After working 9am-10pm for many nights leading up to the EcoFarm Conference and 7:30am-2am for the 4 days during it, I should take a moment to rest on my laurels. 1500 folks from the food and farming community gathered and the event was quite a success, in my estimation. This would be a nice time to rest on my laurels, don’t you think? I haven’t taken that opportunity in part because there really is so much wrap-up to be done, but also because it’s not really my style to rely on my past successes for my merit. It seems too cocky.
Still, I think the title phrase of this post is appropriate for my chosen craft this evening. I made a laurel wreath!
I was inspired to make this wreath by an old Whole Living magazine page which had this gorgeous herb wreath featured. Wreaths seem so peaceful. They seem to mark a balanced and blossoming home. I have been feeling the need to bring that balance into my life and home, so it was about time that I tried my hand at making one, myself.
This first attempt churned out a rather puny (but in my mind a sweetly charming) wreath.
I gathered the fragrant laurel leaves from one of the many Bay Laurel trees (Laurus nobilis) on the property where I live. Then I walked around, searching for my next “ingredient.” The pineapple sage (Salvia elegans) has been in bloom—this wild fuschia color juxtaposed with a deep brown-purple has been catching my eye. There is a big sage bush right by my garlic and onion patch, so that was the next ingredient. On the way back to my door there is an olive tree (Olea europaea) on the left. I love the delicate silver-green leaves and its willowy appearance. The foraging list for my wreath was complete.
The last olive tree that was significant to me was in McHenry County, IL. My grandparents have land there, and on a hike with a mentor of mine, we discovered an olive tree. This was the first one I had seen since Italy in 2007. Here is a photo I took of that tree:
There is also a deep mythological connection to the laurel tree. Daphne, who was Apollo’s first love, was turned into a laurel tree. Perhaps the most famous likeness of this story resides in the Borghese in Rome. It is a dynamic sculpted piece by Bernini. The Baroque statue depicts Apollo has is about to reach Daphne. His hair is windswept, a cloth swirls dramatically around his left arm, and his left foot is picked up in a gestured stride, leaving rocks kicked up in his wake . . . but Daphne’s fingers are already bursting into leaves. Here is a little art history lesson and visual on this gorgeous work: