There are many traditions, myths and folk tales associated with the summer solstice, many of which involve the herbs and plants that bloom around this time and whose medicinal and aromatic properties are said to be enhanced when gathered on the eve or morning of the solstice.

I remember an old childhood fairytale in which St. John's wort, the quintessential flower of Midsummer, got sent around the plant world every year on the feast of the saint to invite all the other herbs and flowers to a giant celebration called the council of the flowers, where their medicinal and aromatic qualities would be strengthened and renewed.

Indeed, the summer solstice seems to breathe new energy into the living world surrounding us; it rekindles memories of more joyful and innocent times, of dancing and celebrating with flowers in our hair, of a simpler appreciation of life that didn't need explaining.

Even the flowers that bloom around this time seem to have borrowed their cheerful colors from the warmth of the sun. It glows in the golden yellows of marigolds, daylilies, black eyed Susans, sunflowers, and of course St. John's wort. On cloudless days, when the light hits their bright yellow flowers just right, they look ablaze.

Not this summer, though, this summer is a rainy one and it rained on the day of the solstice too. It was still the longest day of the year, just not the brightest one.

Author's Bio: 

Main Areas: Garden Writing; Sustainable Gardening; Homegrown Harvest
Published Books: “Terra Two”; “Generations”; "The Plant - A Steampunk Story"; "Letters to Lelia"; "Fair"; "Door Number Eight"; "A Year and A Day"; "Möbius' Code"; "Between Mirrors"
Career Focus: Author; Consummate Gardener;
Affiliation: All Year Garden; The Weekly Gardener; Francis Rosenfeld's Blog

I started blogging in 2010, to share the joy of growing all things green and the beauty of the garden through the seasons. Two garden blogs were born: and, a periodical that followed it one year later. I wanted to assemble an informal compendium of the things I learned from my grandfather, wonderful books, educational websites, and my own experience, in the hope that other people might use it in their own gardening practice.