Tag Archives: Garlic mustard

365 Frankendael day 363

Garlic Mustard seems to be everywhere at the moment, and Stinging Nettle and Ground Ivy! I didn’t take very many photos today but here is a pavement crack full of minty, flowering Ground Ivy (Glechoma hederacae):


I picked a small handful to make tea, from a lovely clean woodland edge.

And here is a very windy photo of Cleavers (Gallium aparine), which is also everywhere I look at present, on the ground at least. Soon it will start to scale up shrubs and wire fences, becoming very visible to everyone.

I didn’t take any Nettle photos today – was to busy picking them. Plenty of them are ready for making infusions, pasta and whatever else you fancy.


Here above is Burdock (Artica lappa, NL: Klit). An extremely useful herb. Well worth learning what you can do with it. I’m not one for harvesting roots in the city but all parts of the plant are useful to some degree. Here’s a useful Burdock link.


And lastly, Dock (Rumex sp). Where I come from, everyone knows that rubbing Dock on a Nettle sting, takes the firey pain away. But there are far more users for this edible plant. At this time of year, and if you don’t suffer from Gout, Rheumatism or other uric acid related ailments, you may fancy cooking a dock leaf or three as a sour tasting vegetable. It contains oxalic acid, as in sorrel and rhubarb. So it tastes sour and shouldn’t be consumed too often.


365 Frankendael day 331- River of Herbs


It was the second River of Herbs meeting today and we took a stroll through part of park Frankendael, hunting for Molehills.

I used a few hills to build a lovely aerated soil mound around my geveltuin Lavender shrub. Molehills generally contain lovely rich soil – just the thing to encourage the Lavender to set down roots along it’s aging branches, for new plants to form.

We removed a few wild garlic plants from a path in the park, where they never reach maturity due to foot traffic and gardening. These babies will have new homes with Urban Herbies in shady balconies and pavement gardens.


There is plenty of Yellow Archangel to be seen (or eaten) at the moment.


And this looks like Garlic mustard early leaves to me… I can’t wait (but must) for these plants to bolt upward and produce absolutely delicious leaves!


Here’s a photo of one of our first River of Herbs projects… Edible and medicinal Violas and Primroses. Not obtained from the wild, cultivated varieties.


Thanks everyone who came for your help and inspiring ideas and enthusiasm!

UPDATE: Next Meeting – Starting at Mercatoplein
Please see this event link to River of Herbs website.

365 Frankendael day 199

We took a walk in between the rain showers today and saw the Urban Outsiders exhibition being packed away. Hard to focus on much other than Ginkgo nuts at present (dreaming of them being swept away by the road cleaners before we can get to them!) But here are a few other plants from the park…


Lovely delicate yet wooly Marsh mallow (Althaea officinalis) still flowering here and there but mainly gone to seed. Such a useful soothing plant.


Thanks Dana for posting a lovely photo of this plant on Facebook recently. I didn’t know it so got hunting and found it is called Euonymus and is not edible.


It is pretty enough for restaurant Merkelbach to use in their table decorations today though. A nice escape from the rain – again!


Here is a taste of one of the best things to come in spring – Garlic mustard (Alliaria petiolata). Oh what a wonderful herb! I’m holding back from foraging any as the moment as these plants really need to build strength to get through the winter and then hopefully they will really flourish next year.

365 Frankendael day 164

Today a few useful plants growing around the bike racks just inside of park Frankendael…

Seedheads of Garlic Mustard (Allitaria ). Too late to harvest many now but a good indication of where their successors will grow.


Beautiful Hawthorn (Craetagus monogyna) berries (Haws).


Ground elder (Aegopodium podograria), in it’s last edible throws before dying back for the winter.


Ivy (Hedera helix), always useful as an external skin stimulant, not for eating.


A Garlic mustard plant in it’s first (non flowering) season. A space to watch next spring.


365 Frankendael day 114

Beautiful weather today and a lovely stroll through the park.

Day Lilies (Hemerocallis fulva), beautiful, edible flowers, not to be confused with standard Lilies which are highly toxic. Please scroll through the photos on day 75 to see what they look like.

Garlic mustard (Aliaria petiolata) growing out of some dirt on a woodland bridge.

Garlic mustard seedlings, coming up for a second edible crop of the year. This is a biennial plant so although there is not enough time for these seedlings to mature and set seed before the frosts, they should survive and flower next year. Probably best to forage only from the second year plants (which are now almost over, foraging wise).

Motherwort (Leonurus cardiaca) is setting seed and what spiky seed heads they are proving to be! If you need to harvest some, it’s probably best to have gloves on and shake the seeds straight into a paper bag. I gave up trying today and threw the few I collected into nearby soil.

It’s still going strong in some areas: Ground Elder (Aegopodium podograria).

First year Burdock (Artica lappa). This is what is needed if harvesting the medicinal and nutritious Burdock roots, is your mission.


Fat hen growing In the shelter of a Beech hedge.

365 Frankendael day 103

I walked to the local Intratuin garden centre today, to buy a few edible houseplants. Intratuin is on the edge of Park Frankendael. My mission was fruitful; a small banana plant, a Tea plant, Coffee and an Orange. I hope that I’ll be able to provide these plants with the conditions they need to thrive. Will be harvesting just a few young tea leaves in a week or so, if all goes well. I tweeted a photo of the Tea plant (Camellia sinensis) this afternoon, if you’d like a look…

On the way, I found this lovely patch of Garlic mustard (Alliaria petiolata), close to a road so not my usual harvesting location but dry as a bone and bearing thousands of ripe seeds. I stripped about a hundred seeds from the plants in no more than two minutes. It barely made a dent in the number of seeds availableon and as I collected, many were blown away by the wind. I secured my seed harvest within a fold of purse fabric and continued my journey to the garden centre.

Now is a great time to look out for seeds ripening on your favorite plentiful city herbs. I’d love to know if any one else has been quietly collecting a few local seeds. If so, what catches your eye, how are you storing them and what do you plan to do with them?

Hollyhocks are next on my list of sought after seeds. They seem to germinate very easily in the sandy Amsterdam ground, can be used to produce useful home remedies and I think that they are amazingly beautiful.

365 Frankendael day 75

I went for an earlier walk in the park today and was rewarded by finding the freshest and most delicious Lime (Tilia) flowers that I have ever harvested.  Here’s the tree they came from.  I turned them into a tea and shared it with the painters and my little girl.  Lime tea is especially good on a warm summer day like today. It is cooling and refreshing.

Here’s a neighbouring Tilia tree in the park. It must be a different variety as everything about it is a little smaller than most Tilia in the park and the the leaves are a little darker.  The flowers are also placed slightly differently on the twigs. I don’t know so much about the different varieties but I do know that Tilia tastes good and is very beneficial.

Next is a harmonious grassland combination of Plantain, Yarrow and Red clover in bloom.  I set off today hoping to find enough Yarrow to make a tick-deterring tincture. I got rather side tracked by other herbs and in the end, didn’t notice enough to harvest. So instead of tincturing, two flower stalks are brightening up a small vase on my dining table.  It’s good to remember just how many ways there are to benefit from flowers.

Here are two of my favourite things, my little girl and a huge Brassica plant.  As with most naturalised and wild brassicas, all parts are edible and quite strong tasting. Just a carefully picked leaf or two should liven up a meal.  (Thanks Jennie for correcting me on this one, I thought it was Wild Cabbage but that only grows near the coasts on chalky soil). This one may be Rapseed (Brassica napus). My friend Jennie Akse is running a herb walk focused on edible yellow flowering plants, around in Amsterdam at present.  Have a look at the Meetup group for details.

Here is a herb that I find quite wondrous, Dark Mullein (Verbascum nigrum). Useful for many disorders, such as lung weakness and infection and most popular, I think, as an ear infection remedy.

Next up today is another herbal harmony, Veronica‘s towering blue spires mixed with more Mullien, Mugwort and Agrimony.

Here are some striking and Poisonous Lilies, in the formal garden behind Frankendael Huis and Merkelbach.  I add this photo because yesterday I featured the very edible Daylily (Hemerocallis fulva), which can look very similar to the uninitiated.  All parts of Lily are toxic. I have never thought about eating this type of plant but I find the pollen, when trapped in a living room with it for instance, very irritating.

Here is Catnip (Nepta sp). A member of the mint family, it can be used in similar refreshing ways. I like to make a sinus blasting pesto with it sometimes. It has many uses and is quite easy to grow.  Many will already know about cat’s affinity to this herb.  Some love it and find it quite a turn on, others seem to lack receptivity to it and many show more of a loved-up reaction to Valerian.

Another minty wonder is shown below, the often overlooked and trampled Ground Ivy (Glechoma hederacea). The pretty purple flower spikes are gone from most of the plants now but just look at that rich foliage! Now is a good time to harvest and use it or dry it for the winter. But why bother when this ground covering  plant is around all year long?

Next is a delicious Garlic Mustard plant (Alliaria petiolata), showing different stages of seed pod development. This is a wonderfully tasty herb to add to all sorts of cooking.  It is also great used as a salad leaf or flower.  Looking at these seed pods reminds me of why it’s a pity to harvest the flowers of this super biennial.  Less flowers, less seeds, less plants next year.

Next is a large plant which I’ve been hunting for some time – a first year Burdock (Arctium lappa), ripe for root harvesting.  It seemed that all the Burdock in Amsterdam were second years, in bloom and not very nutritious or medicinal.  Now that the council have mowed some patches of the park, some first year Burdock have been kindly left to develop.  I won’t be digging this plant up but it’s good to see it and be reassured that a first year plant is easy to identify.

Lastly today, a type of Hyssop (Hyssopus sp.).  I used this plant quite a lot last year, it is very aromatic and makes good tea. I’ll have a careful look at this one again soon to identify it fully.

365 Frankendael day 66

Here is beautiful and extremely poisonous native climber called White Bryony (Bryonia alba), which I noticed today in a shady Frankendael hedgerow, growing over some Stinging Nettles. This is a new place for me to spot the plant. It also luxuriates throughout the woodland quarter of the park, where I see it a lot. It grows all around the city and thrives with something to scramble up and over, so it is often found against fences, hedges and shrubs. At the moment, whilst in flower it is even easier to identify.

Above is Yarrow (Achillia millefolium), flowering all over the city at present. A very useful and tasty herb. Known as Nosebleed in some parts, it has the ability to staunch or start bleeding. Not one for pregnancy or infancy. A prized women’s herb.

I thought I’d take this photo today to show how easy it can be to confuse plants. It shows Pensylvannian Pellitory (Parietaria pensylvanica) my neighbours’ dog’s favourite, growing beside a seed-setting White Deadnettle ( Lamium alba). Both are edible and both are, amongst other things, both are diuretics. Do you know which is which?

Lastly today, here is a sure sign that the main Garlic Mustard (Alliaria petoilata) season is coming to an end. Today I spotted lots of very yellow looking plants, putting all their remaining energy into seed production, rather than those delicious leaves. So if you have a penchant for this plant, now is the time to harvest from the small, younger plants . Please remember to leave the plants with plenty of foliage and the seed pods intact. That way, hopefully we can all benefit from a good crop next year.