Romeo and Juliet, true love?
Are Romeo and Juliet really the most romantic of all lovers? Or is their love more folly, infatuation and teenage angst?
St John's Wort (Hypericum perforatum)
A yellow flowered plant, allegedly introduced to this country by the Romans. Invasive, it is likely to colonise any spare ground in Bayleaf garden if left to its own devices. The plant gets its common name from the belief that the flowers were best harvested on St John's Day, June 24th. And the reason for harvesting the flowers? They were used medicinally, both internally and externally. Internally, the plant was used to treat depression, by being made into a herbal infusion or, ideally if you could afford it, by steeping in wine - NEVER take internally today unless medically supervised. Externally, St John's Wort was used to make an oil or ointment to be applied to problem skin - the flowers leach a dramatic red colouring into the oil. The leaves and flowers also make a natural dye, producing shades of yellow, yellowy green and pink, depending on the mordant used. It is supposed to be possible to get a true red, but I have never been able to achieve this - please let me know the secret if you have.