Monday, June 30, 2014

Tansy- Garden to Sachet

I've added a drawing of Tansy to my nature journal. 

I started this drawing last fall.....

but life has a way of interrupting these things. 

I grow Tansy in my garden to harvest the aromatic leaves for sachets. 

This is a recent photo of my very tall Tansy plants 
growing in my wildflower garden along with Sweet William,
 (in bloom now). 

Not only does Tansy have aromatic foliage, 
but it also has beautiful yellow button flowers. 
(photo taken last summer)

These bloom from July to October and can be harvested 
to create lovely dried flower arrangements and wreaths. 

Common Tansy (Tanacetum vulgare) is an upright perennial herb with strongly aromatic, fernlike green leaves whose aroma reminds some people of pine, others of camphor. Under favorable conditions, the plant may reach 5 feet, but 3 feet is more likely. 

The seed heads persist through winter and in spring drop to the ground to form a new generation. (It can also be divided.) Common Tansy is a native of Europe and Asia and was brought to this country by the Puritans in the 17th century and is now naturalized in much of Canada and the Untied States. 

Tansy is an old herb, used for many medicinal purposes, but today it is considered toxic and potentially fatal if consumed internally. The essential oils can irritate skin, causing contact dermatitis, and it is recommended that you wear gloves when handling Tansy. 

Tansy was a common strewing herb and has a great reputation for repelling ants and moths. 
For that reason, I use my harvest of tansy to create moth sachets and I also strew it about my shed to repel mice. It seems to work! 

Tansy is very easy to grow in all types of soil, but prefers moist, well-drained soil rich in organic matter. It grows so rampantly, that a better choice may be to put it in an area with poor soil to keep it within bounds. It will grow in sun to part shade and is best kept at the back of the border against a fence to keep it from flopping over in wind and rain. (I use stakes and twine to keep mine upright)

Extra Tansy can be a potassium-rich addition to the compost pile and can also be made into a tansy tea to water your houseplants. (A handful of leaves to a pint of boiling water)

Harvesting Tansy is simple. In the fall just cut the long stalks and place them on a tarp.

Then, wearing gloves, simply strip the leaves from the stalks and pile them in a large, open basket. Place the basket in a warm, dry room, away from direct sunlight and fluff the pile twice a day, or more,  allowing good air circulation. 

The leaves should dry within a week or so. I store them in a dry, dark place until ready to use. 

Separate the flowers and seed heads from the leaves. The darker colored heads are saved for seeds, the lighter colored ones are saved for dried flowers. 

When I am ready to use the dried leaves for sachets, wearing surgical or painter's gloves, I strip all the tiny leaves from the remaining stalks and crumple them until fine. 

I make a mix of half lavender and half tansy to create moth sachets. 

You can find seeds for growing Tansy Here.

Keep in mind that these are considered  invasive, but if you have a large area where nothing will grow, Tansy is a good choice. It is deer and pest proof, and is a good companion plant for raspberries, fruit trees, and some vegetables to control ants, aphids, squash bugs and various beetles and caterpillars. 


This is my 500th post! Thank you, Dear Friends for following my little blog. You have been there through good times and bad, let me share my crafts, cooking, decorating, writing, photos, and life with you - always being supportive and encouraging. I have learned so much from all of you and shared in your lives and creativity, and consider you all a part of my world. 

Thank you for being there. 
It means so much. 

You are the reason why. 



  1. So lovely. I love your sketch and the cloth cover for the sachet.

  2. Happy 500th post friend!! A big congrats to is always a joy to visit your space! And how cool is Tansy! I am really drawn to the height and the outstanding blooms!!! I could use it to repel a couple of things in my garden for sure...though I am not sure if it works in my zone....I would love to grow it by my shed! Your tutorial is fantastic! Wishing you a wonderful week....happy gardening friend!!! Oh and that drawing needs to be framed!!! Nicole xo

  3. Happy 500th Post! It's always a little thrill to reach these milestones in blogging ;) I enjoyed this post, and was all ready to start my own tansy garden until I read 'toxic'. Hmmm Now I'm not sure. I do have a big ant problem in my yard though (thankfully only outside), but this HAS got me thinking. I love what you do with the tansy, from the sketches to the sachets. I've never smelled tansy, but will take your word for it that it's a pleasant aroma. Thank you for sharing your ideas here Karen. Enjoy your evening. Wendy x

  4. happy 500th and many more! :)

    i remember tansy from wisconsin. loved squeezing those button heads as a kid. :)

  5. I love the little button flowers of tansy. My clump must be happy because it can grow to about 4 feet. I've started cutting it back twice a month until July so it doesn't get crazy. I love your sachet and looking forward to your tutorial. happy 500 posts!

  6. wow -- 500 posts! congratulations! did you draw the tansy? That's beautiful! You're very talented. I loved seeing your harvesting, from beginning to end. Nice to have a natural alternative for mice and moths and other pests.

  7. Beautiful sketch, Karen! I had forgotten about tansy...I used to use it in dried arrangements and wreaths. Congratulations on your blogging milestone!

  8. Gorgeous sketch Karen, Happy 500th post...looking forward to so many more... I adore the little bags can't wait for the tutorial....Hugs May x x

  9. Wow; Happy 500th post,Karen♬♬♬ Let me confess that your title was all Greek for me and checked,haha. Tansy look cute flower.I ADMIRE that you started drawing, great sketch; I have no artistic skill p;) Handmade moth sachets, looks SO wonderful♡♡♡ Lovely to know you have so many skills(^_^)v
    Sending you Lots of Love and Hugs from Japan, xoxo Miyako*

  10. Hi Karen, I thoroughly enjoyed this post. Wonderfully informative and enjoy not only your photos but your artistic talent also. I shall keep my eyes open for this tandy from now on.

    We are back after our month long trip to Europe. We woke up in Oslo yesterday morning and went to sleep in our own beds last night. We all agreed it was a fantastic trip but so good to be back home. This vacation was for all of us but mainly for my 93 year old father-in-law who attended the 70th D-Day Commemoration Ceremonies in Normandy and then traced his roots from four generations ago in Norway. We also visited Devonshire where I lived for many, many years before moving to America. I will be sharing lots of photos and stories in the days ahead, and will try to get some on my blog towards the end of the day. Meanwhile, loving visiting again :)

  11. Hello Karen,

    We have found you via the delightful Nicole at Garden Diaries and have been intrigued by our visit.

    In our gardening days, now no longer, we did grow Tansy but, rather as you pointed out, it canbe extremely vigorous and so is best used in areas which are semi-wild. However, we have never heard of its being used in the ways you show here. It is always good to find natural rather than chemical solutions to these problems and your little bags of Tansy look both pretty and, we are sure, are very practical.

    Congratulations on your 500th post. That is an amazing achievement. We are your latest followers and look forward to many happy returns!

  12. Happy 500th post!!! Wow the yellow blooms on the Tansy are amazing. You have some beautiful flora around your place :)

  13. Dearest Karen,
    Lovely post as Tansies are a favorite flower for both Pieter and me but here in Georgia they don't grow. We tried them several times and gave up.
    In The Netherlands we would keep a big bunch of them in a vase and oh that special smell... LOVE them but can't have them here.

  14. Congratulations on your 500th post, Karen! The tansy flower is so pretty, in itself, but so useful within the whole plant. Your sachets are so darling. Thanks for sharing all your information on the plant.

  15. Hi Karen, thank you for sharing this information and best of all about Tansy. It looks familiar to me but the flowers are a little different from what I thought of the same species. I reckon this is what I need to deter aphids in my roses and grubs in my veggies. I will try to find it in our local nursery. Thank you for your kind words. Wishing you a wonderful week.


  16. Who knew? Wow, what an interesting plant and it's so creative of you to use it in your pretty sachets. Congratulations on 500 wonderful posts. Keep them coming.

  17. Happy 500th post!!! What an achievement. Here's to the next 500 which I look forward to reading! I have heard of Tansy, but never seen it before, and I didn't know much about it either, so it was very interesting to see your pictures and to find out more about how it grows and is used. I imagine that it was very effective as a strewing herb if it is strongly scented, and therefore why it does a good job on the moths! Thank you for sharing this, I really enjoyed it. xx

    1. Pressed publish by mistake! I meant to add, and I look forward to many more like it. Congratulations again!! xx

  18. Hi Karen,
    Thank you for this wonderful information and tutorial - my mom in Finland loves gardening and she is a creative soul as you ... so I will send you post to her to share the inspiration. Those little sewed sachets looks so cute. And your drawing - Also talent there!
    Congratulations on the 500th post!
    Nina xx

  19. YAY! 500 posts! You and I are almost neck-and-neck. I used to grow a lot of herbs in Virginia, and I miss that. I loved tansy because it dried so beautifully for arrangements, but I was also aware of the medicinal uses. Wonderful informative post!

  20. Many congratulations on reaching the 500 mark! Each and every post a pleasure to read. I've never seen tansy, so found this fascinating. But I have smelled it in a sachet! I love the phrase "strewing herb".

  21. Wow Karen, congrats on 500 posts! I love the sachets that you made and what a process. Thanks for explaining about the Tansy flowers.


Thank you for stopping by! Your comments are important to me and are very much appreciated. xx Karen

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