Last weekend I gathered tons of our glorious wild elder flowers and ran 2 distillations-which in my still yields about 6 cups. I decided to get some more this weekend so I could fill my half gallon jug and (hopefully) remain in stock until next years harvest. Then I decided to run my clary sage, which will take 2 runs to distill what I cut down. But it's lower yield so it won't take all night like 2 runs of elder would have. Trust me-I was distilling ALL DAY last Sunday. It comes with the territory when you're running an herbal business. You have to do things when the plants are ready and not when you feel like it. Needless to say, June is a super busy month for me. And I haven't even done the lemon balm and my roman chamomile is on the verge of blooming. But while I was out there I noticed I had several roses in bloom so I was inspired to run a special distillation (and a very small one, at that). It's a surprise!
I have struggled with my clary sage after 2 very brutal winters here. I barely had any last year and this year looks like I'll get about of hydrolate. It kills me now when I think of years past when I pulled up stray plants all over the place and got rid of them. I know I'll have one flowering plant next year and I will put in a bunch more. I let my one plants flower so it would drop seeds, so if this winter is closer to normal I should have plenty more generations of plants in the years to come.
And I have helichrysum plants flowering. I won't get much off them this year but, again, if the next winter isn't too cold they'll have a chance to get nice and big next summer and give me plenty of flowers. And I have re-established St. John's wort again this year thanks to a dear friend who dug up a wild plant and sent it to me. I also have seedlings growing and I may keep some of those babies inside this winter. The same dear friend also sent me some of her oil so I have some to keep my business running. It's tough to remain self sufficient when the weather goes crazy, but it's time for things to settle down to normal this year with light snowfalls, moderately cold temperatures and one ice storm in January.