Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Tub Teas

Tub Tea for the Weary Gardener

May and June are months that find us working in the gardens from early morning until the sun sets. We love digging, hoeing, and fighting with the roto-tiller. We move boulders, small mountains, and wonder why using a wheelbarrow looks so easy when other people do it. A flat of bedding plants that comes home from the nursery can become a never-ending source of guilt, and an innocent looking garden hose at 10 a.m. becomes a 2 ton boa constrictor by 4 p.m. The sun we longed for during the Winter now seeks us out, baking us with no mercy. Need I mention the mosquitoes, gnats, bees, and spiders? No, I think not.

By the end of the day, we are grimy, smelly, and ache to the bone. How can you not love that? There is the feast for the senses that makes it all worthwhile. The birds sing their hearts out. The earth feels and smells like life itself. The plants that respond to touch by emitting their fragrance, and the dancing butterflies that flit about us while we work, all help to make it so very worthwhile.

Now with a bit of forethought, we can end this experience (for today) with a soothing, fragrant, decadent bath. It is so easy, and lets face it…. We deserve it.

Look for plants that will have healing qualities as well as fragrance. Use as many or as few as you like. Remember that many people believe that plants that choose to grow near us have something to offer us. Here are some to try:

lavender flowers rose petals plantain
tarragon elderflowers sage
chickweed comfrey honeysuckle
wild oats rosemary thyme
violets – flowers and leaves lovage mints
valerian flowers calendula echinacea leaves

Gather enough so that there is about a loose quart of leaves and flowers. Put away the gardening implements (no need to feel guilty later). Place the plant materials in the blender or food processor and pulse just enough so that the plants are bruised (this is where the Doctrine of Signatures comes in :->). Dump the mixture onto a one foot square of cloth and tie up the bundle. If bugs or plants have caused an itchy feeling, add ¼ cup of oatmeal first. Place the bundle in a stockpot with a couple of quarts of water and heat on the stove to a gentle simmer. Meanwhile, run a bath. Add a few drops of eucalyptus or peppermint oil for those muscles. Squeeze in some aloe gel to help with the sunburn. Get out the candles, add music, and pour yourself a well deserved glass of wine. Pour the contents of the stockpot into the tub.

Climb in and reap the early rewards of gardening. Another feast for the senses.
By Tina Sams
First published Spring 2002. More sample articles

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