Friday, March 28, 2014

A Guide to the Plants in the Outlander Series

I'm not sure why this idea didn't occur to me before now. I have been a fan of Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series of books for years. I feel as though I know Claire, Jamie and the array of characters I've met by reading thousands of pages about their lives and adventures. I particularly identify with Claire because I was once a young nursing student, working in various hospitals and nursing homes, until I decided on a different career. All these years later, I still have an avid interest in anatomy, physiology and healing.

I have also had a life-long fascination with plants. I have been a gardener since my early 20s. I went back to school for a degree in environmental horticulture and landscape design in midlife. And I have always been interested in herbal remedies. No one in my family gives a hoot about these things and I wondered why they were so important to me, until I started doing some genealogy. I found out that my 4th great-grandmother was a midwife and what was called a "yarb woman" - yarb being an old pronunciation of the word "herb." She was the woman that folks in her area called on when a baby was ready to be born or someone was sick.

Perhaps my affinity for botanical medicine has been, in its own way, a sort of time traveler, passing through the genes, through the generations, from Grandma Maggie to me. 

I have been a writer, both professionally and as a blogger for many years. (My other blogs are Where I Am Now and Seattle Garden Ideas.) It is only natural for me to write about the plants found in the Outlander books, but these posts don't seem to fit the websites I already have. So it makes sense to create this separate blog and give these posts their own home. 

My intention for this blog is that it be a companion for readers of the Outlander series who also have an interest in plants and gardening. I know that when I see the name of a plant I am not familiar with or that I can't remember much about, I want to know more. Sometimes I wonder if that plant will grow in my part of the country. Or if it is related to a plant I think is similar. If the plant has a place in traditional medicine, I would like to know about that. I am also entertained by bits of folklore that surround these trees, shrubs and flowers. I don't plan to write only about plants with medicinal uses, although there will be quite a few of those I am sure. 

As the list of posts grow, I hope you will find something of interest and answers to some of your questions.

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