HAWTHORN- Sweet 'PIXIE PEAR' Ketchup/ Relish

Hawthornketchup

Hawthorn, as Maia Toll so beautiful put it is…

♥︎‘The Hearts Home’ ♥︎

A tree of new life, of love and of new beginnings.

My approach to working with plants is one of ‘Nourishment’ , a symbiotic relationship of giving to one another. They nourish us and we nourish them in return. They are always there to guide and heal, when times are hard and illness creeps in, but I much prefer the approach of nourishing daily with the plants, not just calling on them when a ‘cure’ is needed.

Hawthorn is such a magical tree, and I think that as with all plants, some of the most profound gifts, and healing they can give us comes from not only their physical properties, but the life lessons, their historic relations with our ancestors and their energetic medicine.

A perfect example of this is how Hawthorn has long been celebrated by our ancestors for it’s ability to connect the material real with the spirit realm. Hence why it is known to be sacred to the Fae and why one of the folk names for the Hawthorn berries is ‘Pixie Pears’ , i’ve also read that depending on where abouts in the UK you are, rosehips are also known by the same name, which is exciting, because we normally harvest them around the same time and so all of our daily food then becomes ‘Provisions From The Pixies’ , both Roses & Hawthorn are heart healers, and so this makes makes perfect sense to me.

Two plants, from the same family, that have throughout time brought so much joy, and comfort to people through connection and heart based practice.

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♥︎ Folklore & Magic ♥︎

A singular stand alone Hawthorn tree is also known as a ‘Faerie Tree’ because it is a portal to the spirit realm, and a personal connection with these trees will aid you in nurturing your connection to the other worlds.

We have one outside our kitchen window, hugging the river bank, she is tall, covered in moss and her branches weep down in such a way that she looks like she has the most beautiful head of hair.

In folklore witches were believed to turn themselves into hawthorn trees, and if I could turn myself into a tree as beautiful as her, I would. She is magic, and I like to think she is one of the many hedge witches that like me have blessed our beautiful home over the years.

We have started back up the tradition of celebrating her by decorating her with wish/ prayer ribbons on special occasions. This is something that once every village would have done, especially around Beltane. Every time we visit a new rural village I live in hope that this tradition is still going strong somewhere, i’ve seen many a Yew wishing tree, but no Hawthorn as yet. .

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♥︎ Nourishing Properties ♥︎

Hawthorns love is magic, and her magic is LOVE, very much associated with romance, and fertility and commitment. I promise to share more on that with you another day but her physical heart healing ability is why I have shared the ketchup recipe with you today. Finding different ways to get plants into your daily meals, is the best fun!

I am sad to say that the ‘hearts’ on both sides of my family have not been as strong as they should have been. I know that we are not alone on this, it seems we are now a society of anxious beings all desperately seeking ways to piece our delicate hearts back together. The recurring heart defects, heart attacks & genetic cholesterol imbalances in my family mean that ‘on paper’ my heart is ‘high risk’, and therefore I make sure mine is nourished daily, and Hawthorns beautiful heart strengthening medicine is my very best friend.

The anti oxidant compounds found in the flowers, leaves and berries of the Hawthorn means it is a beautiful way to treat various heart conditions, and is best of all taken regularly as a preventative.

Strengthening blood vessels, and collagen in the body which enables it to heal damage to coronary arteries and valve deficiency. Hawthorn also lowers unhealthy cholesterol, and high blood pressure.

The berries are a nervine, and are calming & relaxing, and both the berries, and blossom can be used to help with anxiety, fearful conditions and grief. When your are in pieces Hawthorn holds your heart in her hands and slowly but surely knits you back together.

The Hawthorn berry recipe I have shared below is for more of a warming, tangy, sweet relish than a traditional ketchup, but it’s delicious, and a hearty treat. It’s very sweet but is made without any refined sugar, so is almost guilt free.

Hawthorn Berry Forage

♥︎ Hawthorn ‘PIXIE PEAR’ Ketchup ♥︎

This recipe is enough for a small jar, you can make more, it just depends on how abundant your Hawthorn berry harvest has been.

I have adapted this recipe from the wonderful ‘Gather Victoria’, with what we had growing/ & in our pantry. I hope you can do the same, and let us know how you get on so we can start a Hawthorn Ketchup recipe club!

You will need a nut bag/ a sieve/ cheese cloth

Ingredients

  • 1 Cup of your ‘Pixie Pears (Hawthorn Berries)

  • 1 Cup of Chopped up fresh Tomatoes

  • 1/2 cup of Apple Cider Vinegar

  • 1/2 cup of water

  • 1/2 cup of Stewed Apple

  • Salt To Season (as you like)

  • Teaspoon Of Maple Syrup (or more if you prefer it very sweet)

  • Teaspoon Of Smoked Paprika ( or more/less depending on your preference )

Instructions

  • Gather your Berries, then spend some time removing the stalks

    (it isn’t necessary to take the leaves & twigs as well, we only did because we are collecting them for a ribbon project, you can just harvest the berries by themselves).

  • Place both the berries & the tomatoes in a large sauce pan along with your water, and the apple cider vinegar. ~ Bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer for about 30mins/ or when you see that the berries skins have split, and are soft.

  • After the mixture has cooled remove the pits by putting the whole of the mixture into your milk bag/ cheese cloth/ or sieve to push through the pulpy liquid into your saucepan. - It’s really important that you spend the time squeezing out the thicker pulpy part of the liquid mix.

  • Add in your stewed apple & your paprika to the mix, and heat gently.

  • Bring to a low boil & simmer for 10 mins until the mixture becomes syrupy.

  • Remove from heat, and stir in your maple syrup to sweeten. If you think It is too sweet for you, then you can add small dashes of Apple Cider Vinegar instead. This just depends on personal taste.

  • Salt to season.

  • When you are happy with your ketchup you can pour into your container, and it should keep in the fridge for a couple of weeks. We double the recipe and freeze batches of it.

Hawthorn For Dying

~Disclaimer ~

We believe that learning and healing from the plants is our birthright, a remembering. What was second nature to our ancestors, becomes a liberating and empowering form of self healing. If we heal ourselves, we heal the wild from which we came. 

The plants are our oldest and wisest ancestors, and we hope that by sharing the journey of our own ramblings down the plant path, you can take steps towards your own. 

Please always do your own research, identify your plants properly, and cross reference any plant identification at least twice. 

Any information given on our website and newsletters are not intended as a medical reference but as a source of information. The use of any herb or any derivative is entirely at the readers own risk.

Kintala Flowers are not responsible for the use and misuse of plants listed. 

The information provided by our website and newsletter is not a substitute for face to face consultation with your Doctor and should not be construed as medical advice. All information provided is based on the personal opinions and research of Kintala Flowers.

SOIL

Soil to many people is known only by the derogatory name of “dirt” it’s unclean, it is some “other”, something for humans to be distanced from. If something is dirty to must be cleaned, it is unsafe, unsanitary, unfit for humans. Soil is many things but soil is definitely not “dirt” and this term only serves to exacerbate our disconnection from both soil and the natural world.

Soil is a home, it is a store and it is a teacher. Soil is both the start and the finish. It is capable of giving birth to life and calling life to return to it through death and decay. Everything that is brought to life that is of organic matter whether that be flora or fauna will end up returned to the soil. The life given by the soil is sustained by death, the cycle constantly renews and matter is constantly shifting and changing. Every living thing is in some way dependant on soil, it unites us all it is a living system to be held in the highest regard.

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Beneath the ground on which we walk are the soils stores, it cradles and holds water and it locks away carbon. Soil works in relation with other elements such as water to nurture plant life, this plant life works with the elements of the air to convert carbon dioxide into oxygen for other living things to breathe. Where does the plant life send the carbon? down into the soil. This interconnected solution for many of anthropocentric issues surrounding climate breakdown surely should highlight the truly amazing potential of soil. It can filter water to make it safe and clean, and it does all of this selflessly only acting with positive action unto the world which benefits every living thing that depends upon it.

Healthy soil has healthy soil life. Some of these beings are visible to us, some are not. The humble earthworm is a common icon for soil dwelling beasts, but he or she do not live alone. Soil is a home to millions of bacteria, miles and miles of fungal networks and insects too numerous to mention by name. They all live harmoniously enjoying the environment that the soil creates.

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Soil does all of these things not for our benefit but for the benefit of the entire natural world, so how does the singular species of human beings interact with soil? Well we are violent towards it, quite frankly we are awful to soil and show it little or no respect. We demand year after year that the soil provide us with food to nourish our bodies without once returning the favour of nourishing the soil. We spray soil with harmful chemicals and pesticides that kill all the beings that call the soil their home. If any survive then we make certain their demise by ploughing the soil. We un do all of the good that the soil has done locking away carbon by re-releasing it into our atmosphere by the act of tilling. The soil is left devoid of life and vulnerable to erosion, loss of soil by water washing it into our rivers and oceans and by wind blowing the loose ploughed top soil away. We care so little about soil that we let it disappear before our very eyes. “Increased Food Production” is the banner under which we operate with such violence. If we abuse soil we can produce more food, we then pass laws regarding food standards that render that increased yield un-saleable and thus construct mountains of spoiled harvest and food waste. If we are to change the way we are to be with soil we must learn from it, not about it in order to exploit it.

On day in meditation a discipline of Buddha asked him “you teach us the lesson of equilibrium and of compassion and of forgiveness but where did you learn these things” Buddha simply took his hand and placed it palm down onto the soil. Soil gives life to all it does not credit check, discriminate, or ask questions it just selflessly gives to all. Even in the face of all the violence we show toward soil, it still nourishes us and provides us with food as well as engineering the planet for our survival. In order to learn equilibrium we must adhere to soil care. We must show the same compassion that we receive. We must stop this greed that causes us to act unjustly towards the natural world.

“Nature provides enough for everybody needs, but not enough for even one persons greed”

Mahatma Gandhi

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As some of you may or may not know (both of which are fine there is no judgement here) we chose the world Kintala for our output as it is a Romani word for balance, especially referring to a spiritual balance. The Romani language is believed to be part ancient Indian dialects, part Sanskrit and to have had some European influence. Kintala is in essence a version of the principle of karma, which is defined in numerous ways by numerous religions but our interpretation is that of rightful action. Put very simply doing the right thing. We care for the soil for which we are guardians in a non-violent way that is beneficial to soil and all that depend on it. We do not plough or till, we do not use any kind of chemicals, and we actually build top soil and soil structure. It is our understanding that by showing the natural world compassion it will treat us compassionately, by caring for the soil we are caring for all who depend up on it and in turn they care for us. This is our equilibrium.

~ Andrew

















🦌 Cleavers & The Deer 🦌

Cleavers Deer

A Return To The Wilderness

Ever since the first of their little tendrils appeared in February, we’ve been gratefully enjoying the abundant spring bounty of ‘goosegrass’ popping up everywhere. Making tinctures, vinegars, soothing balms, adding handfuls to food and drinking daily cleavers ‘juice’.

There are infinite reasons to love cleavers, but my favourite folklore surrounding it’s beautifully ‘clingy nature’ is the link between cleavers and the deer. Their medicine is so beautifully intertwined.

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Cleavers is a nervine herb who’s angular form is said to resemble the legs of a deer, and mirror their tender, gentle but determined nature.

In ‘Nature Speak’ a Deer’s medicine whispers of a “ a return to the wilderness”. The beauty that lies in willing to be gentle and vulnerable enough to remember our truly wild nature.

They are the epitome of the strength found within gentleness. Their heightened intuition, lays foundations for their otherwise ‘innocent’ way of viewing the world and their tenderness coupled with their tenacious instinct for survival, makes them them demure, but incredibly wise teachers.

They are known throughout history to have lead great kings, and huntsmen into the woods to ‘get lost’ in magic lands, and wild experiences.

Deer come as a promise and gentle rustling of new adventures.

Deer Cleavers

Just like the deer, for me, cleavers resemble the ‘return to the wilderness’ in so many ways. This plant is tameless, it wildly and unapologetically scrambles it’s way around the hedgerows, woods and gardens of our lives. It is gentle but persevering, just like the deer, and in the same way lures us into nature at just the right time ~ to prepare us for all those promised adventures.

Growing in abundance, and commonly named ‘Kisses’ or ‘Sweetheart’ because it clings to us as if it loves us.

I think it really does, and is so benevolent and generous with it too, it makes me genuinely sad when people refer to it as a weed!

Providing both us and the animals with profound medicine and food, (geese and chickens especially love it) and offering shelter and bedding to it’s deer kin.

When Doe’s have their fawns they are known to choose large patches of cleavers as their sacred space to give birth. Not only is the cleavers soft and gentle on mother and baby, but because it grows up to great heights, disguising their smell, hiding them away and keeping them safe.

Another of cleavers common name’s is ‘bedstraw’, giving comfort and safety to so many of our animal friends.

Cleavers really is a sweetheart!

Deer & cleavers

I always like to think of Cleavers as offering us a gentle, internal ‘spring clean’. Gifting us the medicine we need to ready and prepare ourselves for the richness of the summer months, when days are long and busy.

Working with our waterways, delicately cleansing our bodies of anything that may have built up over the winter. Delicately encouraging our internal currents to push through and flow clean and clear again.

When deer show up there is an opportunity to express gentle love that will open new doors to adventure for you.
— Ted Andrews

We will be sharing some of our favourite cleavers recipes in our monthly newsletter which will be sent out on the April (pink) full moon.

If you haven’t already signed up, you can do so in the tab at the bottom of this page.

Have you had any special deer or cleavers experiences? I would love to know if anyone has seen the deer sleeping in beds of cleavers? I have definitely seen the curve, and imprint of where a deer was sleeping, but never the deer itself.

Do you have any favourite ways you incorporate cleavers into your life?

I would love to hear from you in the comments below, or on this post on our instagram page.

Much love

Kelly-Marie xx

✴︎✴︎✴︎✴︎✴︎✴︎✴︎✴︎✴︎✴︎✴︎✴︎✴︎✴︎✴︎✴︎✴︎✴︎✴︎✴︎✴︎✴︎✴︎✴︎✴︎✴︎✴︎✴︎✴︎✴︎✴︎✴︎✴︎✴︎✴︎✴︎✴︎✴︎✴︎✴︎✴︎✴︎✴︎✴︎✴︎✴︎✴︎✴︎✴︎✴︎✴︎✴︎✴︎✴︎✴︎✴︎✴︎✴︎✴︎✴︎✴︎✴︎✴︎✴︎✴︎

Disclaimer ~

I believe that learning and healing from the plants is our birthright, a remembering. What was second nature to our ancestors, becomes a liberating and empowering form of self healing. If we heal ourselves, we heal the wild from which we came.

The plants are our oldest and wisest ancestors, and we hope that by sharing the journey of our own ramblings down the plant path, you can take steps towards your own.

Please always do your own research, identify your plants properly, and cross reference any plant identification at least twice.

Any information given on our website is not intended as a medical reference but as a source of information. The use of any herb or any derivative is entirely at the readers own risk.

The information provided by our website is not a substitute for face to face consultation with your Doctor and should not be construed as medical advice. All information provided is based on the personal opinions and research of Kintala Flowers.

✴︎✴︎✴︎✴︎✴︎✴︎✴︎✴︎✴︎✴︎✴︎✴︎✴︎✴︎✴︎✴︎✴︎✴︎✴︎✴︎✴︎✴︎✴︎✴︎✴︎✴︎✴︎✴︎✴︎✴︎✴︎✴︎✴︎✴︎✴︎✴︎✴︎✴︎✴︎✴︎✴︎✴︎✴︎✴︎✴︎✴︎✴︎✴︎✴︎✴︎✴︎✴︎✴︎✴︎✴︎✴︎✴︎✴︎✴︎✴︎✴︎✴︎✴︎✴︎✴︎


Travellers Joy + Clematis Flower Essence

Travellers Joy

One early evening, when the light was low and hazy, we stumbled upon a sea of Wild Clematis illuminating the hedgerows. A tangle of frothy silver waves, rivalling both the neighbouring white horses lapping on the edges of the shore and the early blossom announcing the arrival of Spring.

A dreamscape, of magical light and intoxicating sea breeze. We were left in awe of these great clouds of clematis and it reminded us of why it has long been referred to as ‘Travellers Joy’.

My two favourite folk names for Wild Clematis are ‘Love Bind’ and ‘Old Mans Beard’, the old man and his beard are a frequent addition to our Christmas wreaths.

Appearing to cling to the hedgerow in a loving embrace, Wild Clematis twines itself around other plants in order to reach the sunlight. It is not strong enough to stand by itself and so needs the support of others in order to grow.

Just like us.

I believe there is magic and medicine to be found in everything. When the living world grabs our attention, or leaves us in wonder, then it is often whispering words of wisdom straight into our ears.

Perhaps, if we are willing to accept the unconditional love and help offered to us by the wild and the more than human worlds, then we could easier embrace the ‘love that binds us’ all together.

We are nothing without it.

Wild Clematis

CLEMATIS FLOWER ESSENCE

One of my favourite forms of flower medicine are flower essences. A energetic medicine that enables us to heal ourselves. By helping us to find balance and reconnect with our higher selves, essences can help heal our minds and ours souls, and in turn our physical being.

Clematis essence can help those that are stuck residing in their ‘inbetween’.

A place where your thoughts focus only on your future and the dreams you would like to realise. Yet you can’t quite get there because you have not been tending your roots. ‘Your present.’

It is easy to get lost and overwhelmed by a future that has not yet materialised, romantic notions & fantasies,. Our castles in the sky are incredibly seductive places.

They make our reality appear underwhelming in comparison, leading us to feel apathy for our present circumstance, lacking motivation, concentration and vitality for our day to day living.

The medicine that Clematis essence offers us is the understanding that in order to manifest your hearts desires you must first water and tend to your roots. The earth you stand on. Start right where you already are. It’s where you’re meant to be.

Plant your dreams as seeds, transform your ideas and visions into seedlings, do something everyday to help them grow strong.

Clematis essence can help us navigate our way out of the fog, into a present where our dreams are literally sprouting up around us because of our own devoted love and tending. It can help give us the motivation and clarity to create the life we dream of.

Old Mans Beard

Andrew & I have been residing in our own liminal space for a while now, waiting for dreams to realise. Travellers Joy was giving us a firm but loving nudge… ‘Look at where you are’ they said! We realised that perhaps, by patiently playing the ‘waiting game’ we had unknowingly ventured into our own ‘in-between’. We also realised how utterly privileged we are to even find our selves in that conundrum, to even have that kind of choice. A beautiful wake up call if ever we saw one!

Clematis was telling us to make it count and so we will, with gratitude, we will make every moment count!

Thank you to the old man and his beard and I hope that if needed he has reached you too.

Much love as always.

Kelly-Marie xx

Community Of Caring And Purpose

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In December I decided to start a new relationship with my phone. I limited my screen time and I deliberately deleted any social media apps.

The intention was always to ‘plug back in’ come January, but as the time drew nearer I started to get that ‘ back to school feeling’. I simply did not want to.

Asking myself why I need to share, and realising I’d become far more liberated by ‘not sharing’, I truly loved my life without social media!

For a long time I have become suspicious of anything which outwardly rewards & encourages us to spend more and more time lost within our phones. So perhaps it was time to step away?

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We are told that to run a successful business we ‘need’ social media, and perhaps that is true, but at what cost? Most often it feels energy inefficient.

We are led to believe by society that our modern day sense of community must live in boxes, in grids, within the screens in our hands.

I feel genuinely lucky to have known a time without computers, but what about future generations? They will not know a mind free of technological overwhelm.

Conflicted, I turned to this quote by Jesse Wolf Hardin to make sense of how I was feeling. It is intended to describe a community of herbalists, but it’s what I believe is special about the online community that we have built up over our short time on the internet.

De facto Communities of Caring & Purpose ~
One whose community is spread out, or even global, usually unintentional but highly significant. We share motivations, priorities, goals, and sometimes actual projects with other natural, unofficial members.
We function as wild and weedy seeds, sprouting in new environs, challenging entrenched order, inspiring new ways of seeing and healing among disparate groups and unknown strangers.
— Jesse Wolf Hardin

It simply ‘connects’ us. Good or bad.

I was also reminded of an interview with Seth Godin. He believes that the real reason for us all being on social media is to quite literally be ‘SEEN’.

To be seen, to be held, to be inspired and to be connected.

To be in community with one another , I believe, means to support and to see one another and live in fellowship.

To be part of an online community gives us the freedom be “wild and weedy seeds”, to be anywhere geographically, with our community conveniently in our pockets.

Both a blessing and a curse.

Have we become a world, where ‘instant’, fleeting & overwhelm is normal. With never enough room for time spent listening and truly seeing one another. Only ever skimming the surface. Avoiding real life community, for apps in our phones for the sake of being brave and vulnerable.

How can we hold each other if we can not see one another? Algorithms, chasing followers & likes only blinds us to the reason we are all there in the first place.

To be connected. To find Inspiration. To be seen. To see one another.

To be a community of caring & purpose.

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I spent my time away trying to be a better community member, both ‘IRL’ & online. I imagined a life without social media and hurriedly signed up to many mailing lists, noted down emails and websites, and I now visit pages, as opposed to just scrolling through ‘feeds’ that are dictated to me by a robot.

I remind myself to always question what we are being ‘FED’, especially when it is a feed that we all can so easily get lost in.

I do not have the answers, but as Andrew and I embark on a life changing adventure, leaving the real life community that we know to start all over again, ‘online’ suddenly has greater importance for staying ‘close’ to the ones we hold dear. .

Social Media in essence is a tool to be used, but not to be used by.

Striving for balance, as always, within the realms of our online & real life worlds.

~ Kelly-Marie x

Photographs from the wedding of the incredibly talented Isobel Barber & her lovely husband James .













🌟Under The Mistletoe - Winter Solstice🌟

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In the shadows of winter, bare branches reveal baubles of mistletoe twinkling in the low winter sun. I see so many things in Mistletoe’s magic, but on the darkest night, branches & leaves come alive with shapes of swaying antlers, and berries become glistening sparkles of light.

Standing under the Mistletoe, I wonder if perhaps it is the Deer Mother I see in its reflection, ancient antlers returning the sun to us, carrying warmth, light & fertility across the Winter Solstice sky.

Mistletoe is a golden bough laden with the returning light. Reminding us that while our roots expand in the darkness, it is time to plant new seeds, dreams and kisses! So that our next phase can begin to grow.

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We hope that you are spending this special time, slowing down and enjoying this gift of hibernation, reflection, pondering & planning, seed & dream sowing, and don’t forget to plant a few kisses too!

As of today we are taking a work break, as we have been winding wreaths, upon wreaths, and it feels like our wheels have been stuck spinning on over drive for the past year! If we don’t slow them down now we will end up like that time our Land Rover wheels got stuck spinning in the mud!

We really hope that you all get a chance to do the same, especially in this busy season, when we are all ‘supposed’ to be ‘perfect’ Christmas creatures, with endless time & energy (and money), lost in a festive frenzy. The reason we all secretly just want to put on our pyjamas and hibernate, is because that is exactly what nature intend for us to do! Winter is a gift! Be gentle on yourselves, rest, and treat this time as the best Christmas present you could gift yourself.


Winter Solstice & Yule blessings to you all and wishing you a very Merry (and restful) Christmas!

Much love

Kelly-Marie & Andrew xx





💫MARGARET MERRIL💫

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I swore I would never have favourite flower kin (because they know) but Margaret makes that an impossible oath to keep.

Surviving a deer buffet with stoic grace, growing back in abundance, to stand centre stage & gift her sweet scent to all the brides, crowns and cakes she befriended this summer.

Her gossamer petals stretch out to reveal iridescent shades of pearl, icing sugar and fading twilight skies, ever changing like the light, and our moods.

She's the ethereal, fondant fairy flower, and the rose of my dreams, and she knows it!

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The Larch's Call

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A plant will call out to you when you need them most, a whistling through your senses that can not be ignored.

Their timing is always impeccable.

Swathes ablaze with copper glow and branches heavy with Autumn.

The Larch trees sang out to us, and tailed us to each and every corner of our trip to Wales, but truly I think it was us tailing them… Following them to a place of belonging. Following them home.

In essence the larch tree sings a song of unfolding, pulling us out of old ways of being, un ravelling the belief systems that have held us back, offering us perspective on old paradigms that have set us up to fail and fall short of our potential.

Larch gives us courage. Breathing self esteem back into our hearts, so that we can learn to grow, into all those shapes and sizes we dreamt of when we were stunted.

🌲Wreath Making Season🌲

Now that November is here we are busy gearing up for wreath making season! Our favourite time to be outside with the wild weather, winding and weaving the best the season has to offer into our festive wreaths. 

Scroll down to find out information on our up and coming wreath workshops, and how to pre order your Christmas wreath via our online shop. 

Wreath Making Workshops

Join us in December for a series of workshops where we will show you how to make your own wreath, using only environmentally friendly techniques, and foraged or British grown materials. 

Wreath Workshop Collage
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THE THIRSTY BIRD - WIMBORNE DORSET

Thirsty Bird

Monday 3rd December - 5.30pm
Sunday 16th December - 2.00pm 

Includes all materials & nibbles -
£40 per person 

To book - email enquiries@thethirstybird.co.uk

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CRANBORNE GARDEN CENTRE -

CRANBORNE, DORSET

Thursday December 6th

10am - 12.30pm - £50 per person
 
Includes all materials, coffee/ tea and homemade cake. 

To book - Call 01725 517248

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Throughout November we will be filling up our shop with both fresh (made to order) and dried (one of a kind) wreaths, that we can post straight to you in time for Christmas. 

We also have a huge selection of carefully curated vintage and antiques for all your Christmas present ideas.

Visit via the link below, we will be adding items daily from November 7th.

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We will also be taking  custom orders for wreaths, garlands & installations. If you have something special in mind please drop us an email. 

kintalaflowers@gmail.com


Looking forward to seeing you all then.

Kelly-Marie & Andrew xx

Owls, The Ancestors & The Otherworld

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Sometimes it’s easy to dwell on the darkness as we loose the light to the seasons, but as Samhain teaches us, just like seeds, all new beginnings start in the dark.

Happy Celtic New year!

A time to plant seeds of hope, dreams, ideas, magic and set plans in place, germinating away in the darkness when we are given permission to rest, reflect, be grateful for and say goodbye to the parts of ourselves that no longer fit. All so that we can grow and be reborn again in the spring.

Yesterday I found these long earred owl (I think!) feathers on my dog walk, it reminded me of that other important part of today’s celebration. To remember, reconnect with and honour our ancestors. The veil to the the Other world, the realm of the ancestors, and the unseen, parts of our lives, is thinning.

I believe that the otherworld communicates with us via symbols, numbers, prompts and clues. They send figurative bread crumbs for us to follow for guidance, wisdom and inner knowing.

My ancestors speak to me in so many ways, but when they really want to be noticed they send birds! Really big birds, the ones that are really hard to miss!

Buzzards & Owls are firm favourites, i’m not sure if this is their way of saying ‘pay better attention’, but it does always works.. I’ve followed ‘paths’ of owls, to each and every one of the life changing decisions I have made this year, and usually it is the Buzzards that lead me on to the Owls path… sometimes literally, like buzzard feather shaped arrows saying ‘right this way’.

The two are never very far from each other, but yesterday it was a swooping buzzard that prompted me to set eyes on the tree and the poor departed owl feathers hidden underneath.

When you look up Owl & Buzzard medicine you find that the owl represents the Moon and the dark, and the ‘hawks’ are the Sun their daytime counterparts. They represent each other in light & in dark.

For me an owls medicine is one of silent wisdom, understanding my sensitivity, hearing and acknowledging what is not being said, what is deliberately being hidden and trusting on what to do with that information.

The buzzard is one of ‘soaring above my perceived limitations’ getting a clear vision, preparing, and focusing on whats ahead, and gaining a higher perspective.

I giggled when I found the feathers, because I couldn’t think of two better representative for what I was trying to work out. It is always our job to decipher the guidance that is being given, but that is the point of the process, the lessons are there but the choices must come from us.

I don’t know about you, but I could never look into big beautiful, soulful owl eyes and ever think they were scary, just as I can’t view the dark as scary anymore.

Like the sun and the moon, never one without the other, but always balanced.

Two feathered representatives for navigating the dark, into the light, teaching us the ways of balance. A constant cycle of change and renewal of ourselves.

Happy Samhain, Halloween, Day Of The dead, however you choose to celebrate or not celebrate, I hope you find your own way of staying positive, happy, heathy and loved within these darker, colder months.

Kelly-Marie xx

Smoke Medicine - Pine

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One of my favourite ways to work with plants is through the use of smoke medicine. Whether this is in the form of a wand/stick or just dried herbs and flowers that work as incense, herbal smoke has been used for hundreds of years across the world for ritual, purification, cleansing, incense and fumigation and medicinal practice. 

For me it is such a special and personal way to connect with the plants because the smoke communicates directly to our subconscious, it is as an incredibly powerful healing practice and something that can be used safely and on a daily basis for ourselves, our homes and our animals. 

One of my favourite go to plants for smoke medicine is the Pine tree. We live really close to an area with lots of heath land where Pine grows in abundance. I love these trees so so much, for all of the gifts they give us, their cones, pollen and resin but their smoke is something I use on a daily basis.

Such a generous, beautiful tree. 

I'm a Clairsentient, Highly Sensitive Person and so the pine is one of my most valued plant allies. The smoke of the pine needles not only keeps us protected from negative influences, helping us maintain healthy boundaries, but also purifies us of any unwanted emotions, or energy that we may have soaked in from others and certain environments. 

As with all smoke medicine, the use of pine shifts our nervous systems into a state of relaxation. It enables us to think clearly again and physically cleanses us or any left over residue or 'baggage' that we may have not been able to 'shake off'. 

Pine Smoke Wand Esty

We use pine in 'wand'/ 'stick' form, also commonly known as 'Smudge Sticks' by First Nation American indigenous cultures, but as we are based in the UK ( from Celtic & Romany ancestry ) we prefer to to call them  'Smoke Wands' 'Flower Wands' or 'Smoke Medicine' sticks. 

The Pine wands that we make are ethically wild harvested by us here in Dorset, UK ....We spend lots of time on our daily dog walks foraging for fallen pine branches to use.  We also believe in the energetic properties of plants, so we bind them in our pine plant dyed twine. 

The healing properties of pine, as with any plant or flower is such a personal thing that can be found through spending time with and connecting with the plant, but there are always those things that are most commonly associated with them.

I have listed a few of them below, and because I love the astrological association with pretty much everything. Andrew and I both have a lot of Scorpio in our charts and so the pine plays an extra special part in our lives.  
 
• THE MAGIC OF PINE •

☾ Pine is grounding, cleansing, purifying and protective. It smells delicious and will help to cleanse your space of unwanted negative energy. 

☾Traditionally used in healing to deepen the breathing and clear phlegm. 

☾ Associated with Mars & Pluto, so a fantastic medicine for anyone with a lot of Aries & Scorpio in their chart, or if you are working with those signs in your rituals. 

☾ Increases sexual desire and helps to heal any sexual related problems. 

Our Pine smoke wands can be found in our Etsy shop here, or click the shop link at the top of our website to go straight there. 

Remember a Pine is for life (not just for Christmas). 

Kelly-Marie xx

Our Pine smoke wands can be found in our Etsy shop here, or click the shop link at the top of our website. 

Rewilding Our Home

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We only get one planet. Human kind must become accountable on a massive scale for the wanton destruction of our collective home. Protecting our future on this planet depends on the conscious evolution of our species.

This is the most urgent of times, and the most urgent of messages.
— Leonardo DiCaprio to the United Nations

Andrew and I have a dream that one day we will have enough money to become 'land stewards' or as I like to say 'Land Guardians' to buy an area of land and woodland that we can just sit on. To quite literally just keep it from harm. To let nature reclaim it under our loving protection. 

We also share a very genuine concern,  that when the time came, would there actually be any land left! This is the inheritance that our generation faces, the world as we know it will not be what our children see.. With the rapid rates of extinction in species and scientists warning that eco systems (that are critical to sustaining life on this Earth) could, very realistically collapse in our life time, what inheritance will we be leaving for them!? 

When I was little I couldn't watch the news, I had great difficulty feeling and separating myself from the pain of others. That is still so much true in all aspects of my life, I still can't watch the news without crying, and I still get lost in the overwhelm, heart ache and helplessness of the situations we face, but the difference is that now I understand that we are SUPPOSED to feel that pain. If we don't then the apathy and arrogance that has lead us all here, will continue to grow. Use what stirs within you to do all that you can to help. 

'REWILDING' that magic word coined by the wonderful Dave Foreman. A movement happening across the world, charities fighting furiously to restore balance, a genuine way for us all to make a difference. Movements like Rewilding give us all hope and an opportunity to make a change, however small. It is something that has been on my mind after visiting New Hampshire in the USA last summer, seeing their wilderness in comparison to our own landscape was a scary eye opener. It is a sad fact that we have very little true 'wild' left. 

Rewilding encourages a balance between people and the rest of nature where each can thrive. It provides opportunities for communities to diversify and create nature-based economies; for living systems to provide the ecological functions on which we all depend; and for people to re-connect with wild nature.
— Rewilding Britain
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As I sit here and type the Saddle Worth Moor fires continue to burn and the tragedy rages across our hearts.  Climate change is happening close to home, for us all now. 

Our first year of flower farming has been the ultimate advert for extreme weather and the impact it has on every day lives, and on the beings we love and cherish. We have battled snow, flooding and intense heatwaves, all in the space of 6 months! 

There is no room for dis proving anymore. It is happening. We should all be questioning the motives of those who still want us to believe that it is fabrication! 

If Rewilding was rolled out across the UK,  the tragedy of Saddle Worth Moor could have been prevented, and it is one of the best solutions to reduce emmisons caused by areas of peatland. 

I have written about Rewilding as a state of mind before, but there are so many ways that you can physically put it into practice in your life.

We have, in a way, re-wilded our flower farm. We rent 3/4 an acre but only farm a very small part of it. We were actually forced to do this by the very wet conditions of the soil, nature dictated to us what we were to do and we followed her lead.. So in. very small and unexpected way we have seen how it works first hand. 

The section that we grow flowers in is now surrounded by wild meadow. Our Eucalyptus trees are framed by tall grass, and giant thistles. We create safe sanctuary for buzzards, bats, voles, June beetles, crickets and pollinators as far as the eye can see. We have also worked out the deer that was once eating our roses ( fenced in now) still sleeps in the neighbouring wild part of the meadow. 

It is not as you would expect a flower farm to look, pretty rows of flowers as far as the eye can see, parts of it do look that way, but it is something far more rewarding and special. It is a balanced, respectful partnership with the habitat and wildlife living there. We help them and they help us. That is how it should be. 

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The key to it all, and what rewilding represents, is the need to step back and provide the protection needed to encourage healing. Yes, it is a controversial issue, especially in amongst the agricultural community, but as is anything that questions the current paradigm, questions society, forces us to change the way we live, and makes us take a hard look at how we are all part of the problem. 

 In the words of Albert Einstein....

The significant problems we face today cannot be solved at the same level of thinking we were at when we created them.
— Albert Einstein

If you would like to learn more about Rewilding visit the Rewilding Britain website and show them some support.

Learn ways to rewild your own lives here and here, and if you want to start making a difference in what ever small way, start by signing this very important petition

Sometimes the hardest thing is working out how WE can start making a difference, the problem seems overwhelming, but small things matter! I would love to hear how you are approaching environmental advocacy in your own lives? The smaller the better, it's the little everyday things that add up and create big big changes. 

Have you 'accidentally' started a wild meadow in you back garden through lack of mowing and kept it that way?  Are you a 'Poo BAG' fairy? Do you litter pick? Do you remove all unnecessary plastic packaging, (under the confused and watchful gaze of the checkout person) in the super market?* 

 Do you also cry at the news!?   

Drop me an email or comment on Instagram, and please keep in touch. 

Thank you for reading and so much love to you always. 

Kelly-Marie xx

* If they do not give you a plastic free option, then putting pressure on the supermarkets, making it known you do not approve and making it their problem (creating more work for them) is a good way to start. 

Wreath : MIDSUMMER WOODLAND, inspired by my child hood in The New Forest 

 

Plant Potions For Cleaning -Home Made Natural Cleaning

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Sparked off by an elaborate conversation with my Granny Sheila about the 'mystery rash' she keeps getting every time her cleaner comes to the house " I can only imagine, 'dear', that it's the dreadful cleaning spray" ... Pointing to the Detol! 

She has now hidden it from her cleaner, who is intent on finding it and using it regardless...Causing my Granny to become wheezy and irritable, which is either a result of the 'Dreadful Detol' or just sheer frustration caused by the hide and seek games she is playing with poor Julie the cleaner!

I have obviously tried to 'push' our home made natural cleaning products on my elderly Grandmother, which ordinarily never ever works but this time she actually listened!

 So I thought it might be nice to try and 'inspire' (push), the ancient and magical ways of bulk buying and vinegar on to some of you too. 

This year at Kintala HQ we have pledged, along with many others, to reduce the amount of waist we produce and to become as self sufficient as physically possible. We are far from perfect, and it's been a steep learning curve in slowing down, being commited and mindful about what we purchase, and learning to truly enjoy the process. 

We are biased (because we love making a potion or two) but the process is so much fun and really easy!

As I write this (synchronistically) the news on the radio is that 'household cleaning sprays', may be responsible for a 40% rise in asthma cases and can cause as much damage to your lungs as smoking 20 packets of cigarettes! 

Earlier on in the week it was announced that The Queen has decided that her household needs to considerable reduced the amount of plastic waste they're producing..

We don't need the Royal Family to tell us all about our plastic problems, but the 'safe' 'reliable' allure of chemical cleaners is another story for most people!  Just because you can buy it in the supermarket does not make it safe for you... It just makes them an awful a lot of money, produces an inconceivable amount of waist and silently puts your health at risk!

Don't be like Granny Sheila. If it's not in your house, you won't have to hide it! 

Again the answer to all of this lies in 're-learning' traditional ways and habits, turning to our plant and flower friends for their help and healing. 

We have shared below our favourite recipes for cleaning spray and laundry liquid, both of which we now swear by! We have cut down our plastic packaging consumption almost completely, it works wonders cleaning wise and we have saved so much money. 

Like I said we are not perfect, we have had to tweak things, find out what works best for us. The recipes below have been adapted from our favourite book (thank you Charles Dowding) to suit our lifestyle and needs and we hope you will do the same. 

We would love to hear how you get on, if you have tips of your own (hiding 'evil' chemical cleaners included)  or any questions then please get in touch. We would really love to hear from you! 

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Herbal Cleaning Vinegars

Vinegar kills germs, bacteria and mold. It is a wonderful cleaner, and just as powerful as anything you can buy off the shelf. . If you team it up with anti-bacterial herbs, then you have all the cleaning liquid you need. You can use it for your kitchen, toilet, dishwasher, laundry, unblocking drains, lime scale removal, removing smells, the list goes on and on. 



 

CITRUS CLEANER

 (Best for Laundry!)

Cirus contains 'd-limonene' which breaks down oil and we have found that this is the herbal vinegar that works best for our laundry. We also soak our whites in it to remove stains.  This is another great one for a general cleaning spray. 

We try to re-use citrus skin as much possible. All citrus fruit in the UK is imported from abroad, so the more you can re use the better!


YOU WILL NEED

Citrus Peelings (Orange, Lemons & Limes)

White/ Cider Vinegar

A Glass Jar

TO MAKE

Fill your jar with citrus peelings/ halves, we are not fussy about this, we keep adding as we go along.

Pour over the vinegar so that it covers your peelings. 

Keep somewhere dark for two weeks, giving it a shake daily. 

Once the two weeks is up you can either strain your vinegar and re bottle, or like us, you'll end up using it all before that happens. So just go ahead and make some more.



ANTIBACTERIAL HERBAL VINEGAR

 

Some well loved Anti-Bac & Potent cleaning herbs

Yarrow | Rosemary | Eucalyptus | Lavender | Pine | Sage | Mint | Lemon Balm | Thyme

If you don't have access to any herbs/ plants then have a go at the citrus recipie above. 


YOU WILL NEED

Herbs/Flowers Of Your choice 

A Glass Jar With A Lid 

Cider/ White Vinegar

TO MAKE

Fill the jar with your herbs 

{Using Fresh herbs : Fill the jar

{Using Dried Herbs: Half Fill The Jar

Pour in the vinegar to cover the herbs, leaving a little space at the top. 

Close the lid and shake 

Keep the jar in a dark place and shake daily for two weeks

After two weeks strain the vinegar into a glass bottle to store, or straight into your spray bottle for use. 

Make sure you lable your vinegar as some plants (such a eucalyptus) shouldn't be digested. 

 


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LAVENDER LAUNDRY LIQUID

Once you have made your liquid (recipe below), you will need to combine it with a herbal vinegar (we think the citrus one works best) and a pinch of Bicarbonate Of Soda. 

Don't be alarmed the laundry liquid is supposed to look like a jelly/ blancmange hybrid! You will need a container to spoon it into, placing it directly in with your clothes in the washing machine drum.  

We have recycled a tiny plastic lunch box base that we use and that works well for us. It amounts  to about a 'cup'. 

The citrus vinegar goes into the softener drawer (again about a cup) along with a pinch of Bicarbonate Of Soda (it will fizz), before turning the washing machine on. 


WHAT YOU WILL NEED

2 Litres of water 

1/2 cup of DRIED lavender flowers/ DRIED herbs/ flowers

{ or 1 cup of FRESH herbs/flowers

1/2 bar of unscented soap

1/4 cup of washing soda (we found this in our local pound shop or you can buy it online)

A large pan (with a lid) & large jar/ storage tub

 

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TO MAKE

Pour 2 Litres of water into your large pan and add your herbs

Bring to the boil and simmer for 5 mins

Then remove from the heat, put the lid on the pan and leave it to infuse for 30 mins

After 30 mins strain and compost your herbs/flowers

Pour the liquid back into your pan

Grate 1/2 the bar of your soap

Bring the water back to boil

Stir in the grated soap until it's all melted

Remove from the heat

Pour in your washing soda and stir until it's dissolved

Leave to cool

Once it's ready it will be a hard jelly like consistancy that can be spooned into your glass jar/container and is ready to store/ use. 

 

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You Can Learn A Lot Of Things From The Fowers

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"You can learn a lot of things from the flowers", ( All In A Golden Afternoon) that captivating scene from Disney's Alice In Wonderland, that enchanted my six year old self so much, that it's lead (my now 32 year old) self up a very steep spiral path of wonder, magic and belonging. 

I thought that with all our talk of 'thoughtful' floral design that it was about time we explained what that actually means to us. How our approach in deciding to live a life dedicated to plants is so much more than working towards creating beautiful wedding flowers.

That is one side shoot, one steeped in love and creative excitement, but one that we hope will eventually evolve into a medium to give the plants their voice back!

In our combined recent journeys of growing plants and designing with them, we have learnt EVERYTHING from the flowers. . 

Plants are our medicine, our food, our art, our shelter and above all our greatest teachers! 

 They use their beauty not only to attract pollinators, but to also attract US to them, so that we can learn from them. To learn to carefully listen to their messages. 

Enjoy the gifts nature keeps giving us, (with respect), and listen to what she has to say! 

Plants wake us up to their medicine, so that we can become the medicine ourselves, to help people, to help themselves.
— Sophie Rose - Laabejaherbs

 

We are living in precarious times, we all feel it now, with real urgency!... The terrifying realisation that we ARE IN the age of the Anthropocene

We can't undo the damage that has been done, but what we can do is to fiercely protect what is left! 

Heal those wounds, starting with ourselves! 

Just as importantly we need to protect the ways of life that we NEED to make that change, traditions, knowledge, craft and wisdom, that are fading, becoming extinct! Ways of life that we must keep alive in order to protect our children and future generations to come.  

Plant medicine, craft and lore is our birthright, for our ancestors it was second nature, for us all now, it is about remembering!

Remembering that everything we need is all ready here, growing at our feet. 

As we all start to Learn A Lot Of Things From The Flowers! We thought we would start to share our own journey and processes with you. Sharing a little bit more about what we mean by 'flower lore'. 


Below I have taken you through my 'thoughtful' process of deciding on the ingredients for a crown I made for a recent event held, at Deans Court.

The plants featured also have medicinal and energetic healing properties in various forms, but that is for another day and many other posts. 

You may think 'whats the point', no one at the event knew why I had decided upon those plants (and if you did I really really want to meet you!!), but that is exactly it, there does not need to be a point! There was a time when everyone knew the universal language of flowers, their symbolism and meaning, was an unspoken understanding that communicated to the heart. 

The crown is not just an accessory for an event, it's a medicine cabinet, a teacher, a friend and a counceling session all rolled in to one. You just have to 'remember' to observe and listen deeply. 

Until next time much love, 

Kelly-Marie xx


THE WASSAIL CROWN

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In January I was invited by Deans Court to take part as one of the 'Maiden Queens' in their annual Wassail event. An ancient blessing ritual dedicated to aiding the fruit trees in a bountiful harvest for the following year. 

A lot of the ceremony is centred around 'banishing evil' from the trees and protecting them. This year I loved the more literal, enviromental commentary from the Druids about our need to protect our environment and 'banish' the evil that lies within our current paradigm. 

My role as 'Maiden Queen' in the Wassail ceremony, is to bless the trees with fertlity so that they have a fertile, fruitful crop for the folowing year. I have to physically get up into the tree! Which is a difficult task in a velvet cape, clutching a flaming torch, but needs must, we do what we can for the trees!

My crown, I decided had to be a seasonal medly of protective, banishment and fertility elements. 

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BIRCH - For The Base 

'The White Lady Of The Woods

Choosen for her association with' renewal' warding off 'evil spirits' and shedding unhelpful and negative influences in our lives. So much of the Wassail ceremony is about 'banishing' negativity from the trees and aiding a positive year to come, the Birch works so well for this!

  • The celts used the twigs for drawing out spirits of the old year
  • Used most famously for Besom brooms, so that people can 'brush away' any negativity from their lives
  • Very much associated with 'fresh starts', the tree itself sheds it's bark, symbolising renewal, and the release of old patterns. 

LUNERIA - (Honesty)- Fertility & The Moon

Choosen for her association with the Moon, I choose the dried seed pods to become a literal representation of the fertility and feminine energy of the moon. As we were in the depths of Winter when I made the crown, there wasn't much to forage that was 'fertile' so I thought dried seed pods, would be the perfect option.

  • Lunaria, is also known for her ability to ward off 'evil', and as we were banishing the 'evil spirits' from the trees I thought she could lend us a helping hand. 

ACORNS - Fertility, Strength & Courage

This is not the season of the Oak King, if any of you have ever heard the folk lore tale about the battle of the 'Oak and Holly King', you will know that it's not yet his time of year, but it will be very soon! I could not include the Holly King with out a glimpse of the Oak's return too. 

Our Instagram followers will know my love for the acorn and it's association with strength and courage, and as with any seed an Acorn is another perfect addition for fertility too. 

HOLLY- Protection, Restorative

As it is the time of the Holly king, Holly is a traditional plant worn at a Wassail. I believe most likely for it's protective qualities. 

  • It's also very strongly associated with 'protecting us from ourselves', which I think fits so well with what the Druids had to say about our current environmental situation. 
  • The Holly has restorative properties, so aids healing. Perfect for the Wassail in aiding any healing needed after the negative energy had been removed. 
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Re-Wilding

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Wreath making has become such a special creative out let for me. 

As with all the seasons, i'll be outside (at any given opportunity) foraging the landscape, and I feel so lucky that I get to combine that love of nature, and being outside with my work. it is the main reason I got into floral design and herbal healing. To reconnect with the plants, the animals,the seasons, 'myself,' always searching for ways to create with natures gifts, to get to know them better.

To 're-wild'. 

Winter wreath making time takes it one step further.

As you will have probably guessed by now , Andrew and I love working with the seasons...the turning wheel of the year... the wreath is such a beautiful symbol for this.

It forces you to look that little bit harder, to pay closer attention. To keep your eyes wide open to all possibilities. For me it's one of the most special mediums for floral design because you can create a masterpiece completely from nature. You are gifted with all you need. No metal grids or containers necessary, no need to even go back inside! 

Making a wreath forces you to keep your eyes wide open. It wakes you up.! Everything becomes a possibility...

 Turning what is usually considered a 'dead' 'dormant' 'dark' time of year into endless possibilties for creation. Bringing the dead back to life. Literally. 

Everthing in nature suddenly becomes a potential, a glittering decoration. A gift for us to learn and remember.

This year all of my wreaths are spinning around and around to this magical and profound poem by Tom Hirons. 

I can't get it out of my head and I hope you will read to the end. I also hope it will inspire you to get yourself outside, run around, open your eyes, get muddy! Wreath in one hand and your wild god holding the other. 

Much love and happy wreath making.

- Kelly-Marie xx

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Sometimes A Wild God

Sometimes a wild god comes to the table. 

He is awkward and does not know the ways

Of Porcelain, of fork and mustard and silver. 

His voice makes vinegar from wine. 

When the wild god arrives at the door, 

You will probably fear him. 

He reminds you of something dark

That you might have dreamt, 

Or the secret you do not wish to be shared. 

He will not ring the doorbell; 

Instead he scrapes with his fingers

Leaving blood on the paintwork, 

Though primroses grow

In circles around his feet. 

You do not want to let him in. 

You are very busy. 

It is late, or early, and besides...

You cannot look at him straight

Because he makes you want to cry.

The dog barks.

The wild god smiles, 

Holds out his hand. 

The dog licks his wounds

And leads him inside. 

The wild god stands in your kitchen. 

Ivy is taking over your sideboard;

Mistletoe has moved into the lampshades

And wrens have begun to sing

An old song in the mouth of your kettle. 

'I haven't much,' you say

And give him the worst of your food. 

He sits at the table bleeding. 

He coughs up foxes. 

There are otters in his eyes. 

When your wife calls downs, 

You close the door and

Tell her it's fine. 

You will not let her see

The strange guest at your table. 

The wild god asks for whiskey

And you pour a glass for him, 

Then a glass for yourself. 

Three snakes are beginning to nest

In your voice box. You cough. 

Oh, limitless space. 

Oh, eternal mystery

Oh, endless cycle of death and birth. 

Oh, miracle of life. 

Oh, the wondrous dance of it all. 

You cough again, 

Expectorate the snakes and

Water down the whiskey, 

Wondering how you got so old

And where your passion went. 

The wild god reaches into his bag

Made of moles and nightingale-skin. 

He pulls out a two-reeded pipe, 

Raises an eyebrow

And all the birds begin to sing. 

The fox leaps into your eyes. 

Otters rush from the darkness. 

The snakes pour through your body. 

Your dog howls and upstairs

Your wife both exults and weeps at once. 

The wild god dances with your dog. 

You dance wth the sparrows. 

A white stag pulls up a stool

And bellows hymns to enchantments. 

A pelican leaps from chair to chair. 

In the distance warriors pour from their tombs. 

Ancient gold grows like grass in fields. 

Everyone dreams the words to long-forgotten songs. 

The hills echo and the grey stones ring

With laughter and madness and pain. 

In the middle of the dance, 

The house takes off from the ground. 

Clouds climb through the windows;

Lightning pounds its fists on the table. 

The moon leans in through the window. 

The wild god points to your side. 

You are bleeding heavily. 

You have been bleeding for a long time, 

Possibly since you were born. 

There is a bear in your wound. 

'Why did you leave me to die?'

Asks the wild god and you say: 

'I was busy surviving.

The shops were all closed;

I didn't know how. 

I'm sorry.'

Listen to them:

The fox in your neck and

The snakes in your arms and

The wren and the sparrow and the deer....

The great un-nameable beasts

In your liver and your kidneys

and your heart...

There is  a symphony of howling.

A cacophony of dissent. 

The wild god nods his head and

You wake on the floor holding a knife, 

A bottle and a handful of black fur. 

The dog is asleep on the table. 

Your wife is stirring, far above. 

Your cheeks are wet with tears;

Your mouth aches from laughter or shouting. 

A black bear is sitting by the fire. 

Sometimes a wild god comes to the table. 

he is awkward and does not know the ways

Of porcelain, or fork and mustard and silver. 

His voice makes vinegar from wine

And brings the dead to life. 

A poem by the wonderful TOM HIRONS