Today is the hottest day of the year, ever; since records began in UK, Germany and Netherlands. My friend (and local DJ & florist) Lynne and I had arranged to meet for a follow up to a group walk I lead during Hither Green week 2018. Our aim was to increase our learning through the natural environment in the park. We set out early this morning, in a vain attempt to avoid the heat of the of the day but it soon became apparent that we needed to seek extra shade. Our mutual love of flowers and foliage lead us to explore the many beautiful areas that the community garden has to offer (whilst being mindful of the notices to leave the produce).
The contrast from festival field to town life is vast. To dispel the mass, wide feelings of personal and public overwhelm, taking a ‘dip’ into a natural, ecological environment, restores our inner peace, not miles away from home. Whether staying locally through choice or avoiding flying, there are many pleasures to be found in the local landscape.
The power of nature to restore us in our right mind and the role it plays in our positive mental health and well-being reminds me of a cartoon which depicts a person forest bathing, laying on the grass, gazing upwards, who explains that he is re-charging, his ‘device’ and the power to re-charge us, is none other than the sky… in a technologically superior age, it’s ever apparent that we need to engage with this element to regain a sense of peace inside ourselves. Like the devices so often used we too need this recharge to benefit from the best that health has to offer us.
Walking barefoot: taking off our shoes and sandles to safely feel the grass/water/soil/sand beneath our feet also acts as ‘grounding’ and feels empowering.
A female blackbird hops past with a breakfast in her beak. We explore the area and our belief in being positive with nature helps us to feel happier, in our place. Despite still being in the UK, as opposed to foreign climes, the enjoyment and appreciation of an enchanting wild space surprisingly increases and enhances our morning.
We find yarrow, for salads and stem blood flow, both wide & narrow plantain. Lynne later uses the leaves to provide relief from an earlier mosquito bite, with great effect; the itching and swelling ceases. There are green elder berries with rich burgundy stems ripening on the tree, which will be ready to eat well in advance of September. When they have turned deep burgundy red, they supply us with vitamin C which boosts our immunity and supports us against colds in the winter months ahead. The Cardoons’ mauve flowers tower 7-8’ above us.
Lemon balm (Melissa) grows in thickets and soothes our senses- a perfect addition to an infusion (cup of hot water infused flowers & leaves).
Blackberries are ripening at an increasing rate side by side with beautiful urtica dioica – stinging nettles. The time for fertility has arrived and their seed heads boast a bounty of delicate protein rich seeds.
Later the female blackbird swoops past us, as if in confirmation of our discussions.
The scent of a multitude of roses from the rose garden wafts over in our direction and we both inhale, deeply, smiling at the subtlety in the heat of the day. We leave feeling more renewed, if not somewhat hotter, than when we first began.
in Mountsfield Park (for more details on this park, contact FOMP)
Today I picked yarrow, plantain, mallow
Fresh versus Dried flowers
Creating a mutual understanding with creatures; how Lynne avoided being stung:
Contact Theresa Webb for individual 1:1 seasonal wild food foraging sessions locally/in your area.