ABUNDANT FLORA IN JANUARY

Just while walking along one road, the coast road of my walk on the first of this year, I found so many wild plants in flower that I would like to share a gallery of them. Meanwhile I am doing some research on them individually and have already come across some interesting facts. It is a great pleasure to become more intimately connected with the Mediterranean flora and to learn more about them. While I was young I studied botany with a teach yourself book, but right during my life-time wild plants, flowers and herbs, and their medicinal and other properties have been of great interest to me, and it gives me great pleasure to learn more about this all the time. By observation as much as by reading, researching and learning about them. The beauty of these wild flowers and the joy of finding them along a walk cannot be underestimated in everyday life, I feel very grateful to have the opportunity.

SAGE GARLAND

Today I decided that it was time to cut down my very large Sage plant so that the young shoots could start to grow and produce more harvest for the coming season. I gathered it all inside and started to divide it in branches that I wanted to dry for use to burn as cleansers around the room after the winter, and lots of the leaves to use as tea and make a tincture or use in various other ways, like cooking. I would use a leaf of Sage to put in the pan if ever I fry something, but I also use it in soups and in other meals. According to a variety of sources, and one of them is my Herbal course; http://www.herbmentor.com there is a wide variety that Sage can be used for. In the medieval times it used to be said, I quote; “why should a man die while sage grows in his garden?”. Yes, Sage has many medicinal qualities, it is an astringent herb and has antiseptic qualities.  Among other things It is believed that as an herbal steam it can help to decongest the sinuses and loosen congestion in the lungs.

Anyway, I was sitting with all this Sage for a long time, plucking the leaves and cleaning it ready for drying, it was a satisfactory job to do today, the scent of the Sage hit my nostrils and that was pleasant, it reminded me of being in Portugal last year and how the herbal scents would be so strong and lovely there, of course the sun would bring the scents out.
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So now the branches are hanging up to dry.

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These are the leaves for tea, use in cooking or gargles and other uses.

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The garland of Sage is making this room feel rather nice, it is all part of living rural, and of using the bit of garden to grown our own produce including herbs.  So satisfying, interesting, and wonderful.

GORSE SYRUP & THE BOOK “WILD FOOD”

Recently I have had a book out from the library called “Wild Food” written by Biddy White Lennon, and Evan Doyle, a brilliant little book (256pages) and I have found it very interesting and useful. It features many recipes of wild foods, and great recipes on preserving wild berries and other fruits. I received copyright (for one month) to copy one of its more intriguing recipes, which I am certainly going to try out soon.
The plant Gorse (Ulex Europaeus,Linn) which grows abundantly here in West Cork, has a lovely scent and bright yellow coloured flowers, and it is shown to have more uses than one. In the above mentioned book it has a recipe for Gorse syrup made of the flowers. But the plant is also known for it’s bright yellow dye also made from the flowers, I personally have also heard of it’s use in soap making and for making tea.

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The Gorse flower

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MY HERBAL COURSE ~ HAWTHORN BERRY HONEY

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Today I have tried out a recipe for Hawthorn berry honey which I learnt in my herbal course in Herb Mentor (by LearningHerbs)  So here is what I did:  I took the berries which I had harvested from the Hawthorn tree in the garden, and I smashed them a little, so that the juice could mix with the honey.  A waft of lovely rather heavy wooden scent came floating towards me while I was doing that.  It’s so simple to make, you put the berries into a clean jar and cover it with honey, making sure that it is mixed well.  Important –  Don’t crush the seeds inside the berries.  Strain after 24 hours or so, and use a little.  It is supposed to be good for the heart it says, but I am not taking responsibility for people’s individual decisions of use while on medicines or while ill.  Always consult a doctor before using such strong herbal concoctions.

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