Gathered Knowledge

Yellow Archangel

9th May on grassy woodland edge

9th May on grassy woodland edge

close up of leaves and flowers

close up of leaves and flowers

Flowers close up

Flowers close up


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Yellow Archangel starts appearing at the end of March in woods and grassy woodland edges and hedges.

Thought for the mile 3

“And when you crush an apple with your teeth, say to it in your heart: “Your seeds shall live in my body, and the buds of your tomorrow shall blossom in my heart. Your fragrance shall be my breath, and together we shall rejoice through all the seasons.”

(Rumi)

St. George’s Mushrooms

It is (or was before midnight), St.George’s Day today.

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A couple of days back we found some St.George’s Mushrooms growing on someone’s mown lawn next to the driveway.

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Jack by the hedge

Garlic Mustard

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Lovely in a salad and cooked lightly in the pot. Great flavour, growing in hedgerows and on verges. Don’t pick it from a busy road.

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Its just about to come into flower now. Soon it will turn bitter, so best get out and pick some.

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And here it is in flower. We found it bolted right after Beltane, it’s peak. It is now in mature old age, no longer the lad, but now the venerable one.

Beeching and the Railways

When British railways were cut back, like a roadside hedgerow…

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Victor Freeman and his War Stories

We met Victor in the Cooper’s Arms, near Crowborough. He was in the Royal Navy during World War II, and enjoyed greatly the sea shanties we were singing that night. “Adieu Sweet Lovely Nancy” was his particular favorite. Victor tried toget us singing “Heysborough Light”, but we couldn’t quite follow his melodies. We will look into it further.

HMS Bleasdale -

HMS Bleasdale -

What Victor told us…

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Scurvy Grass

Scurvy grass was dried out and taken to sea by sailors to help cure them of scurvy. It is common near the coast.

Some people say its edible but we think it tastes like glue.

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Scurvy Grass, Mid-motorway, 6th April 09

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Scurvy Grass, Mid-motorway, 6th April 09

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These pictures were taken in the middle of a dual carriageway near Petersfield.

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Dalmation Bellflower

This plant grows on walls and has purple flowers which i will take a picture of soon.

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Dalmation-Bellflower 26-3-09-wall-

Southernwood

Southernwood

An aromatic plant with a saucy background. Known as ‘lad’s love’ or ‘maid’s ruin’ (depending on your perspective), Southernwood is an aphrodisiac. Young men would rub it on their faces both to attract the ladies and to make their beards grow.  We will be doing some scientific field testing soon. Reports will follow.

The plant will help to ease menstrual obstruction and can be combined with Mugwort and Pennyroyal. It makes a relaxing addition to a bath and discourages moths from clothes (it was calle ‘garde-robe’ in French).

The old Welsh Physicians say “Take Southernwood, and pound it well, and add thereto some wine or old mead, strain well, and let the patient drink a portion thereof night and morning.” This was said to be a cure for those who talk in their sleep.

Southernwood yields a yellow dye from the twigs.

The plant likes rocky ground.

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Woad

Woad

Woad is the plant that makes the blue dye worn by Celtic warriors of Briton.
braveheart

You remember Braveheart?

The leaves are fermented in order to obtain the blue paint which as well as making the warriors look frightening, was also effective in treating their wounds.

A poultice of fresh leaves can also be used for treating wounds.

Woad was the main blue dye in this country until Indigo was imported from eastern lands in 1660. It was used to dye cloth, wool and skin blue. A pink dye is yielded by the younger leaves if you use an alum mordant.

Gather the leaves in the plant’s second season, before she flowers.

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