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Fall 2020

Flowers always make people better, happier, and more helpful; they are sunshine, food and medicine to the soul.  Luther Burbank


As Fall of 2020 approaches and my seasonal job ended, it presents an opportunity to reflect. My photography skills have improved greatly through constant practice and reviewing hundreds of photos with a good friend and Emma Davies beginning photo classes. I have been attending to my writing skills through Stephen Wilber’s online courses and blogs. All are combining to help me complete my next book.

Reviewing some of my photos and the purpose to this blog, I looked to the enticing perennials of late summer. All three show-stoppers are ruled by the astrological sign Leo, which in turn is ruled by the planetary object the Sun. This makes them Fire plants which fit with this time of year of late heat, harvests, and cooling down of the soil. They invite pollinators through their scents, landing pads and variety of colors. All are natives of the Americas and make you stop and observe them through their location, color, or structure.


Black Cohosh  – Cimicifuga racemose

I first met Bugbane, Snakeroot, and Candles of the Fairies while visiting a friend’s garden. The exotic look of this native shade plant was a seller.

The Algonquin tribes of the Northeast name for cohosh means pointed, co-os means pine tree.  Its blooming racemes reflect tall pines with its white blooms lighting up the shade. The seeds sound like a rattlesnake’s tail when the wind blows.

Cohosh flowers rubbed on the skin act as an insect repellent. This plant was a cornerstone for medicinal uses; rheumatism, pneumonia, or asthma. The roots created a tonic and the general plant parts are for treating snakebites. The Europeans acknowledged its properties, and it first appeared in Charles Millspaugh’s American Medicinal Plants in 1892. It remained in pharmacology books until the mid-20th centuries.

In the language of flowers, Black Cohosh leaves offer protection and destruction of negativity. Its white blooms offer peace, purity, and truth.


Sunflowers – Helianthus

This bright and multi-size plant is a native of Peru and the American Southwest. In cultivation for over 10,000 years sunflowers have provided food and oil. Its star- shape flower represents the Virgins of the Sun celebration where participates wear golden crowns, representing the sunflower.

Helianthus brighten one’s mood with its vibrant green leaves and yellow or orange blossoms. Its botanical name comes from the Greek Helia for sun and Anthus for flower. In the language of flowers, with the large seed producing heads the receiver is adored and splendid.  The sender is loyal and sends best wishes. Generally, any sunflower in a bouquet means truth, fame, recognition or the granting of a wish.  The Victorians put a touch of gloom to the sunflowers in that they felt it was a sign of false riches, pride or only meant for one person.  Luckily, those meanings have passed.




Joe Pye Weed  – Eutrochium

The Queen of the Prairie or the Queen of the Meadow, Sisters of Healing, and Gravel Root are just some of the names for this outstanding ornamental. I feel this plant creeps up on its spectacular presentation. It starts as a green plant, then at some point, only it knows, it erupts to its height and show-stopping clusters of pink to purple and vanilla scents. The seeds provide winter foraging for birds. Crushing the leaves and burning them makes a fly repellent. The flowers and seeds make a pink dye.

There are five native varieties and dwarf hybrids to embrace that fill your garden space as summer wains.  Joe Pye Weed is name after a native American healer, Joseph Shauquethqueat, a Mohican chief living in Massachusetts and New York in the 18th and early 19th centuries. The botanical name Eupatorium is named after the Greek King Mithridates Eupator. The ruler of Pontus and Armenia (northern Turkey) who used it in the first century BCE for medicinal purposes.

In the language of flowers, Joe Pye Weed means delay, respect, and love.



This blog is intended for information only. Always check with your health care practitioner before working with plants for medicinal purposes.


Earth Powers, Techniques of Natural Magic.  Scott Cunningham

Flowers & Their Meanings

Language of Flowers, edited by Miss Ildrewe

New Book of Herbs, Jekka McKivar

The Secret of Wildflowers, A delightful feast of little-known facts, folklore, and history. Jack Sanders