My 2021 Botanical Bucket List

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A few years ago (in 2014, actually) I wrote a post about setting herbal New Year’s resolutions. It ended up becoming a sort of botanical bucket list. I just updated it for this January, and I thought it would also be fun to revisit the topic with a post about my specific herbal plans for 2021.

2020 left me feeling quite burned out. My botanical bucket list is a way for me to slow down, take stock, and reconnect with the aspects of herbalism that I love the most. Enjoy perusing my ideas! Who knows, maybe they can be a starting point for your own herbal adventures.

Tips for executing a botanical bucket list

First though, here are a few tips I use to make my list happen. It’s great to have an idea of where you want to go. It’s also easy for it to get lost in the shuffle of daily life! A few simple things can go a long way to keeping track and making sure you accomplish what you set out to do.

Create a master list

Keep your bucket list somewhere you see it often. I wrote mine in my herbal commonplace book. Posting your list above your desk or on a vision board is also great. If you keep a bullet journal, try adding it to your collections.

Keep a bite-sized bucket list

There’s no need to make a colossal, overwhelming bucket list with 999 things to do. I choose 12 things every year. That’s it. One or two per month and I’m good to go. This year, I’m knocking it down to six. THERE ARE NO RULES!!!!!!!!!!!

Choose things you want to do

This may seem obvious, but it can be easy to get distracted by what you think you SHOULD do instead of what you actually WANT to do. The important things are the things that inspire you and make you happy. Not necessarily what everyone else is doing.

Also, don’t mix personal and business/career pursuits. My herbal business goals are separate from my botanical bucket list. It’s a helpful boundary to maintain.

My 2021 list

Here’s my list for this year. You can find more info on each one below!

  1. Take an online course in botanical illustration
  2. Add 6 more plants to my materia medica
  3. Re-stock my herbal tea pantry
  4. Create a small herbal woodland garden
  5. Make a small batch of herbal mead
  6. Paint an herbal portrait series (3 portraits)

Take an online course in botanical illustration

I love working with watercolor pencils, and often draw plants in my art journals and materia medica journal. Taking a botanical illustration course is something I’ve wanted to do for a while. My materia medica drawings are usually more impressionistic, so it will be fun to explore the more precise side of drawing plants. Drawing is very relaxing for me, so I’m looking forward to this a lot!

Add 6 more plants to my materia medica

My current materia medica is more of a keepsake journal than previous versions. I’d like to add 6 more plants to it this year. My idea at the moment is to tie it in with my woodland garden. Potential additions: Solomon’s seal, ginseng, black cohosh, goldenseal, prickly ash, and sassafras. However, I’m not making hard and fast rules. If I end up with six entirely different plants, though, I will still be happy.

Re-stock my herbal tea pantry

Loose-leaf herbal teas are life! I currently have a good nighttime/dream blend, but I would love to add an herbal mineral blend, a daytime nervine blend, and maybe a good alterative blend. It’s been a few years since I splurged on some good tea blends, and I really miss it. There are lots of great boxed options on the shelves at the grocer’s these days, but it’s just not the same.

Take a new herbal class

If you follow the blog, you know I’m a proponent of lifelong herbal learning. This is a permanent fixture on my herbal bucket list. Each year, I choose a new short course to take. It helps me stay curious and make new connections. Herbalism is as much of an art as it is a science. I’m not sure what I want to study this year, but it’s never difficult to find interesting options.

Create a small woodland garden

So, I admit: I tried this last year. Like most of 2020, it was a total flop! I don’t know what happened, exactly, but everything I planted died. This year, I will try again, and (I hope!) have better success. I’m going to spend more time building up the soil and add some good soil microbes before I plant anything and see if that helps.

Make a small batch of herbal mead

I’ve made kombucha before, but I’m curious about making mead. The Herbal Academy has a short course on herbal fermentation (#affiliate) that looks really good. Amber Shehan over at Pixie’s Pocket also has some mead recipes and a guide to one gallon brews, though, so we will see!

Paint an herbal portrait series

A few years ago, I painted some herbal portraits in acrylic on canvas. And then Chaucer, who was still a puppy, ATE THEM. I decided the universe was telling me, “not now,” and went on hiatus from painting and focused on photography. Chaucer is hilarious, and cute (and he’s very lucky on both counts). I’m finally not mad at him for destroying my artwork, so maybe I will attempt that project again.

What’s on your botanical bucket list?

At this point, I know we all have our fingers crossed that 2021 is not going to be a repeat of 2020. Whatever happens, here’s hoping that we can all find a little solace in some herbal projects that make us happy!

Herbalist and Writer | Website

Agatha is an herbalist and author in Atlanta, Georgia. She founded Indie Herbalist in 2011. Her herbal recipe book, The Complete Guide to Adaptogens, is available wherever books are sold. To listen to her podcast or enroll in one of her herbal courses, visit Indie Herbalist's sister site, Teacup Alchemy.