Walking the dog this morning, I was enjoying the soft spring day and feeling optimistic, fresh and energised. The Spring Equinox is almost upon us and we should be feeling balanced and in harmony and ready for anything, as there are so many spring tonic herbs available at the moment. I decided on my walk to stalk Nature, to creep up on Her and see what She was up to. She was up to quite a lot – it is amazing just how many opportunities there are for health and well being along the boreen that I walk. Some of the wild herbs are in my book The Weed Handbook Volume 1 and others are in my new book, The Weed Handbook Volume 2. (Both available from this web site – just a hint!!)
As I walked along I came across lots of Dandelion, shining very brightly despite the grey, overcast day.
Thanks to so many people getting the word out, I suspect almost everyone now knows that the Dandelion is a vital food source for the bees recently out of hibernation, not to mention how good it is for people.
Look at how bright and juicy these Blackberry or Bramble shoots are! Just brimming with life and very tasty in salads and juices, a real spring tonic.
Another spring tonic, the lovely Nettle. Full of chlorophyll and lots of nutrients. A perfect plant for building the blood after winter.
This is Honeysuckle or Woodbine. Honeysuckle is a powerful anti-viral so if you have a cold or ‘flu, collect some leaves and make yourself a cup of medicinal tea. You can find out more about her in The Weed Handbook Volume 2. I think last year she was in bud earlier so I am wondering if we can expect different weather this summer.
This little flower is known as Day’s Eye or Daisy and she is closing up as the day is so overcast. You can see the edges of the petals are tinged pink. My lovely aunt used to tell me, when I was a small child, that the pink was the remains of the flower’s lipstick after she had been to the Flower Ball. What other explanation could there be?
Usnea is a lichen that grows on trees here in Connemara thanks to the lovely fresh, clean air we enjoy and is a very powerful herbal medicine, treating all manner of infections as he is anti-fungal, anti-viral and anti-bacterial. There is really no need for anti-biotics if you get hold of some Usnea tincture. You can find out more about it here:-
This is Cleavers, one of my favourite herbs. Another spring tonic, Cleavers removes metabolic waste from the lymph system and from the blood. She is also making her appearance a little later than last year, in my neck of the woods. It pays to keep an eye on things I think , if we want to make any sense of the weather we are having these days.
When I arrived home I decided to have a look around the garden to see how things were coming along. Trees are in different stages of budding and it is so exciting looking at them. The cherries seem to be the earliest in my garden. I have Sour Cherry,
and Weeping Cherry,
and Wild Cherry, which is already in leaf!
This tree also has a fully opened flower.
I am in such a state of anticipation! I took lots more photographs – of Forsythia and Lilac, of Rowan buds and Guelder Rose. All the buds are so sweet and innocent, so vulnerable but SO full of potential too. It is no wonder we use the term “budding” when we refer to someone who is on the verge of becoming something wonderful. Nature is wonderful. It is hard at the moment to envisage the garden being colourful and vibrant again, but the tree buds and the stirring hedgerow greens bestow optimism and hope and that thrill of excitement that something is going to happen!!
Any trees in your garden in bud or flower yet?