365 Frankendael day 8


It’s very cold, damp and windy here today, well relatively speaking, so not the most pleasant day for a walk in the park with a toddler. Of course, I did see some beautiful plants but most photos were rather windswept. I think that this one clearly represents the last days of April. Ramsons in flower, Ground elder swallowing up other plants, Cowslip standing tall, yellow and delicate and at the back, a wild Ribes bush (could be black current, white current, raspberry etc. but its too early to tell). I

One of my favourite city herbs is really coming into flower at the moment. Wild geraniums (Wood geranium, Cranesbill) are often used in urban planting schemes because they bulk up nicely as the spring and summer develop. You can find geraniums in city tree pits where they receive lots of nutrition from passing dogs. If you can locate relatively clean plants, perhaps try them in the summer when they have had a chance to grow and will withstand a little harvesting.

All geraniums and all parts of them are said to be edible, but some varieties are hairier than others! This variety is prevalent in the park, the pretty purple flowers are fragrant and taste good in a salad, the leaves add an interesting dimension to raw food and cooked they blend well with other spring greens. I prefer to thoroughly wash any that I harvest and then to cook them, like spinach. I reserve geraniums growing at home, for salads.

Now is a good time to learn the differences between the many members of the Carrot family, which grow wild in Amsterdam. The most prevalent and obvious at this time of year is Sweet cicely. It is a good faraging food, makes pleasant aniseed flavoured drinks and is sometimes used as a tonic herb. But beware! There are some extremely toxic members of the Carrot family and all look quite similar until you know how to differentiate them. At present Sweet cicely is in flower.

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