowers in our garden this year are the foxgloves, snapdragons, asters. . .
. . . and the good old-fashioned hydrangea, which is a beautiful blue colour with tiny flecks of red.
I love the soft blue and lemon of the newly forming blooms.
These pretty blue cornflowers self-seeded throughout the garden.
Here are a few pictures of our veggie garden. Although it is small, made up of raised beds tucked away in a corner, we manage to grow a lot in it.
I picked our first zucchinis last week.
The climbing beans have lots of flowers, so shouldn’t be too far away.
I have bottled several jars of beetroot and there are lots more coming on.
We are picking radishes and lettuces and spring onions, and we had a really good crop of strawberries this year.
I hung shiny things over the spinach and chard to keep the birds from eating it, and surrounded the small plants with grit to deter the snails and slugs.
Finn keeps me company in the garden while I plant, weed, and harvest.
I have been collecting vintage greeting cards for three or four years now, browsing antique shops, visiting stamp and postcard shows, and poring through boxes of old cards when the Cartophilic Society fair visits our local town. I love the vintage pictures of a bygone era, and the handwritten sentiments inside or on the back of the cards.
The oldest one I have, that is dated, is a Christmas postcard from 1907. Wonderful to see how the women are dressed!
I have a collection of Easter, birthday, Christmas, and New Year cards sent from a father, stationed in Italy during the Second World War, to his daughter back home in New Zealand. I think it is so lovely that his daughter kept the cards all these years.
Postcards were hugely popular in the early twentieth century, when improved printing technology meant that high-quality colour images could be mass-produced cheaply, and postcards were cheap to send. For a few years, postcards replaced the earlier, elaborate, Victorian-style Christmas cards. Sometimes the postcard would show a portrait of the sender, along with a festive greeting.
By the 1920s, the traditional folding Christmas card and envelope had returned.