Updated: Sep 15, 2022
I feel like I'm on a first-name-basis with plants or in a tender relationship when I know them and relate to them in the off-season when they are less showy.
It’s the ON SEASON for Saint John’s Wort right now, but we pass the rusty colored stalks all winter on our way to our river sit spot and offer a lot of thanks to them in that dormant season which is when I’m often using the bottled-sunshine I made from those very plants 6-months prior.
This year I've found that the swaths of Saint John's Wort I usually see are very much less abundant. These areas are a bit drier. There was a lush patch just to the east of a sheltering oak soaking up the morning sun. And lots and lots right next to the river where I haven't seen it as lush before. It is quite drought-y this year so perhaps it's happier next to the river. We harvest it very lightly, just taking a few flowering stalks off of each plant so it does not look as though someone has harvested when we leave. These past couple years my harvest strategy has been different with kiddo in tow. In years pre-kid, I'd think of collecting only once or twice and trying to get a large amount by spending a lot of time there. With kiddo I just collect a little bit depending on his attention span and then we move onto the beach. We do this weekly though so we collect enough for anywhere from a teeny 4 ounce jar of oil to a quart or more. This weekly harvesting is really a nice routine and ritual.