Here’s my latest rooftop planting creation: A simple tower of three plastic plant pots, packed with plenty of molehill soil and organic compost.
The plants used are babies from those we grow already on the roof, except the tiny Wormwood, which I found growing in between street pavers. I planted a mixture of Strawberries, Wormwood, Lady’s Mantle, Strawberry scented Mint, Sedum reflexum and Yarrow. All of these plants are edible and most have medicinal properties as you will see from the links.
This is a simple way to plant vertically, creating herb habitats offering areas of relative shade and wind shelter, little space for weed seeds to settle and it is easy to tend – all very handy on a small plot.
I’ll see how these plants fair and will no doubt add or substitute others as time goes on. It’s my equivalent of a premaculture herb spiral, something I covet but just don’t have space for at home.
Here’s the beautiful (and enormous) Strawberry tower at Jeugdland in Amsterdam Oost. I wrote about it last year. Now that would make a fabulous herb tower!
I passed by Flevopark this afternoon and saw masses of Wild Garlic, still looking very good! At the front of the photo you may be able to see lots of Elder (Sambucus nigra) shrubs, just coming into leaf.
At the nearby childrens farm and outdoor play centre there were some lovely wild plants and cultivated ones.
Here’s the strawberry planter that I noticed last year..
My favourite find of the day, Coltsfoot (Tussilago farfara). It makes a wonderful mild but effective remedy for coughs. Here’s a link to Susun Weed harvesting and preparing it for such a purpose. Making Coltsfoot honey is very easy and very useful.
Coltsfoot is of the same family as Butterbur and Fuki which I’ve been noticing a lot lately. All of these plants send up flowers before their kidney shaped leaves. All are quite striking. I’ve never found enough Coltsfoot in Amsterdam to harvest but I’ll keep on hoping.
Here’s a plentiful herb which nobody ever minds me harvesting – Stinging Nettle (Urtica dioica). It is getting better by the day at present.
And lastly today, another plant I was delighted to find on our trip today. These are the cones of an Alder tree (Alnus sp). Alder is the only deciduous tree which bears cones. I’m saving lots which I collected from the ground today, to help create a well dressing. Glennie Kindred has helped revive this ancient craft and I’ll be having a go at making one very soon in Amsterdam. Scroll through the 18 images on that link and you’ll see how the cones are used – quite stunning! Alder comes were traditionally used to create the edges or lines of the designs.
Alder also bears beautiful catkins, giving more than a hint that it belongs to the Birch family. I found a branch of Italian Alder on the ground in Oud Zuid a few weeks ago. That is now growing lovely leaves in a base of water at home. Still no roots though.