Friday, January 15, 2010

"Thyme for Herbs" is now available!

"Thyme for Herbs" is now available online at the e-store site (accessible through the link on the left hand side of this page) and will be available on Amazon soon!

Thursday, December 31, 2009

The proofs are in!

The proofs are in and the book looks great! Check back as the book becomes available in the coming weeks (as we iron out the final details).

Thanks to everyone for reading!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Faeries In Your Garden

(The following is from the forthcoming collection "Thyme for Herbs" by Corinne Hemstreet)

“Faeries in your Garden”

This was the weekend for the Faerie Festival at The Village Herb Shop in Chagrin Falls, Ohio. Although I was sad to miss it - the cup of Fairy Thyme Tea which follows, the Fairy Dust to take home and sprinkle over my Fairy Garden - I’ll make do with my own Fairy Festival here, with plants loved by the Fairies. A Faerie Festival is a celebration of the leafing and flowering of the garden.

Fairy Thyme Tea can be made with black tea, sprigs of thyme, and a piece or two of mint leaves. Fairy Dust can be made with any and all dried petals and leaves of flowers and herbs, but it can also be made with special ones, chosen for their meanings: rose petals for beauty, thyme for activity, rosemary for loyalty, lemon verbena for enchantment, lavender for luck, coriander for closeness, and globe amaranth for immortality. Mix well with a small amount of gold glitter and its ready to work it’s magic.

There are three times, legends tell us, when humans are most likely to see the Faeries: May Eve, Midsummer Night’s Eve and All Hallow’s Eve. To see the Faeries, it is recommended that one find an elm tree and hide close to its trunk. Faeries won’t come around if they see you: Faeries are very private people. But the best way to see a Faerie is to build a Fairy Garden; a Fairy Garden can be in a big wide plant pot, a grassy knoll, roots of trees, or a mossy spot in the garden or woods (for Faeries love moss). Build one, and you may be rewarded by fairy visits. But take note: if you do happen to see a Fairy, you must not stare. Look quickly away and leave as quietly as you can. This is fairy etiquette. (Faeries, by the by, do not like to be called ‘fairies’ but prefer ‘the gentry’ or ‘the little folk’.)

Here are a few of my favorite herbs and flowers for a Fairy garden:

Thyme (Thymus vulgaris) is the Fairies favorite. They love the color, especially ‘mother-of-thyme,’ fragrance and habit of growth. It is used as a resting place, for dancing, and as a soft, green bed for Fairy babies.

Ferns planted near or in the fairy garden provide the privacy the Faeries like.

Heartsease (johnny- jump- up or Cupid’s flower, the original pansy), can be important in a fairy garden. In Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” Cupid’s flower was used by the Fairies as a magic love potion.

Foxgloves (Digitalis purpurea) is always associated with Fairies.

Tulips are used as Fairy cradles.

Narcissus is the flower of the water Fairies in China.

Blue flax (Linum perrene ), which Fairies use to spin and weave their own fine linens.

Monkshood (aconite or wolfbane) is a poisonous plant whose helmet-like flowers are used as fairy helmets worn by fairy guards and knights.

Mallows and Hollyhocks whose round seed cases are called “fairy cheeses”.

Rosemary (rosmaranius) under which the Scilian Fairies are known to make their homes.

St. Johnswort (hypericum), it is said, turns at dusk into a dainty horse which may be ridden in a Fairy parade.

Cowslips (primula veris) are favorites of the Fairies and the lovely yellow primroses of April and May may be golden fairy cups.

Lily-of-the-valley (Convallaria majalis) provides the sweetly scented bell ringing when Fairies sing.

Midsummer Night’s Eve, which falls between June 21st and 24th is, according to Shakespeare, a night of high fairy mischief and magic. People living in Shakespeare’s time protected their property from celebrating Fairies racing through by decorating doors and gateways with fennel and mugwort, herbs powerful enough to keep the Fairies at bay. At midnight, it’s said, the Fairy king and his court parade through the countryside on their dainty horses. A human should stand near the protective trunk of an elder tree to watch.

Did you see them? Even though you didn’t (Fairies are awfully shy, after all), with your own fairy garden you can be sure that Faeries are resting nearby.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009


The following in an excerpt from the forthcoming collection, "Thyme For Herbs" by Corinne Hemstreet.


Thanks to 21st century research sage (Salvia officinalis) is now being touted as a powerful remedy for Alzheimer’s, depression, and a wide range of other complaints. Although this has been proclaimed for centuries by folklorists and herbalists, as well as medical persons of the time, and country folk who recognized the value of their herbs, it left scientists cold until recent research.

In his1597 Herbal John Gerard, the famous English apothecary, wrote of sage “It quickeneth the senses and memory.” The early Romans valued sage highly as suggested by its Roman name Salvia salvatrix meaning “Sage the Savior.” A popular medieval text Regimen Sanitatis asked the question, “How shall a man die who has Sage in his garden?” But it was not until the 21st century research found within sage the same oils and components as used in modern medicine for these diseases that sage’s properties received full acclaim. More and more modern research seems to agree with the old English proverb, “He that would live for aye, should eat sage in May.” For centuries it has been recommended that sage be taken daily to delay the rapid progress of decay that treads upon our heels in the latter years of life.

Sage is an aromatic shrubby plant with pebbly opposite leaves 1 ½ inches to 2 inches long, oblong shaped, with a soft greyish-green (our sage- green) color. Its purple flowers appear in whorls during August. Occasionally the plant is started from seeds but it is best propagated from cuttings taken in early spring . The leaves of the plant are the most flavorful and generally the part used, although all parts of the plant are usable.

Mabel Grieves in A Modern Herbal gives this old-fashioned recipe for sage tea - “a pleasant drink, cooling in fevers.” Infuse ½ oz sage leaves, 1 oz sugar, juice of 1 lemon or 1/4 oz grated rind, in a quart boiling water. Strain off after half an hour.

A Gargle for Sore Throat: Pour 8 oz boiling water over a teaspoon of dried sage or 4 fresh leaves. Cover and steep for 15 minutes. Gargle 3-6 times a day for throat infections and laryngitis.

Dr. Henri Leclerc, a French physician from the early part of the 20th century, recommended regular doses of sage wine for those suffering from “nervous exhaustion due to physical or mental overwork, or stress.” Sage wine, suggested by Dr. Leclerc, is made by adding 80 g of fresh sage leaves to 1 litre of a light sweet wine. Seal and leave to macerate for eight days. Then strain and drink a small glassful 1-3 tablespoons twice a day after meals. Then say good-bye to winter - and rainy spring - blues.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Please check back is the launch site for Thyme For Herbs, the book of collected articles written by Corinne Hemstreet and originally published in The Thousand Islands Sun. Please check back as the project nears completion and Corinne's book becomes available. is also the place to find excerpts from the book published online.

Please check back!