Years ago I got a St. John’s wort plant, just cos it was something else interesting to have growing. It took a long time to spread out, but it covers a 2′ area now.
It’s a plant that used for depression today, but also has anti-inflammatory uses that were known in the middle ages. Years ago when I was in a middle ages reenactment group, I used to make an actual medieval pain treatment called bruise juice. St. John’s wort flowers were in it, dried, and they were a dull shade of yellow when dried. White oak powder, also used to relieve pain, was also in it, and other things, but it’s a secret recipe. (That reenactment group has resources that give old recipes for herbal medicines as well as historically accurate food.) Bruise juice had to ferment in a dark place for about 6 weeks, and you could tell it was ready when it turned red. The red was color released from the St. John’s wort. We see yellow flowers, but there are chemicals in the flowers that will turn red when you crush the flower in your hand. Those chemicals are also released and turn red in the presence of some other things, especially when fermented. People also infuse the flowers with olive oil to make a treatment for burns, and that will also turn red. Plants have their own magic!
Magic aside, I chose to put St. Francis in with the St. John’s wort, just cos it seemed appropriate. St. Francis was the patron saint of plants and animals, and in fact all of ecology, so he belongs in the garden. This statue was my mother’s and she liked so well that I had to keep it when she got sick and had to enter a nursing home and later passed away.
So, St. Francis and St. John sit and grow under the tomatoes, and later in the summer there are yellow magical flowers. All of nature is magic.