Trees

Yew

A tree I have been journeying with recently is the Yew tree, Taxus baccata. Typically associated with the Samhain season, I have found myself really connecting and learning about this tree this Spring season with my wonderful book ‘Walking with trees’ by Glennie Kindred as my companion.

Like Willows, Yews are dioecious meaning that trees are either male or female. In the Spring the male trees produce an array of flowers covered with golden pollen. This pollen is carried by the wind to the smaller flowers of the female trees that will go on to produce the red berries in the Autumn.

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Trees

Willow

I feel very lucky to have received some wonderful books for my birthday this year, one being ‘Walking with Trees’ by Glennie Kindred (one of my favourite authors and nature connectors).

It has inspired me to form an even deeper connection with some of our lovely native and naturalised trees in Britain and I thought it might be nice to share some of my journeying here, starting with Willow a beloved tree all year round, but particularly special in Spring.

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Plants

Bay

Just like the other aromatic herbs that we have covered in our herb explorations so far, Bay (Laurus nobilis) not only enhances the flavour of our dishes but helps us to digest them. Culinary herbs, such as Sage, Rosemary, Thyme and Bay all have properties that help stimulate our digestion and helps calm the stomach, easing gas and cramps. These herbs, including Bay also help to ease symptoms of coughs and colds.

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Plants

Sage

Onto another aromatic herb native to the Mediterranean, and now commonly grown in the garden; common Sage. The name of this plant’s genus ‘Salvia’ comes from the Latin ‘Salvare’ meaning ‘to save, or to heal.’ The plant has long been used medicinally with examples from Ancient Greece and Rome and throughout the Middle Ages where it was commonly grown around monasteries for its healing properties.

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Plants

Rosemary

As another warming evergreen, Rosemary is a wonderful Winter ally and complements Thyme extremely well. Both of these herbs bring great benefits to our health, as well as attracting wildlife to our garden during Spring and Summer months.

The name Rosemary is derived from the Latin – Ros marinus meaning ‘dew of the sea‘ as it tends to grow in close proximity to the sea in its native area of the Mediterranean.

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Plants

Thyme for tea

The Winter months can be a good time to really reconnect with some of our evergreen aromatic garden herbs. This month I have found myself particularly drawn to using Thyme, so thought it would be nice to begin a herbal journey focusing on it.

Thyme is thought to derive its name from the Greek words ‘thymos’ meaning strong and ‘thyein’ meaning to make a burnt offering, highlighting its ancient use as an incense.

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Foraging

Elderberry Oxymel

On these damp and cloudy days, I feel Autumn’s presence strongly. These days feel just right for concocting healing oxymels for the winter months ahead.

The name oxymel comes from the Greek word ‘oxymeli’ meaning acid and honey. It is a traditional herbal extraction, using a vinegar and honey to extract and preserve the potent goodness from an array of plants, that can then be taken as a medicine.

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Botanicals

Spirit of the South Smudge Sticks

We are currently in the process of converting a van into our very own travelling home. We are around half way through our build now with our kitchen in place and took our very first trip in it a few weeks ago.

Our first stop was a visit to family down on the south coast for a lovely few days together. We then headed out west, further along the Jurassic coast to explore.

The area is steeped in myth and legend and it wasn’t long before I lost myself with so many beautiful wildflowers along the way.

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Botanicals

Yarrow and Rose bud Smudge Sticks

Yarrow feels especially abundant this year. This delicate yet mighty wildflower has been used extensively in herbal medicine due to its wealth of therapeutic properties. Ruled by Venus, Yarrow has also long been entwined with myth and magic. Perhaps most notably, the belief that if a handful of the plant was placed under a pillow, it would reveal a person’s future love mate within a dream.

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