My own brush with & fascination with the plant kingdom began when I was a child growing up in South London.
My occasional summers were spent playing in the back garden and wilderness beyond by the railway lines, listening to the grasshoppers in the long grass (and not a ring tailed parakeet in sight!)
My mother was a nurse before meeting my father and is an amateur herbalist & great foodie cook; baker and preserver. We added herbs from the garden to our Sunday tea & baking and medicinally, we learnt from her that a sage gargle for coughs and throats stopped the tickle in its tracks. My Grandfather and Great-Grandfather before her were both acclaimed Jamaican GPs; I am proud of my mixed heritage and also now as a practicing 4th generation medic.
My father works as a senior Entomologist at the NHM and on Saturdays as soon as I was old enough, I’d wander and explore the fun exhibits on a weekly basis.
Whilst at school, I chose to make a study of Wildflowers as one of my hand made project book subjects (which I have kept to this day) with detailed drawings of previously unseen Frittilaries.
Meanwhile, in the holidays, my paternal grandparents took us (my sister & I) Fruit picking; for strawberries and beans!
Following in my parents’ footsteps, I love Botanical art & design, in either science or art.
In my 20’s, I studied short courses in Herbalism (Herbal Medicine), Organic gardening & in my 30’s volunteered in a Greenwich garden & Forest Farm Peace Garden project.
Over a decade ago a gentle call from the wild reached me, this time to seek out plants to eat from the land and experience that deep seasonal connection and always a continual learning process in discovering the ancient practice and art of a P-T forager.
A turning point for my career was when I became unwell whilst working for the UoL and an Iranian nurse and local forager, Effat came to the rescue, taking me out to nature reserves, parks, anywhere local & clean, to collect wild herbs around West London. Another new Raw food enthusiast friend, Rob offered the same private service in SE London and I also went on guided public walks at larger gatherings and festivals.
Following incremental dietary changes, my health and energy improved dramatically and I now enjoy running at a local park, boarded with natural woodland, watching woodpeckers (& parakeets!); I chew on fresh hogweed stems and try to remember to run with either a small bag or wear pockets, to collect with.
My local areas & neighbours’ generosity offers a seasonal selection of wild rocket, plums and apples which become turned into fresh sugar-free pies or jelly\jam .
Guided Walk History
The 1st walk, part of Hither Green Week packed almost 30 people and a few months later, around Surrey for a private family with friends and a few visitors.
Raw fest 2014 – 3 days medicinal plant collecting – read about it on my blog www.theresawebb.wordpress.com
Foraging routine: Usually daily during summer and less often during autumn and winter but mainly weekly.
More info on general gardening via Lewisham Gardens on facebook (blog link)