Herbs for Weddings
Answered by: Conrad Richter
Question from: Meghan Savage
Posted on: August 3, 1998

Is there any information regarding sentimental significance of herbs? My idea is to plant something in coffee mugs or tea cups for favours for the guests at a wedding. My original idea was shamrocks, but haven’t been able to find 130 small plants. Is lavender a good choice for the occasion?

An excellent resource for weddings is Bertha Reppert’s "A Bride’s Herbal" (available from Richters). It has a chapter devoted to the symbolism of herbs.

Lavender is the symbol for luck so it has at least something in common with your original idea, shamrock. The best lavenders are grown for their flowers which presents two drawbacks: it is unlikely that they will be in flower for the wedding because of size and season; and, they need to be planted outdoors for best results, and not every guest will have a garden to plant in.

According to Reppert, the seven blessing herbs are:

1) Rosemary - Bless this wedding!

2) Bay - Bless the groom!

3) Myrtle - Bless the bride!

4) Fennel - Bless the baby!

5) Catnip - Bless the kitty!

6) Basil - Bless this home!

7) Angelica - Bless us all!

There are some interesting thoughts that come to mind when reviewing this list. Rosemary is for remembrance, as Shakespeare reminds us. It is known to increase the flow of blood to the brain, so there might be a physiological correlation to Shakespeare. Bay is the laurel of the Greeks who wove branches of it into wreaths to crown their best athletes and citizens. Myrtle was commonly used in the bride’s bouquet in Europe. Our greek myrtle is said to have come from a spring that came from Queen Victoria’s bouquet. Fennel is still commonly given to colicky babies. Catnip is, of course, a favourite of cats; it actually causes intoxication, which, presumably, is appropriate for the occasion. Basil has been used as a protector planted in front of houses and temples for centuries, and in the Caribbean a type of basil was planted to ward off mosquitoes. Angelica is the herb of the angels according to the 17th century herbalist, John Parkinson.

Rosemary would be your best choice for planting in mugs or cups. But you need to advise your guests to transplant them to real pots when they get home because cups and mugs do not have drainage holes for water. Rosemary, and most other herbs, will not last long in a container without drainage.

We can supply plug trays containing 120 plug plant rosemaries that stand between 2 and 6 inches high. These are small, plants usually with only one stem; i.e., they are not as bushy as you might like. If you have several months to go before the wedding then you could grow the plugs up to a larger, bushier size for the wedding. Alternatively, you can purchase potted rosemaries (all in 2-1/2 inch square pots) that are already more substantial looking and could go straight in the cups or mugs and look nice. Check the online catalogue for information on prices. The plugs are the least expensive way; but if you choose the potted herbs, we can offer a 40% wholesale discount.

Where are you located?

We are located near Toronto. We ship our plants anywhere in the world. When ordering specify the date when the herbs must arrive and what they are going to be used for and we will get them to you in time.

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