Spring is coming - and we shift into a new equinox - Ostara/Eostra.
During this equinox there is a change of energy and optimism in the air - we all feel it, it awakens our senses and puts a literal spring in our step. After resting and hibernating in winter during the solstice of Yule, awakening during Imbolc - a time to plan and prepare; we can now invest our energies into putting such plans to action and grow the seeds we had sown.
Stinging nettles are now starting to show up everywhere, and if you read my last blog post on cleavers, you'll know they often can be seen growing together. Both these herbs incidentally can be used for skin conditions - yet whilst cleavers are cooling and moistening, nettles are heating and drying. So even in nature, opposites attract!
The days are finally drawing out, the evenings are lighter, and there is a change in the air. We are now starting to see sudden burst of green leaves on trees, the birds are busy nest building, and flowers are starting to bloom. These subtle signs of life herald in what is to come; and that is always uplifting, particularly after months of seeing brown and grey...
One of my favourite visions of green is from the herb cleavers - which is often seen growing with nettle - they are friends! I harvest it all the time, and make cleavers juice to give myself a spring clean
Read below for why you should get cleavers into your life, and how to make juice for yourself.
At work we have alot of rose bushes - about 800 Damask rose bushes were planted, and we harvest the beautful roses by hand to be tinctured.
Imagine how delicious they smell on warm days - when I walk down the avenues of them I breathe deeply, and watch the countless bees drifting between them all.
Rosehips form over autumn, and can still be found in winter - they deepen in colour over time, and are best to harvest after the first frost.
Add some medicinal sweetness to your day!
Honey is already delicious I know, but if infused with some herbs/spices it becomes an easy & gentle method to incorporate some herbal goodness into your day.
Dandelions - translated from the French - 'dent de lion' (lion's tooth) refers to its jagged leaves, and many people also liken the distinctive golden fluffy flowerheads to that of a lion's mane.
March has been Women's history month - this year's theme was 'Visionary women: champions of peace & non-violence' - women are typically seen as peace keepers, as nurturing & caring, they show compassion & empathy, and are thought of as gentle & tolerant. Whilst this can be true, let's not underestimate women as just being 'the fairer sex'; Women too can possess strength and resilliance, have shown courage in adversity, and continue to assert independence (traits considered 'masculine').
Beltane is a festival of fire, the name breaks down into 'Bel' meaning 'Bright One' - the Celtic sun god, and the Gaelic word 'Teine', meaning fire.
The days are slowly drawing out, and we are starting to see glimpses of the first signs of spring - yawning and stretching out, shaking off the blankets of winter's darkness. Imbolc is here.
A new year rolls around again, and with it comes renewed expectations, resolutions, diets, and detoxes; often as a knee jerk reaction to the festivities, excesses and over-indulgences that comes from Christmas and saying goodbye to the old year.
Mental health awareness week was 8th - 14th May this year, and whilst it is great to see an acknowledgement of this increasingly prevalent health issue, the awareness needs to continue beyond an allocated week, and become integrated into our daily lives.
As I type this, it is a typically British grey and wet day, the majority of people will be wishing away winter and gladly swap this day for blue skies and sunshine. Signs of spring are starting to tip-toe their way in, but let's not be too hasty in saying goodbye to winter just yet.
The seasons are beginning to change again, the air has started to feel more crisp, the sun seems more watery, and the nights are drawing in. This is actually my favourite time of year, and I am looking forward to woodland walks, big chunky jumpers, and hearty food.
We grow lemon balm in raised beds. Its luscious green leaves have a distinctive lemony scent when rubbed, and if doing a tour, I always encourage people to do so!
The meadowsweet has seemingly loved the wet, damp summer we have had so far. This year has produced a particularly lush bounty, and once the flowers 'popped' from their little white pods I was hit with their familiar almond aroma. On hotter days the smell would be intensified, and the bees would flock, getting drowsy on meadowsweet's fragrant pollen.
Following on from my previous blog - marshmallow, like mullein is another soft furry friend. It has recently come into flower at work, and it has become another favourite herb of mine.
Mullein is a new addition to the Neal's Yard garden, and was added to our order list last year. Luckily we had it popping up all over the place, so we dug it up, putting the smaller plants into the poly tunnel, and transplanting them out to raised beds to join the larger ones once established.
So it's clearly been a while since I last posted; the joys of renting led us to move house again, and time was taken up with trawling the internet, viewing other houses to rent, and the subsequent move
The seasons are a'changing...
Bone broths have seen something of a resurgence lately, amidst all the convenience, processed and packaged foods, people are starting to revert back to 'proper' food - latest cook books are about eating wholesome; we are getting back to basics again.
Old tatty pallets that we used to disregard and not even notice have become quite trendy of late. They are given new leases of life, and repurposed as new every day items such as tables or beds...
Emma is passionate about promoting good health, and likes to keep things simple. She enjoys yoga, meditation & being outdoors, yet likes to indulge in coffee, wine & cake - Everything in moderation!