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The progression of my Aconite blooms in my poison garden. A most vibrant, striking color contrasting everything else in the garden that’s begun to die back. The daturas have started to wilt, tobaccos taken by the first frost, the mandragoras brought inside. The Queen of Poisons insists on being noticed. The oldest of the bunch, they’re about four years old and stand around five feet tall.
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I was absolutely thrilled to find these Columbia monkshoods, Aconitum columbianum, at Beckler Peak, WA! I almost never see monkshoods - they’re uncommon on the west side of the Cascades. Monkshoods are, of course, very toxic due to the presence of aconitine. They’re featured in everything from Agatha Christie novels to Assassin’s Creed for how deadly they are, were used traditionally to hunt wild animals (this is where the common names “wolfsbane” and “leopard’s bane” come from) and they’re sometime called “the queen of poisons.” Even picking the leaves without gloves can cause heart problems in some people, but monkshoods are common garden plants nonetheless.  Aconitum columbianum has a tendency to take several years to flower and inhibits growth of plants around it, complicating its use as a garden ornamental. 

thebashfulbotanist
thebashfulbotanist
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alphiniasAnswer

Good actually! I’m gonna finish my Cinderella Story AU first (cause I really want it to be up for Halloween… fingers crossed), but I’ve been working back and forth between them the past week. Once I’m done with the Cinderella Story AU I’m gonna get down and really start cranking M&W it out. Second year is a bit of an awkward gap year and I was super busy with personal stuff up until this past week, so that’s why it’s taken so long.

The writers’ chat was actually talking about attempting NANoWriMo and if I do it’ll be on Monkshood and Wolfsbane, because the later chapters are gonna get massive.

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deep forest cottagecore. dark earth tones mixed in among large stacks of books. herbs growing in small patches of light in the kitchen, bedroom, and study. something is brewing in the kitchen, it always is. there is a small animal curled in the corner- it comes and goes as it pleases. it is raining. the shadows know they have a home here. there is a fire in the hearth; there always is. a bed covered in quits and furs. there is silence and there is murmuring noise and they are friends, weaving into each other like a cloth. monkshood is growing by the door. there is oleander closer to the trees. somewhere in the house, there is singing. the vines from the garden are now making their way inside and we will not stop them. there are presents for the fae in window boxes and food for the wolfdogs next to the hearth. both come and go as they please. it is raining, and the rain dreams of being snow, but that is a few month off yet. everything is snug and warm and dark and lovely.

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Here are a few monkshood flowers (also known as wolfsbane) that I’ve been working on lately. You can see how appropriately named they are, with the little hood-like petal on top. These flowers are really dimensional and are more of a mixed media project than most of the flowers I make. They are free motion embroidered, then painted, and handstitched together. There’s a bit of wire sew on the underside of the hood so it maintains its shape. There are little clay fused petals underneath the hood, if I ever make more of these flowers again, I might try to make them fabric, just to see how that looks. Lots of little details like the hand painted stamen and the embroidered leaf finish things off.

These flowers are part of a larger commission I’m working on called The Poison Garden Project, where I’ll create a headdress full of various embroidered poisonous plants.

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