Ivy, growing up around the trunk of a street tree. The council gardening team will catch up with this one sometime soon and will trim the ivy back. So a good idea to do it yourself, if you have a climber such as this.
Here are a few of the plants, growing in my tree pit today:
This large leaved plant was a gift as a seed, from Elodie. I can’t transfer the name but it’s a fruiting plant, from Greece, I think. I must check, especially as I notice that birds have moved one of the original seeds to a neighbour’s geveltuin.
This is a Curry plant, looking and smelling a little like last week’s curry, rather than a fresh tikka masala, but come late sporting this will be a culinary herb to be reckoned with! I love a pinch of the leaves in a salad our cooked into many different dishes. I find the scent fragrant and mildly spicy. Quite delicious and very easy to grow and take cuttings from.
And lastly today, several easy to multiply bunches of Grape hyacinth, developing their floppy, messy foliage, in preparation for the unique blue flower spikes. I didn’t realise until lately that this popular little plant has some historical uses. None are very interesting to me these days, especially as the bulb is poisonous. But the fact that the flowers are nectar rich and very useful to bees, is interesting.
You’ll also see easy to grow Ivy, in the photo and a strange plastic tube which I’m told, is there to aerate the soil around the young tree roots.
Today simply Rosehips and Ivy (Hedera helix), with lots of Hydrangea in the middle. I’ve never considered Hydrangea to be a useful herb before but apparently it also has quite a few medicinal uses – well historically at least.
Today some Ivy berries (Hedera helix). I don’t think they are edible – I don’t fancy trying them even if they are but the plant in general is sometimes useful externally an agent to help rid the body of cellulite. The pom-pom flowers come late in the year and are a useful source of pollen for insects and now come the striking purple-black berries.
A stroll around my neighbourhood, led me to some very useful plants and a poisonous one, today…
Firstly, Annual Nettle (Urticaria urens). Full of nutrients, rather like it’s better known perennial sister but with less ferocious stings. If you are used to seeing Stinging nettle (Urtica dioica) around town you may notice that this annual has more toothed leaf edges.
Next is a handsome, deep rooted Dandelion (Taraxacum officinalis agg.)
Then a strong, protective Ivy plant (Hedera helix) in full autumn insect feeding bloom.
Here is a lively patch of vitamin packed Chickweed (Stellaria media) making three most of a protective playground fence.
Here’s a tiny Hollyhock seedling, growing in a pavement crack.
I also liked the look of this decorative (and edible) Pansy (Viola tricolor).
And a lovely nutritious Mallow growing against the building where I live.
Lastly a striking plant which I’m quite sure is a poisonous nightshade. This one seems to be used as a decorative addition to pavement garden. I will try to find it’s name but think it is sometimes called Love Apple, Nicandra spp.
I managed to get an enormous dog poop on my bicycle whilst taking this photo today! Worth it though. This is just a fraction of the mature Ivy (NL: Klimop, Hedera helix) which is currently lying beside the Middenweg, alongside the cycle and footpaths that pass by Park Frankendael. It got me quite excited, I need Ivy wood of a decent thickness and fresh, to complete my Ogham stick set. So now I have some. Not sure what Ogham sticks are? Have a look at the work of Glennie Kindred. They are rather like Rune Stones, a simple way of coding information which can be used to answer intuitive questions. The symbols have been found on Druid artifacts. No one can be certain of how they were used but it’s clear that the tree Ogham represented common trees. Ivy requires other trees to grow tall but it does none the less.
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.
Today I harvested a few handfuls of Red Clover blossoms to make a small jar of tincture, three large leaves of Ground elder, to chop finely and add to our dinner and sat quietly in a beautiful, tiny grove, within the woodland part of park Frankendael.
The grove is somewhere I’ve walked by many times, have harvested little from and yet it drew me completely within itself today. This place has a wonderful energy about it, filled with sounds of the city and yet, cool, shaded, green, earthy, nurturing and sheltering. Sounds of birds chattering around me, branches crack as squirrels and other small animals climb around. Just the place to launch the apprenticeship course, I think. To sit on the ground here is a beautiful experience. I smell Ivy all around me and feel supportive earth beneath me. It is a magical place.
I feel delighted that I will have an opportunity to take several people there, to share my love of this place and of the plants which choose to live in the city.
We found our first ripe Hawthorn berries of the season today. On the cut-in footpath alongside De Kas side of Park Frankendael. If they come off the shrub, with leaves attached, they are not quite ready. We found lots on the ground, which had fallen, ripe, from the hedge. They do require a little preparation but are worth the effort as a foraged food and as a hedgerow medicine.
Next is a small Mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris) perennial.
Ivy (Hedera helix) plants are looking particularly beautiful at present. They have large and fascinating flowerheads forming. they are not for eating but the leaves are sometimes used in anti cellulite treatments. It’s easy to make an infused oil with the leaves.
Lastly a beautiful, swaying Weeping Willow tree. Still offering a chance for herbal pain relief. It’s very simple to make a tincture from the tendrils.