Wellbeing

Lessons from a Primrose

After a shaky few days, taking my morning cup of tea out in the garden this morning felt like an act of restoration. Walking barefoot across the lawn, moving from the shade into the sun I came to sit down in front of a small patch of Primroses. I noticed that the petals of most of the flowers were wilting now, nibbled (not by me) and turning brown in patches as they were reaching the end of their blooming period here in the UK.

Their name translates from the Latin meaning ‘first’ and these little pioneers led the way, opening their delicate yellow petals to a cold and tired world just a few months before. To the earliest of Spring days they brought a reminder of renewal and hope from the woodland floors.

They hold such an important role in our ecosystem – as an indicator of ancient woodland they offer an important early nectar source for insects, most notably brimstone and small tortoiseshell butterflies.

As I spent time observing these precious little gems this morning, I became aware of their niche. Flowering early, they bring joy and valuable nectar sources before they become overshadowed by larger plants on the woodland floor. They don’t bloom all year round, or attempt to be like another flower. They just bloom when conditions are good for them and then retreat when they are not.

As a human being, I often find myself trying to fulfil so many roles. An array of options are always available to us that it can be easy to stray from our true nature, or feel less than in comparison with others. Do you sometimes feel as though you should always be blooming, or be more like someone else? If so, perhaps spend a few moments just observing a plant in nature and be reminded of her lessons of embracing our individuality and niche. Just another little dose of nature’s medicine, always available to us.

With love and plant magick,

Nicola

Foraging

The Intuitive Art of Foraging

It has been an interesting foraging year for us. I have found myself feeling incredibly drawn to collecting certain plants – wild rose early on in the year, mugwort throughout the summer and wild oats as the summer progressed. There have also been other plants that despite their abundance and potential, for one reason or another we didn’t forage many/any this year – elderflower and rosehips stand out as two.

When I first began to discover just how many nutritious and healing plants grow all around us, life became an exciting and busy journey of researching, learning and (sustainably) hunting for plant treasure. Each walk would be an opportunity to gather some free food and medicine and we would spend our evenings experimenting with recipes and ways to preserve our harvest for the months ahead.

In those early years, I sometimes found myself gathering frantically, scared of missing a ripe and abundant patch of something that could have been stored for teas, or made into some healing potion. Experiencing a sense of fear at the thought of having to wait a whole year for its return if I missed a harvest.

What I have learned throughout this journey is that foraging takes time. It isn’t necessarily the finding and gathering of plants that takes too long, although sometimes multiple visits to a plant may be required to harvest it at its peak ripeness. It is the cleaning, preparing, drying and processing of plants in different ways that takes both time, energy and patience. Removing individual berries or flowers from stems, infusing and straining oils and vinegars, sterilising jars and equipment is a real labour of love (and occasionally hate- the sterilising part anyway!)

A life of foraging isn’t one of convenience necessarily. It takes time and the reward is vast. Slowing down and leaning towards a more intuitive way of gathering what we are drawn to maintains my enthusiasm and energy. I feel excitement at the possibilities of next year as I sync more with the pace of nature.

I would love to know if you can relate to the feeling of missing a plant harvest and what you have found yourself drawn to this year?

Wellbeing, Wheel of the Year

The Wheel of the Year

The wheel of the year acknowledges the cyclic movement of the seasons throughout the year honoured by Earth-based traditions. The wheel consists of 4 Solar Festivals ( 2 Solstices and 2 Equinoxes) and 4 Seasonal Festivals (Imbolc, Beltane, Lammas and Samhain).

The Solar Festivals follow the Sun’s rise and fall throughout the year. With daylight reaching its height at the Summer Solstice, its lowest at the Winter Solstice and reaching an equal balance with night length at the Spring and Autumn Equinoxes.

The Seasonal Festivals are thought to have Celtic origins and are connected with seasonal and agricultural changes. Imbolc marks the height of Winter and birth of Spring, Beltane the height of Spring and birth of Summer, Lammas the height of Summer and birth of Autumn and Samhain the height of Autumn and birth of Winter.

Connecting with in the energy and changes in the natural world, can help us to reflect on our own energy throughout the seasons which may naturally rise and fall. It can help us appreciate the change and flow of nature – the abundance and the scarcity, the birth and the death. The ebb and flow of life. Becoming aware of the Wheel of the Year can help us to reflect on these cycles in our own lives and work with them, rather than against them.

We are creating seasonal based wellbeing guides for each of the 8 festivals mentioned above, to help you connect with the energy of the season. You can find out more on our wellbeing page.

Botanicals

Abundance Smudge Sticks

In the approach to Lammas, as Summer reaches its height, we wanted to create a Smudge Stick that celebrates the rich abundance of the season. You may well have read my previous post about Goldenrod finding its way into my garden this year.

Goldenrod is extremely high in antioxidants and its Latin name Solidago translates as ‘to make whole or heal’. In folklore Goldenrod is believed to to bring luck and prosperity and encourage an abundant mindset. These qualities are believed to become more potent when the plant self seeds too!

After harvesting some during the waning moon I felt strongly that this would be the star of the show. Teamed with sun ruled Bay, refreshing Peppermint, powerful Red clover and vibrant Nasturtium flowers, this Smudge Stick intends to encourage feelings of abundance and prosperity.

Research suggests that burning herbs is a fast and effective method for delivering the therapeutic properties of a plant to an individual. The practice of burning dried plants has been carried out extensively across cultures and may be the earliest example of aromatherapy.

You can find out more about this beautiful smudge stick in our Etsy shop now.

*As of 20/08/20 we have changed the name of our sticks to ‘Smoulder sticks.’ You can read more about our decision regarding this here.

Wellbeing, Wheel of the Year

Summer Solstice

In astronomical terms, the Summer Solstice marks the longest day of the year and the beginning of the Summer season in the Northern hemisphere . This year, the Summer Solstice falls on Saturday 20th June. As daylight hours reach their peak on this day, we begin our transition into the second half of the year. Light after the Summer Solstice slowly wanes towards the Winter Solstice, where we reach the shortest day of the year falling on December 21st.

Transitioning to the second part of the year can lead us to wonder how the months have gone, perhaps even more under the circumstances we have faced this year. Us humans commonly have a preference for daylight (not to mention the warmth) so thinking of its retreat is not always easy. However the earth, if we allow it, can be a good teacher of balance. Year on year we witness Summer and Winter rise and fall, giving way to one another through the seasonal cycle, always moving, always changing and always returning.

Being aware of what is going on in our outer world can help us to connect to and learn more about our inner worlds. In this article I will discuss how we can use the energy of the season to cultivate inner reflection and set intentions for the second part of the year.

Continue reading “Summer Solstice”
Botanicals, Foraging

Wild about Roses

I am never quite sure what draws me in first with Rose; the beauty captured by the eyes or the nose, (don’t worry the poetry stops here my friends). According to fossil evidence, the genus Rosa is thought to be 35 million years old and contains around 200 species and thousands of hybrids growing across the world. Roses have long held a rich symbolism of love and beauty and it is easy to understand why.

The rose plant offers us two key ingredients for our products. In the Spring and Summer we collect and dry the petals to infuse into facial oils, add to face masks, bath salts and teas. In the Autumn and Winter we collect the hips or fruits that we infuse into our skin oils, oxymels and dry for teas. For the rest of this post, I will be focusing on the benefits of the petals as we are currently collecting and processing them, plus rose hips deserve a post of their very own.

Continue reading “Wild about Roses”
General

Welcome to Wild Fen

Welcome to our website. We are Nicola and Chris and we created Wild Fen to celebrate our love for the natural world and the abundance that she offers, both in terms of inspiration and resources. We have both been studying and enjoying nature for most of our lives. This has evolved in many ways including growing our own organic herbs and plants, foraging wild edibles, concocting natural products and capturing the beauty of nature through photography and artwork. You can read more about our journey here.

This site will be a space to record our recipes, sell our creations and share inspiration with others.