Category Archives: 365 Frankendael

365 Frankendael day 356

What a beautiful colour this plant is! It’s a type of Sow Thistle and here it is growing against a house on the Middenweg. It’s an edible plant but very bitter.

image

Also today, my favourite clump of edible and medicinal Hollyhock (Alcea rosae). It’s nice to watch one plant change through the year, a lot can be learned that way, little by little. I’ve enjoyed charting the progress of this one.

image

And lastly a quick photo of my close to home treepit/boomspeigel, with it’s springtime look. No herbs for the pot, it’s far too accessible to dogs and cats, but very useful to me and local insects none the less.

image

In the pit you may be able to spot Wormwood, Primrose, Pansy, Wild garlic, Ivy, Curry plant, Chickweed, Lemonbalm, Grape hyacinth. All are edible (in the right spot) and medicinal.

365 Frankendael day 355

I met the gardener who looks after Park Frankendael today. He’s happy with our little Elder babies and suggested another location for additional planting. He also taught me about the the Primrose species which live in the park. I’ll order some seed of those species soon and will be bringing on Primrose and Violet plants to add to the park at suitable locations.

One of the Elder babies is in the middle of this photo.

image

The Comfrey (Symphytum uplandicum x) plants are looking great today.

image

As is Ground Ivy (Glechoma hederacea), in flower in some situations.

image

365 Frankendael day 354

Just what the plant doctor ordered this afternoon – mild weather and a good dose of drizzle!

In the park, Wild garlic (Allium ursinum), succulent and far too tasty to park your bike against.

image

Fumitory, used in some areas of the world to clear the body of radiation damage, following radiotherapy etc.

image

So much Fuki in one place! And still, it flowers on.

image

My daily dose of White Horehound (Marrubium vulgare) from this plant.

image

365 Frankendael day 353

More and more green life by the second!

Japonica flowers are still blooming vibrantly and tastily.

image

And also lovely patches of Purple deadnettle (Lamium purpurum) in flower.

image

They make a nice addition to general cooking and have many medicinal virtues.

And probably my favourite street herb Hollyhock (Alcea rosea) is really starting to leaf up now.

image

I met a woman at the local playground yesterday who mentioned using Hollyhocks as growing support stakes, amongst tomato plants. A lovely idea.

365 Frankendael day 352

image

Today a small group of us planted out the Elder cuttings which we took from mature Elder shrubs on Hugo de Vrieslaan last year. The idea was to grow more of this useful native herb in a slightly cleaner part of the area.

image

We choose to plant our well rooted cuttings along the edge of the Frankendael woodland. They blended in instantly and we have our fingers crossed that they will take well to their new home.

We also took a fresh batch of Elder cuttings and will care for them at our homes until next year. Thanks everyone who came along today!

Also today, I spotted a good amount of Cleavers (Gallium aparine) for the first time this year. It is growing here beside some Stinging nettle (Urtica dioica).

image

And Common Figwort is starting to bolt forth.

image

365 Frankendael day 351

image

Elder (Sambucus nigra) NL:Vlier, today. I’m running a little workshop on this incredible shrub tomorrow morning (see events page). At the moment in Amsterdam, it is covered in medicinal foliage. All green parts of the plant contain a toxin which our bodies convert into cyanide. So ingesting Elder leaves is not wise but turning them into an infused oil or ointment can produce very useful external remedies. I like to make an ointment with Elder for healing of skin wounds, bruises and bumps. It’s very effective.

365 Frankendael day 350

Coltsfoot (Tussilago farfare). Cough go away!

image

Now my eyes are open to them, I’m finding clumps of this unusual looking flower all over the place. Unlike Dandelion, the flowers come up long before the leaves. Here you can see fresh just about to open flowers along side those which bow their heads and are starting to set seed. Wonderful and so easy to capture the properties in honey.

365 Frankendael day 347

More molehill collecting for me today. I’ve been busy repotting some balcony herbs and took the risk of sowing a few seeds. So more soil was needed!

image

Some of the molehills in park Frankendael are very sandy, others are full of organic matter. Here’s a sandy one – just right to add drainage to the organic soil I bought from Albert Heijn. The little Plantain (Plantago major or media) in the photo was completely covered by the hill until I scraped the top soil away. Just that one molehill filled an empty 5 litre soil bag. Plantago media is an endangered species in the Netherlands, so if that’s the plant I’m extra happy. Either way, my molehill antics provided free soil for me and a freed herb for the park!

image

I’ve found lots of Coltsfoot (Tussilago farfara) today, both in the park and other parts of town. I’ve been collecting some of the flower heads to make Coltsfoot honey. They smell amazing when just picked and it’s easy to see why they are a great cough remedy. They are easiest to find in grassland close to water. They look like Dandelion from a distance. But close-up they look like strange Asparagus type scaly things, shooting up as spears through the soil and sending flowers to face the sun before producing proper leaves. Very difficult to mix them up with anything else.

So what else today?

Violets (Viola sp):
image

Young shoots of Rosebay willowherb:

image

More Motherwort (Leonurus cardiaca) NL:Hartgespan. If in doubt of this plant (but certain it’s a square stemmed Labiate) nibble a tiny bit of leaf. If the extreme bitterness literally knocks your socks off, it’s Motherwort!

image

Primrose:

image

And some lovely buds and shots from which I made a refreshing immune system boosting tea,

Lime tree buds (Tilia sp). Reach for a too high for dogs twig, maybe on a burr such as this. Snap off a fresh tip bud (after checking its OK with the tree of course) and just pop it in your mouth. After a little chewing your mouth will be full of unmistakable Lime tree goo! It’s great stuff for all manner of ailments and makes me feel very happy to know the tree, every time to do it. I can’t really understand why everyone else in the park doesn’t do this. There is some information I wrote a while ago about Lime, for those wondering what all the fuss is about.

image

Bramble (Blackberry bush) – just the soft green shoots.

image

Added to my Spring brew (and still really tastes great hours later as I write this and enjoy the second pot) was of course a leaf or two of my new herb friend Common Horehound (Marrubium vulgare).

image

Wild Garlic (Allium ursinum) remains in pungent foliage.

image

And finally today, a real taste of the foraging weeks to come – Ground Elder (Aegopodium podograria). Just a few plants coming through today but it’s up! I absolutely love this herb (though it’s often a real pain to gardeners). It’s common English name is Goutweed because it helps clear the body of uric acid amongst other things. I love it because it makes me feel good and tastes rather like Parsley. It can be eaten, used medicinally internally and applied externally in things such as salves and compresses. Learn more about it at the June Embrace Your Weeds workshop which I’m running with City Plot.

image

Now back to my pot of Spring Shoots Tea…