In reaction to the current social distancing requirements, I am offering a free weekly online gathering for my apprentices. It has worked out really well, we Zoom and chat about whatever herbal things are on our minds, check out someone’s garden or plant pot for mystery plants if that comes up, make herbal lotions and potions together-apart, my cat joins in the fun sometimes, we discuss issues with crafting, using remedies and simply spend some time together. It is very gezellig – as the Dutch say!
I am going to keep these weekly gatherings going as I am really seeing how it is adding power to my students’s herbology studies and creating a great sense of togetherness as we each navigate the plants in our own area, at our own pace. The gatherings are open to all past and present apprentices and are most certainly a great place for brand new students to connect. You don’t need any background knowledge or experience and everyone is very friendly so don’t be shy about joining in!
This week, we will look at how to make useful tinctures, elixirs and honey/agave infusions.
If you want to work along with me this Friday at 19.30 Amsterdam time, you could gather beforehand: about 20 dandelion flowerheads, a clean dry glass jar with well fitting lid, a knitting needle or chopstick and enough honey or agave syrup to fill that jar. You could also have some strong spirit available – vodka/brandy etc. Soggy dandelion flowers are not going to work well so dust them off or wash them and dry before the gathering.
I have a batch of newcomers to the course, who joined in the past few weeks so several of you are in the same boat and this is a great way to connect.
Send me a message if you would like to know more, take a look at the apprenticeship website or see the meetup group. It is perfectly possible to dip in an out of the course at your own pace.
A few photos and short comments today as we rapidly approach Beltane, the festival of early summer.
This week, the Lime trees which line many Amsterdam streets, burst into leaf. I love to eat these leaves, they have a mild flavour, are not tough and they bring many nutritional and medicinal uses. The trees in this street show a characteristic of Lime, they often grow leaves down the trunk. This is a bonus for foragers as it makes the leaves easy to harvest from a tree species which can easily reach 20 meters.
Comfrey plants are in bloom. This helps up to identify the species and help discern whether the comfrey growing near you in the white flowering Symphytum officinale, which is not seen as safe in internal preparations (such as teas) but helpful in external preparations (such as skin salves) or Symphytum uplandicum, which tends to have leafy parts which don’t contain the hepatotoxins in it’s leaves and flowers.
Next up, Hawthorn. This is called by many names around the world, including May Tree because it generally bursts into bloom around the first of May. Well this year, it is a little earlier than I have seen for a while. It has been in bloom for over a week and it looks very pretty. Hawthorn is a tree wrapped in much folklore and superstition, due to the plethora of medicinal uses associated with it. This is one of my favourite city herbs.
I have been Zooming with some of my apprentices over the past few weeks. I am posting the date and time on the Apprenticeship events page and any who fancy joining me for a chat, do. One week, there was a question about creams so I made them a video about it and have actually been more in love with the cream recipe since! It is a real skin soother. I made this one with orange blossom water and olive oil.
Magnolia is going over now, the flowers that it. If you have uses for the leaves then now is the time to harvest a few of those! Here is a beautiful specimen which grows in my local cemetery which happens to also be the Netherlands national arboretum – A nice double function, you may agree. The cemetery also houses the national funeral museum. An incredibly interesting place.
Below is a photo of an invasive weed which grows in parts of Park Frankendael. I identified it several years ago as Pennsylvania pellitory (Parietaria pensylvanica), a non-stinging member of the nettle family and a sister of the well known traditional herb, Pellitory-of-the-wall (Parietaria officinalis). It is called Glaskruid in Dutch and Cucumber weed in parts of the USA. Both helpful common names as it kind of looks glassy when held to the light (translucent) and it has a mild cucumer taste. Sadly, it is also known as asthma weed because when the flowers start to release their pollen, it can cause havoc for people with respiratory issues. This prime specimen is growing in the woodland area of the park. There is a single mature plant growing in the River of Herbs nettle orchard, on the left hand side, soon after entering through the gate. We are leaving it there and will keep an eye on it when the weedy seed spreading time comes.
Next today, can you see the Elderflower (Sambucus nigra) in the photo below? I found this yesterday, on my walk back home from the supermarket in Oostpoort. Beautiful, fragrant (often nastily fragrant), edible, medicinal and fabulous Elderflower!! I just thought you may like to see it as this heralds the start of the main foraging season for many people. Here are a few recipes and thoughts about elderflower. As you will see from those posts, I am a big fan of them and each year, as well as making foods, drinks and home remedies from them, I dry a batch or two and store carefully to use as a tea during times when my immune system needs a boost. Elderflower tea is a well known traditional remedy for. Since COVID-19 hit Amsterdam, my Elderflower tea has been drunk at least once a day so my stock has steadily been depleted. It will certainly be restocked in a few weeks time, when the flowers are open everywhere and I can harvest some for drying.
I am trying to grow more vegetables than usual at home. I may write a post about these later but for now, here’s a windowsill shot of some veg scraps which I am trying to bring on. The Paksoi is particularly fast!
You may have read about my Rosemary beetle problem. I can now report that the issue is improved but continuing. Yesterday, I picked only 5 beetles from the pruned bush. My poor Rosemary bush!
Lastly, a mention of a Dutch woman who asked for my advice by telephone earlier this week. She had been foraging in an Amsterdam park and noticed a young fern head had been snapped off and removed in an area with many fern heads were coming up. She took this to mean that some knowledgeable forager had found an edible fern and harvested some. She has heard that some young fern heads are edible and she wanted to try so she snapped one off, took it home, prepared and ate it. Unfortunately although now recovered, she became quite ill and she wondered what to do and did I know much about ferns.
My advice was to call her doctor or the emergency services if this sort of thing ever happened again and that if she relapsed at all now, to contact them straight away, showing them a photo of what she had eaten. Also not to follow supposed “leads” from other foragers. That fern head may have been snapped off by any number of things, from kids playing near them, a strong bird animal pecking around, a dog etc. This is just one of the reasons why I teacher foragers to pluck really gently and to leave no trace. When one person sees you have been there, others often think that it is fine to copy. Sometimes with catastrophic effects.
I don’t forage ferns and I keep a few bottles of Norit activated charcoal tablets handy, they may sometimes be helpful at absorbing toxins but hospital is your best bet, if a plant poisoning situation occurs – don’t be proud if it should happen, just call 999 / 112 / 991 etc and get professional help – quickly. And only harvest what you know really well, have identified properly and only eat what you are sure is safe for you. I am looking forward to meeting the woman and us going for a herb walk together.
Spring is in the air, I can smell it and feel it and taste it! Well, early spring is here at least which means that my apprenticeship is reopened to newcomers, I’ve ordered too many heirloom seeds for the coming season and I’m planning growing projects in each spare moment. I can’t help it, when I feel Imbolc (the first spring festival) approaching, my energy levels pick right up and I need to get busy. Maybe you are the same?
I’m so looking forward to the Urban Herbology walk that’s coming up on Saturday, in Past Frankendael. It starts at 11.45 at the main old entrance of the park and is almost fully booked so have a look at the meetup group if you would like to join or if you fancy joining me on another walk.
I sent a message to people who have signed up, through meetup yesterday. If you have signed up but didn’t receive the message, please let me know (email@example.com).
If you would like to stay informed whenever new walk and workshop dates are set, please sign up to the meetup group as I don’t keep a mailing list and don’t like to spam anyone.
Heaps of edible and medicinal plants are showing themselves at the moment and many are growing so well that we can harvest them from certain places. I’ll show you lots of tasty and useful plants on Saturday.
I met Dana Marin of Amsterdamian.com several years ago through the River of Herbs project. She is a beautiful soul who loves herbs, crafting and gardening. She also loves Amsterdam and runs the Amsterdamian.com website which you must visit!
Last summer Dana joined me in the Frankendael Orchards to catch up, take photos and forage. It was lovely, a lot of fun and included me falling of the bench in this photo, into the plants!!
Dana’s interview with me is now published on Amsterdamian.com. If you fancy some background about urban herbology, ethical urban foraging, city witch-iness and to know what’s driving me at the moment, hop on over to Dana’s beautiful website!
This workshop is open to my apprentices (from my online/blended course and past apprenticeship groups).
Early spring is a great time to forage, craft and plan new growth for the year ahead. This workshop is a chance to share time together, explore urban nature, talk over issues and build Herbology crafting skills.
We’ll meet at my home (in Amsterdam Watergraafsmeer, near Park Frankendael) and then work inside and out. Light lunch, infusions and teas provided.
Please email me as soon as possible to book your place.
If you would like to join the workshop, you must be a past or present student of my apprenticeship course (either on the full course or studying module by module).
Update: The next start date for my course is 20th March 2017. If you need to begin before that date, it can be arranged.
For the past year, I’ve been running my updated apprenticeship course with an information and activity packed online course running alongside a workshop series.
I am very pleased with how that first year has gone, allowing my recent students to study at their own pace and reach out for contact with me and other students whenever they want and need to. Everyone has a different pace and different ambitions.
Now it is time to offer new places on my course so if you would like to know more, let me know and I’ll send you further details. The next start date is 1st February 2017 – Imbolc – It’s a great time for beginnings! I am able to accept up to 6 new students at that time. And the next apprentice gathering will be in March.
If you would like to know more about joining me as an apprentice, learning about herbal:
What a pleasure it is to work with enthusiastic people on the topics I love. On Saturday, I welcomed a small group of apprentices into my home and foraging grounds, to work on a variety of preparations and experience more of the world of Urban Herbology. The apprentices are studying my online course at their own pace at home, we meet 4 times a year with additional meetings and communication when needed. The next such meeting will be in December and is open to all my apprentices, online and from the original Amsterdam groups. Further details, at the end of this post.
Here are supplementary links and photos to assist those who were with me on Saturday.
I make mine from the few fruits that I forage and don’t eat straight from the plants. I use honey in place of refined sugar and I don’t always use rum. My recipe is in the apprenticeship notes but the link here shows a selection of suitable (purpose made) containers and explains the process.
A very invasive plant in this country. The green seeds smell pleasantly of butter and the plant is edible. Flowers can be eaten in salads, stems used as drinking straws and the plant chopped into salads and cooking. The link post shows several plants (including balsam) which I harvested at this time a couple of years ago.
The plant we tasted at my house was Peperomia maculosa. It tastes of coriander and has many medicinal uses. Here is another link about these wonderful plants which are well known as houseplants, outside of the tropics. The Peperomia species which seems to be the best studied regarding its medicinal properties is Peperomia pellucida. hat wasn’t available at the garden centre when I looked for it, but several other species were. I settled happily for P. maculosa (shown in photo) as I love the fresh, spicy flavour.
I had a busy day at school recently, pruning the spiky Japonica which encircles the building. Hundreds of fruit were on the prunings so naturally, I harvested them. Here are some tasty ways to use Japanese quinces.
The last two sections of this UH post mentioning Bali, give an example of how Jamu is used. The anti inflammatory orange drink is called Kunjit asam. We will make it (and sugar free alternatives) at the December meeting.
In December, among other things, we will look at;
Sacred spaces at home
If you are interested in joining or finding out about my apprenticeship course, please contact me or take a look at this page.
Deze cursus is ontwikkeld en wordt gegeven door Lynn Shore. De cursus is bedoeld voor mensen die interesse hebben in stadskruiden. Het doel is om je band met de natuur te verdiepen door je vertrouwd te maken met een grote variëteit aan nuttige kruiden en planten die in je naaste omgeving groeien, vaak zonder dat je er weet van hebt. De cursus is ontwikkeld voor mensen die in stedelijke gebieden op het noordelijk halfrond wonen, maar is ook geschikt voor degenen die op andere plaatsen wonen.
Je kunt op elk gewenst moment beginnen met de cursus. Het duurt ongeveer een jaar om de cursus af te ronden, maar je kunt er zo lang over doen als je wilt. Deze cursus is niet geaccrediteerd en is niet bedoeld om je op te leiden om een praktijk in klinische kruidengeneeskunde te voeren. Je krijgt een certificaat als je de cursus hebt afgerond en een eindverslag hebt ingeleverd (dit kan meerdere vormen aannemen, dus maak je geen zorgen als schrijven niet je sterkste punt is). Tijdens deze cursus leer je om kruiden en planten op een weloverwogen manier te gebruiken. Daarnaast helpt deze cursus je om je band met de natuur verder te ontwikkelen, ongeacht de plek waar je woont.
Online cursus of combinatie online + praktijk Deze stadskruidencursus kan worden gevolgd als online cursus of in combinatie met workshops die elk kwartaal in Amsterdam worden gegeven en een halve dag duren. Bij beide methodes krijg je volop persoonlijke ondersteuning van Lynn en kun je lid worden van de cursisten-chatgroep. Je beslist zelf hoeveel tijd je wilt besteden aan de cursus. Lynn raadt aan om elke week een paar uur aan de cursus te besteden: deze tijd heb je nodig om het cursusmateriaal te lezen en om aan de cursusactiviteiten te werken. Je bent uiteraard vrij om naar eigen inzicht meer of minder tijd eraan te besteden. De aantekeningen zijn altijd online te bekijken en als je Lynn een e-mail stuurt, doet ze haar best om hier binnen 24 uur op te reageren.
Opzet van de cursus Als cursist krijg je 8 keer per jaar toegang tot een nieuwe bundel studie-eenheden. Elke module bevat 8 studie-eenheden met interessant leesmateriaal, korte video’s, links naar websites met nog meer informatie en allerlei leuke activiteiten die je helpen bij je leerproces en waarmee je je nieuwe vaardigheden kunt toepassen. De onderdelen bouwen op elkaar voort en zijn zodanig opgezet dat je veilig en vol vertrouwen aan de slag kunt gaan met planten die in jouw omgeving groeien.
Als je feedback wilt, kun je opmerkingen en vragen over de activiteiten per e-mail naar Lynn sturen – je bent uiteraard niet verplicht om dit te doen. Er is ook een speciale cursisten-chatgroep waar je op informele wijze informatie uit kunt wisselen met anderen.
Je bent alleen verplicht een eindverslag te schrijven als je een certificaat wilt behalen na voltooiing van de cursus. Dit verslag kan op verschillende manieren gestalte krijgen en is toegespitst op jouw favoriete manier van leren.
Stadskruiden – Wildplukken. Basiskennis plantkunde. Plantenfamilies. Plantprofielen voor belangrijke stadskruiden.
Werken met kruiden – Veiligheid, verantwoordelijkheid en legaliteit. Huismiddeltjes maken. Eerste hulp met kruiden. Voedzame kruiden.
Kruiden kweken – Creatieve manieren om kruiden te kweken in kleine en grote ruimtes, openbaar en privé.
Geneeswijzen – Genezen op een veilige en verstandige manier. “Kruidenvrouw & kruidenman”-systeem.
Keltisch jaarwiel – Op de natuur gebaseerde spiritualiteit. Viering van de 8 Keltische festivals. Kruiden en recepten per seizoen.
Cursisten dienen een aantal aantekenboekjes aan te schaffen (om hun werk vast te leggen) en een handboek voor wilde bloemen te kopen (in hun eigen taal, metdetermineertabellen) voor de regio waarin ze wonen. Ter indicatie: My favourite wild flower key kost ca. €29 (nieuwprijs).
Bij elke module worden bepaalde boeken getipt als je je verder wilt verdiepen, maar je bent niet verplicht om deze boeken aan te schaffen. Er is ontzettend veel informatie beschikbaar via het internet; online kun je extra materiaal bekijken zonder kosten te hoeven maken. De ervaring heeft mij geleerd dat veel van mijn cursisten extra boeken kopen of lenen naarmate ze meer modules afgerond hebben. Ik heb zelf in de loop der jaren een kleine bibliotheek vol prachtige boeken over kruiden, planten en de natuur verzameld, maar dat wil beslist niet zeggen dat ik dit ook van mijn cursisten verwacht! De nadruk ligt tijdens deze cursus vooral op het correct herkennen van de planten, zodat je er veilig mee aan de slag kunt.
Een kerndoel van deze cursus is: leren dat kruidenpreparaten gemaakt kunnen worden in vrijwel elke keuken, met weinig spullen en beperkte ruimte. Je hebt geen speciale apparaten nodig, al kan het handig zijn om extra keukengerei aan te schaffen voor specifieke bewerkingen. Lynn is als actieve permaculturist een sterke voorstander van het hergebruiken van spullen. Zo kunnen oude jampotten worden gebruikt om dingen in te bewaren en zijn gekookte oude lakens handig om mee te filteren. Maar je kunt natuurlijk ook weckpotten en kaasdoek aanschaffen, als je daar liever mee werkt. Lynn stimuleert je om kleine hoeveelheden lokaal geplukte kruiden te gebruiken, in plaats van deze te kopen – maar ook hier geldt: de keus is aan jou. Je beslist dus helemaal zelf hoe ver je wilt gaan met het toepassen van de principes van deze stadskruidencursus.
De cursusleider Lynn Shore leert haar cursisten om kruiden en planten op een duurzame manier te plukken en op een verstandige manier te gebruiken, in harmonie met het ritme van de natuur. Ze organiseert wandelingen, geeft lezingen en cursussen (voornamelijk in Amsterdam) en is parttime docente op een internationale school. Lynn heeft meer dan 20 jaar ervaring op het gebied van planten en kruiden. Ze heeft gestudeerd bij de Amerikaanse ‘wise woman’ Susun Weed, heeft veel over permacultuur geleerd van Patrick Whitefield en Permaculture Visions, en magGlennie Kindred tot haar mentor rekenen. Ze is een OBOD Ovate en heeft een masterdiploma in Public Health (2010).
Lynn is initiator van diverse projecten, zoals Urbanherbology.org (sinds 2010) en River of Herbs (sinds 2012). Lynn is een groot voorstander van ‘lifelong learning’ en is momenteel bezig met een opleiding in Social & Therapeutic Horticulture viaThrive UK.
Lynn is in 2011 in Amsterdam begonnen met het geven van cursussen op het gebied van stadskruiden . Vanwege de grote belangstelling heeft ze besloten een online/combinatiecursus te ontwikkelen, zodat ook mensen die buiten Amsterdam (of in het buitenland) wonen, kunnen profiteren van haar kennis en ervaring. Lynn kijkt ernaar uit om je als cursist te verwelkomen en je te begeleiden op je pad door de wilde kruidenwereld!
Betaalmethodes Online cursus: €320 (bij betaling in 8 termijnen) of €300 (bij betaling ineens).
Inbegrepen in de kosten: online cursusmateriaal, deelname aan de discussiegroep en
schriftelijke feedback van Lynn (bij opdrachten en in de discussiegroep). Betaling via PayPal of bankoverschrijving.
Workshops voor cursisten:
€40 per workshop.
Er zijn vier workshops per jaar die elk een halve dag duren. Alle workshops zijn facultatief.
Locatie: Amsterdam (voor de workshops in 2016). Betaling via PayPal of bankoverschrijving.
Inschrijven voor de cursus
Als je wilt deelnemen aan de cursus, stuur Lynn dan een e-mail. Je kunt haar ook bellen op +31 (0) 6275 969 30.
Nota bene: Als je klikt op “Deze cursus volgen”, krijg je geen e-mail toegestuurd. Door te klikken op deze knop krijg je de inleidingen van de modules te zien.
Here are some of the questions which people have been asking about it and my responses:
Can I join any time or am I too late? Have I missed a start date?
You are very welcome to join my apprenticeship course any time. It is certainly not too late. I have set it up so that people can join at any time. All that you need to do is follow the link on my website Shop to make whichever payment suits you best. Then I will email you the passwords for the first online units. I will send the most appropriate Wheel of the Year unit along with the first unit for the other modules (Growing, Crafting, Healing and Foraging).
If you start now (February), you can work through the first set of units until Spring Equinox (about March 21st) and then I’ll send you the next unit passwords. There is no time limit on how long it takes you and you will always have access but it can be done comfortably in one year. The workshops are planned so that I can meet any apprentices who would like to come to Amsterdam and work on the skills together. They are optional. The dates are on my events page.
I clicked on “Take this course”. Why doesn’t anything happen? When you click on “Take this course”, nothing much seems to happen but it does give you access to the welcome pages for each module on my course. This allows you to find out more about the course content. You email any questions to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and payment is made through this page. When your payment is received, I will email you with the first module passwords.
I live in California, is this course suitable for my region?
The course is aimed at people living in any geographical region. I love to travel so as well as my N. European experience, I have spent time working with wild plants in India, Brasil, Tenerife, Bali, North America and the Mediterranean. These experiences have helped to shape this course. As you have probably seen the course is split into 5 modules. The Crafting module is useful wherever you live – how to make lots of products from herbs with only a tiny kitchen needed. The foraging module looks at common skills for harvesting plants in all parts of the world and also focuses on key plant families which are really useful for foragers everywhere. Those families are present world wide and part of the course is to locate family plants in your local area. So it is wide and yet brings you close to plants at home. I use a lot of material from North America myself and this is mentioned on the course so it should really help you. Quite a number of North American herbalists have been to visit me in Amsterdam, to work or forage with me and I travel quite a bit. So I am quite certain that it is broad enough for people in many different regions and climates. The Wheel of the Year module is based on Celtic and neo-pagan nature based practices. Again, these are useful around the world. California is above the equator, so although the weather is so much nicer than where I live, the Celtic festival material remains the same. People living in the southern hemisphere will receive different units to match their seasons. The Healing module is based on my learnings from Susun Weed (from NY state), other American wise women/men, English wise women/men and herbalists and of course my own experience. The Growing module takes you through how to plan, grow and care for a herb garden in your own locality. So your Growing module work will reflect what is available close to your home and what you are interested in.
But I live in the countryside, is the course suitable for me?
I live in an apartment in Amsterdam right now but until 11 years ago I was a country girl living in a cottage on the edge of a UK National Park. I love city life and I also love the countryside. I get out there whenever I can and love working with the plants there but I do find all that I need right here in the urban environment. Wherever I am, my principles and practices remain the same. What changes is which herbs are more abundant and attractive to me in each location. The course is mainly aimed at people who want to embrace herbal work in towns and cities but it does also suits people who live in the countryside. If you want to work with herbs which grow around you then this course has a great deal to offer you. I have had it tested by contacts in all sorts of areas in different parts of the world.
Is this just an online version of your apprenticeship notes?
No, this is very different and much improved! I have completely reorganised and developed my face-to-face course material. I have been offering that for several years in Amsterdam and of course I was always able to look over my apprentices shoulders as they made their preparations and talk things through with them. An online course needs to be much richer to compensate for not being in face-to-face contact. My aim when creating this course was to provide a very similar experience, allowing the new apprentices to feel that I very close by if needed. It has taken me a long time to write this course as I wanted and to be certain that can effectively teach people and empower them, wherever they live. So this material is much richer. It has more detailed notes, a discussion group, fast email contact with me and contains videos and many images to help my online apprentices.
Is the course available in Dutch?
It will be! One of my Amsterdam apprentices is currently working on translating the material in to Nederlands. If you are especially interested in this, please email me and I will let you know when the Dutch version is available. I do speak Dutch but I’m not so good at writing it. So feel free to email me in Dutch if that is easier for you. Email: email@example.com
I missed the February start date. Can I join the course?
Yes! You can begin whenever you choose because there are no set start dates. I will send you the first set of access codes whenever you sign up. You will then be able to access the first units about Crafting, Foraging, Healing, Gardening and the most recent Wheel of the Year unit.
In recent years, I have disappointed many people when my apprenticeship course became so quickly full or because they couldn’t make every meeting or because they lived too far away. So, after much thought and planning I am about to launch a blended learning version of my course! I am very excited about this and hope that it will hit the spot for those people who repeatedly try to join my apprenticeship course but just can’t get in as well as the folk in other places who are inquisitive about Urban Herbology. The course is made up of 8 modules, each linked to a different Celtic festival time. It covers herb crafting, foraging, healing systems, wheel of the year and urban herb gardening. Apprentices will be able to follow the course at home or in combination with up to 4 optional half day workshops in Amsterdam.