Roses: Mazus reptan, Creeping Mazus

Baltimore Sun Piece “Plant of the Week” for Sunday July 8th:

Mazus reptans

Mazus reptans is a low growing ground cover only 1 to 3 inches high, suitable for filling small areas, such as between stepping stones or in rock gardens. Its bright green foliage persists into the fall, staying semi-evergreen in the winter. An added bonus is its purplish-blue or white flowers appearing in June and July. Mazus grows in full sun to partial shade and prefers moist conditions. Being an herbaceous perennial, it can spread fast by its creeping stems which root at the nodes forming a thick mat. Mazus will take some foot traffic, has no disease or insect problems, and is deer resistant. –Bob Orazi

I’ve also seen that it does have problems with snails and slugs, so be on the watch for that. Also, the hardiness zones are 5, 6, 7, and 8.

As for magickal or mystickal properties, I didn’t find any, but since it’s a fast grower, I would say it would make a good flower to use for fertility rituals and in fertility spells. Fertility as in also meaning creativity as well as other definitions of fertility. Since the greens of Mazus are evergreens, I would say it would work in rituals and spells for longevity, endurance, and health. It being a groundcover, you could also use it for workings involving the search for something because it could be used as a way to mark the path to whatever you want to find, symbolically speaking (simply speaking it can be used in a spell to ask the gods to give you a sign or lead you on the right direction as if following a path of mazus to what you’re looking for/what you need).

As for medicinal uses, I didn’t find any on Mazus reptans but did find some for Mazus pumilus, other wise known as Mazus japonicus or Japanese Mazus.

Uses: Aperient (a mild laxative), Emmenagogue (Promotes or increases the menstrual flow. In early stages of pregnancy it can induce an abortion), Febrifuge (reduces fever), and as a tonic (Improves general health. Slower acting than a stimulant, it brings steady improvement).

It is hardy to zone 0. It is in flower from May to October, and the seeds ripen from May to October. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.

The plant prefers light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and requires well-drained soil. The plant prefers acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It requires moist soil.

“Mazus pumilus – (N. L. Burman) Steenis (author)

Botanical references: 58, 266

Family: Scrophulariaceae

Known Hazards: None Known

Range: East Asia – Himalayas from Kashmir to China, Japan, Korea and Eastern Russia

Habitat: Wet Grassland, along streams, trailsides, waste fields, wet places and the edges of forests, grasslands on mountain slopes at elevations of 1200 – 3800 mets in China

Physical Characteristics: It is hardy to zone 0. It is in flower from May to October, and the seeds ripen from May to October. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.

The plant prefers light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and requires well-drained soil. The plant prefers acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It requires moist soil.

Habitats: Cultivated Beds

Edible Parts: Leaves. Young leaves – cooked.”*

Picture #3: http://www.tumblr.com/tagged/mazus-pumilus

Picture #2 Source: http://gardeningontherocks.com/welcome/dsc_0185/

Picture #1 Source: http://gardening.about.com/od/gardendesign/ig/Plants-to-Walk-On/Mazus-reptans–Purple-.–k3.htm

Baltimore Sun piece source: http://www.baltimoresun.com/features/home-garden/bs-hm-extension-0708-20120703,0,3714788.story

Information Source for Mazus pumilus/japonicus (*): http://server9.web-mania.com/users/pfafardea/database/plants.php?Mazus+pumilus

Roses: Lavender

Lavender, Lavandula species, (also known as Elf Leaf, Nard, Nardus, and Spike) is a well known herb and I just felt like refreshing some people’s memories and learn a bit myself.

Magickal Properties (alphabetical order): Cleansing, Exorcism, Happiness, Harmony, Healing, Love, Peace, and Purification. (According to Celtic Magic by D.J. Conway)

Magickal Uses: I will not write about the love spell uses because I believe them to test the boundaries (strongly and even break them in some cases) of manipulating another’s free will.

Lavender can be used in many ways, including in protection amulets against your spouse, in purification through smudging and baths and in purification rituals, in healing rituals and amulets and sachets, to promote peace and love and joy in, to induce sleep whether in  tea or incense or sachets, as an aphrodisiac for men, alleviate stress, bless ones home, and as a mood lifter (even said to lift depression though I have no testimonial myself).

Medicinal and other Benefits: “LAVENDER TEA ON ICEThe beneficial constituents of lavender include flavonoids, tannins, courmarines, and essential oil containing camphor, geraniol and linalool.

You can get fresh lavender from your local health food store like Whole Foods and even better can order tea from: http://www.harney.com/Details.cfm?ProdID=3962&category=38&secondary

Let the tea steep for about 7 to 10 minutes. Then strain, try adding a sweeter, lemon then pour over ice and just enjoy!

Tips!
Lavender tea may help ease insomnia.

Lavender tea may help calm nervousness and anxiety. It may also be used to alleviate stress and uplift flagging spirits.

Lavender tea may help treat an upset stomach, as well as flatulence and colic. It may also be used to treat stomach and bowel infections.

Lavender tea may help alleviate depressive and migraine headaches.

Lavender tea, when applied topically, may help alleviate colds, cough, asthma, bronchitis and similar problems in the respiratory system.

Lavender tea may help induce sweating and consequently reduce the body temperature during fever.” *

Gardening Notes: “It’s low maintenance and drought-tolerant, once established. It attracts bees and butterflies but is deer- and rabbit-resistant. It can be used in cosmetics, medicine, and cuisine. … Enjoy the fragrance of lavender year-round by drying this beloved herb. To preserve, hang small bunches upside down in a dark, dry room until the moisture has evaporated. … It thrives in hot, sunny locations with well-drained, alkaline soil.” To extend the season, combine several varieties. Hardy Lavandula angustifolia, or English lavender, blooms early and is adaptable to cooler, more humid areas. Hybrid varieties, such as ‘England’ and ‘Silver Frost’, enjoy a longer blooming season, as do Intermedia French hybrids, including L. x intermedia’Grosso’ and ‘Provence’, which also flower late and are especially treasured for their perfume. … Lavender needs well-drained soil to flourish. If your soil is heavy, amend it by adding one part sand and gravel to one part native soil, and plant in berms to further help with drainage. … When cutting lavender, clip where the foliage begins. In mid-spring, prune winter damage and cut back about a third of it to keep it from getting leggy. … Lavender does well in pots. Choose a well-draining potting soil recommended for containers. Fertilize organically every other week.

“The ideal time to harvest lavender is when one-third to one-half of the spike is in bloom.” —David Salman (http://www.highcountrygardens.com/)

COMPANION PLANTS

When planning what to grow with lavender, David recommends choosing plants with similar growing requirements. Some of his favorites include: Gaura: Pink and white cultivars of Gaura lindheimeri have wispy flowers that bloom throughout the summer. Penstemon: There are close to 300 species of penstemons. Choose some of the many colors available. ” **

Picture #1 Source and Source for Gardening Notes (**) : http://www.countryliving.com/outdoor/gardening/lavender-0908#slide-1

Picture #2 and Source for Medicinal and Other Benefits (*): http://www.facebook.com/pages/natural-living-forum/65950834522

For more Gardening Information: http://gardening.about.com/od/perennials/a/Lavender.htm

For more information in general on Lavender: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lavandula

Rocks: Onyx (Black)

Onyx is a member of the Chalcedony family which also includes carnelian, agate, bloodstone, adventurine, etc. The Chalcedony family “ is a cryptocrystalline form of silica, composed of very fine intergrowths of the minerals quartz and moganite.“* Onyx comes in a variety of colors but black onyx is what most people think of when they think/see/hear the word onyx.

Onyx is used like many other stones for mundane purposes including for countertops and whatnot. Magickally though, it is used for many purposes with a rich history. Onyx is a common find in jewelry for purely aesthetic and magickal reasons.

Greek mythology says onyx was once the fingernails of Venus but Cupid cut off her fingernails and scattered them on the Earth which the Fates turned into onyx so that no heavenly body part would ever perish. Weird, I know.

Corresponces: Linked to Celtic Great Mother Goddesses and Dieties of the Underworld as well as to the sabbat of Imbolc.

Mystical Properties: “Onyx is thought to increase regeneration, happiness, intuition and one’s instincts. It is also told to decrease sexual desire, and to aid in changing bad habits.”** Also said to deflect negative energy and aid in self control.

Healing Properties: “It is known to be particularly helpful with skin ailments, healing infected wounds as well as fungal infections, inflammation and even sunburn.“**

Magickal Uses: In amulets or talismans to combat negative energies or for any of the reasons as listed in mystical properties above or in rituals for the sabbats and dieties they correspond to.

Picture Source: (1) from me!, (2) http://www.thecrystalfox.com/index.php?route=product/product&keyword=onyx&category_id=54&product_id=1681. Both pictures are of Crystal Fox products though. It’s where I bought my hunk of onyx.

Wikipedia page for Chalcedony (*): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chalcedony

** Link: http://shimmerlings.com/gemstones/onyx.htm

Other Correspondences to Celtic Great Mother Goddesses and Dieties of the Underworld (as well as other groups of Celtic dieties and their correspondences): http://www.oocities.org/athens/olympus/6581/correspondences9.html

Other Correspondences to Imbolc: http://www.workingwitch.com/yearwheel/imbolc.html

For more information on Onyx (listed my favorite sources):

  1. http://books.google.com/books?id=8KQQTcjkVgoC&pg=PT115&lpg=PT115&dq=onyx+dj+conway&source=bl&ots=9yedK_gwtl&sig=32rfaFwaMLVdgpfYqBoV1IdEcZw&hl=en&sa=X&ei=JDriT6_3Kqn86gHv-b0K&ved=0CEIQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q&f=false
  2. http://www.bardwood.com/stones.htm
  3. http://wicca.com/celtic/stones/stonek-o.htm
  4. (mundane) http://www.mineralszone.com/stones/onyx.html