For 63 years - Dedicated to Protecting, Preserving and Promoting
The interests of The Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden and Bird Sanctuary
The Common St. Johnswort is a low growing introduced plant, well known in herbal medicine circles as an antidote for melancholia and other maladies. Less well known is the presence of the chemical 'hypericin' which is a photo sensitizing agent that reacts with light to cause skin burns on light-skinned people. This same chemical is toxic to cattle and when the plant invaded the grasslands of the west it replaced many native edible plants. St. Johnswort takes its name from the feast day of St. John on June 24, on which day it was the old belief in England that it began to bloom. During medieval times it was hung in houses to ward off evil spirits, especially on days of old festivals such as Walpurgisnacht.
"I do not think much of strawberries in gardens, nor in market baskets, nor in quart boxes, raised and sold by your excellent hard-fisted neighbor. It is those little natural beds or patches of them on the dry hillsides that interest me most, though I may get but a handful at first, where, however, the fruit sometimes reddens the ground and the otherwise barren soil is all beaded with them - not weeded or watered or manured by a hired gardener." Henry Thoreau from Wild Fruits
Is this a time to be cloudy and sad,
When our mother Nature laughs around;
When even the deep blue heavens look glad,
And gladness breathes from the blossoming ground?
There's a dance of leaves in that aspen bower,
There's a titter of winds in that beechen tree,
There's a smile on the fruit, and a smile on the flower,
And a laugh from the brook that runs to the sea.
And look at the broad-faced sun, how he smiles
On the dewy earth that smiles in his ray,
On the leaping waters and gay young isles;
Ay, look, and he'll smile thy gloom away.