I’m delighted that 3 of my recent garden plant paintings were selected and are on show in the online exhibition this month. I began sketching and painting flowers as a challenge during Lent and discovered that my neighbour, Deborah Masters, is the local artist and one of the curators. As a first time exhibitor, it’s wonderful to join. Her encouragement earlier on in the year during a quieter time gave me a boost and you’ll find my work at the end (alphabetical by artist). Discover the stories behind these works. All are available to purchase if you’d like to buy something to add to your collection. The show takes place next week, on 16th July.
Foraging: this week, we met at a distance of 2 m apart, in the rain. After a drizzly start, sharing news and hopes for future plans, as restrictions ease, walkers enjoyed a warm Elderflower infusion, made from the naturally air dried, locally collected flowers. This is a useful preservation technique. My Tuesday morning walks are shown live on Zoom and are open for all to enjoy by joining through
Music: this week I’m listening to Angélique Kidjo‘s version of the classic ‘Summertime’ song, which gives it an essential African/French twist, perfect for dancing to. Last year, I was fortunate to attend the Songlines International Music Awards ceremony, hosted by one of my favourite presenters, singer Cerys Matthews (Catatonia), where Angélique won a highly deserved award in her section. That was an amazing session!
Fitness: following the realisation that movement is emotionally beneficial, to release the energy within from being in; inside keeping movement and an oxygen flow is good for the body especially this summer. Enter Dancing Tao to the rescue; 5 Rhythms in our homes, this Friday night for a special transmission. Escape the rain and enjoy the therapeutic effects, of the 5 rhythms teacher with a unique DJ set.
Following the walking group on I’m delighted to share the news that we’re launching a new Ladies walking group Yoga club; off the mat ie outdoors, in a natural setting. I Prefer to stretch and exercise outdoors in nice weather and this is our aim, whilst social distancing. Since we can’t join indoor activities It’s an ideal time to play and explore new parts of common land outside.
We Meet In Forster Memorial Park on dry and preferably sunny, Tuesday mornings 11.30-12 noon. Bring a mat or rug to lie on. Payment appreciated and Donations are welcome.
My new fly tipping prevention notices were put up today, to reduce park rubbish, as Steven is the local head Litter picking volunteer. in the bottom end towards Bromley rd, We found new Lime tree, soon to bloom for a later harvest.
Theresa shares a cup of Chinese and English teas to strengthen the immune system, minus caffeine, with Chinese lecturer Hui (Grace). Comforting, scented and Hydrating; Local Infusions and international teas, are soothing to our mind, body and soul during the covid19 restriction period. We’re enjoying the simple pleasures in life.
Most of the seeds sown have germinated with the exception of lettuces; what to do with all these peppers! It’s soon give away time again.
The heat is on for a Tuesday socially distanced Walk for health; today we decided to take shade under the trees and From 11.30am-12.30pm practice a yoga routine with a meditation and play, by one of the trees.
We witness nature at first hand; relaxing under the boughs with our feet resting against the trunk. Birds are becoming more familiar and closer; male blackbirds, resting in the branches, field fares nibbling the flower buds, a robin, bees and a dragonfly darts about. We strengthen and develop our core balance with a variation of tree poses and swung safely in the branches.
Afterwards we found the bounteous Elderflowers around the outskirts of the park and began collecting, With the view in mind to leave any unopened buds to allow for pollination. This is extremely important, don’t pick them all! Take only what’s necessary for a drink. Nettle tips and seeds plus Linden blossom have begun to open and it’s perfect timing for these delicately scented flowers to add into a soothing drink; this feels like a warm hug in a mug!
More next week, for walks, yoga and seasonal foraging with myself, Steven and new Polish local gardener Pavil in Forster Park from 10.30am for an hour or more.
It’s always informative to hear the Live and recorded vegan organic network gardeners question time On Tuesday nights.
Other visits to arrange: Kew Gardens is open with a booking system in place.
In May I’m aware of my anniversary for choosing a vegan lifestyle for myself; 17 whole years!? It’s more extraordinary than I’d imagined, back in 2003. It took me to lie down, to rest late at night, desiring to fall asleep but instead I’m aware of a sensation. Something is stirring. Much like the birth of Spring with the sight of crocus… “Sing sing sing, for today it’s Spring”. Singing constantly keeps me focussed on my harmonies and being out in nature earth.
This past week has mainly involved the mass gathering of the soft, fluffy, delicate Elderflowers; hanging in clusters upon the trees, before turning into deep red berries.
They are a traditional medicine / remedy For hayfever. Their cluster structure of delicate branches are almost like veins is representative of human lungs; these flowers and later the berries are very supportive of our respiratory system, the lungs and our breath. Thus, use to treat colds or flu.
Today I walk with Grace, a Chinese scientist and we discover and collect 6 wild edible weeds; blackberries, nettles, cleavers, elderflowers, jack by the hedge and cow parsley. The start of our Tour is along the start of the green chain walk.
Since the enforced isolation in March, friends and I are sharing what we can; our plants, seeds and produce, specifically. As a National Park City Ranger, I now feel like I’m being gifted on a daily basis. Yesterday Paul, the Chair of London National Park City foundation offered me wildflower seeds for a re-wilding exercise in a local disused alleyway, watch this space… plus Basil seedlings in due course. At The Zoom BeInspired walk On Tuesday, an online participant viewer and wildlife teacher offered us eggs from her hens (for my other family members who would appreciate them). Sunflowers and Spinach plants are also growing in exchange. Counting my blessings indeed.
Healing with herbs
Sage is a wonderful herb, useful in prevention during covid-19, in addition to Vitamin C and D. Sage has been used in culinary and medicinal forms for centuries; it has many traditional uses.
Meaning: in French the name sage, means wise, to have wisdom. A sage is a person who holds the wisdom for their tribe and far beyond. This is a herb with further visioning properties, like the wise man or wise woman, in traditional medicinal cultures.
Mouthwash Sage contains anti-viral and antimicrobial volatile oils. For this reason, I use it as a refreshing mouthwash, or even a gargle to soothe and prevent sore throats. For a gargle, take a small handful of fresh or dried leaves and add to a pan of fresh water. Simmer for at least 20 mins to allow the scent and goodness from the leaves to disperse into the water. It turns an intense, dark brown colour. Allow to cool entirely before rinsing your mouth and gargling. Spit out and repeat x 3 times. Use for throat infections.
Sage Tea To drink as an infusion: infuse a small handful of freshly picked leaves in hot water and leave to brew for up to 10 mins or longer for a fuller flavour. The tea will be a gentle, clear green in colour. These properties are ideal for clarity of vision.
Sage also possesses cooling properties, to ladies’; balancing hormonal symptoms in the menopause and calms menstrual hot flushes, whilst allowing new priorities to develop and be supported. Females develop new needs and values. For others, cool down and refresh from the heat of the sun with a sage tea. In Turkey, at Yuva retreat centre, this is a popular beverage after working outside in the Mediterranean sunshine.
Recipe: Sage and lime Hummus
1 cup Chickpeas (either cooked fresh, from a can/carton or Raw sprouted)
1 dsp tahini (sesame seed) sauce
3 dsp olive oil or oil of choice.
1/2 lime juiced
A few sage leaves, plus extra for garnish. A good pinch salt / seaweed / sodium alternative
Use a food processor or a hand blender to Purée the chickpeas together with the olive oil, tahini, herbs, salt and half the lime juice. Mix well until the paste is as smooth or as chunky as you wish.
Garnish with wild flowers eg. forget-me-nots and the remaining sage leaves. Serve with fresh vegetables as a salad/main course eg Quinoa or on bread or crackers.
Beverage: add the remaining lime juice to a glass water, for a refreshing drink.