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024Death by a thousand droplets …..

I picture Marat in his bath… coyly draped in cloths (why cloths  in a bath….?. better wait to bring out the  sumptuous Egyptian cotton bath towels after getting out of the bath !).. (but that’s another lot of questions!)  and I think about the possibility of dicing with death and gargling with tinctures made of the gloriously luxuriant Phytolacca Americana.

The Death of Marat  is a painting by  Jacques -Louis David  of the murdered French revolutionary leader Jean-Paul Marat lying dead in his bath. The painting shows the radical journalist draped languidly and very much dead in his bath on 13 July 1793 after his murder by Charlotte Corday. I had in my mind he had been poisoned too ..but maybe that is not the case .. but it is  a  romantic and very evocative image  ..look it up – it’s great !

In the garden at the moment we are starting to see intimations of mortality as plants start to die in an interesting way …if we were in the Himalaya we would be entering the death zone.. plants are  shrugging off their colours and hues and taking on this motley garb of autumn. All shrouds of decay. Now we are really  jumping in the bath with Marat !

tincturesIt was a herbalist who was telling me about gargling with Phytolacca to cure a sore throat but it sounds a pretty dicey type of medicinal treatment .. the fugu fish of the plant world.. imagine swigging a glass of pokeweed Juice and knowing one false swallow could seal your doom ! Although apparently ,Native Americans  have  reputedly used Phytolacca or Pokeweed as a herbal remedy as a heart stimulant and to treat cancer, rheumatism, itching, and syphilis. Looking at the glossy and temptingly glossy berries I can see why you might be tempted to pick a bunch and , why not , eat them .

and so we have the marvellous saying …..Gardener – heal thyself !

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