Viburnum opulus Guelder Rose

The Wild Super Fruit That Smells Of Old Socks

I went out yesterday with my beloved on a quest for some lush rose hips. The sun was shining, the breeze cool, church bells ringing out in the distance, and the human world quiet and calm.

It reminded me of when I was a boy. Of how Sunday’s used to feel before the advent of Sunday opening times. Where instead of spending nourishing nurturing time with family and friends, most folk now exist in a 7 day hell of adrenalised work schedules and shallow shopping experiences.

Thank goodness the plants aren’t quite so bonkers! Read more…

The awesomeness of acorns

The Awesomeness of Acorns

Each morning I go outside and ponder the old oak that stands on the side of the road. Each morning I say a blessing to it.

I’m beginning to shift my understanding of plants, even big plants like trees. No longer seeing them in gender specifics, but sensing into their being that which moves beyond the anthropomorphising of nature, of wildness. Read more…

Elderberry & Nettle Honey Elixir

Elderberry & Nettle Honey Elixir

With Autumn definitely on its way, and the sun starts setting early, now is the perfect time to give you body a boost with this delicious, nourishing and health-boosting elixir.

I’ve been making it for quite a few weeks using dried elderberries from last year, and dried nettle that I had gathered this Spring. I have to say that I can’t keep my hand out the fridge with this one. With no sugar and only the scrummy, warming flavour of organic honey to sweeten it, even the most risk-averse inner child (or outer one for that matter) will love it!Read more…

Plants & People Interviews Francois Couplan

Episode 9: Interview With A Foraging Grand Master

Crawling at 5mph it took me ages to drive up the dusty, pot-holed road that led into the depths of wildness where foraging grand master Francois Couplan lives hidden in the depths of Provence, France.

If there is one person who I would dearly love to learn more about wild edible plants, then Francois is the man! I never in a gazillion years thought that I would find myself being invited for an evening meal, and spend time with one of my heroes… And trust me, I really don’t do heroes usually, but sometimes you hear about someone, and just know somewhere, sometime you need to meet them.

Francois CouplanIn this podcast interview, I sit as the sun goes down with a man who has been living with plants on a daily basis for over 50 years! Aside from the indigenous plant teachers I have met on my travels around the world, Francois has a knowledge that goes way beyond anyone living “in the West” that I know.

So it was a real pleasure to do this interview, even if I do sound excitable… that’s because… I was!

For a man who was there in Paris 68, its a fascinating record of someone’s life so completely dedicated to teaching and inspiring everyone about the importance of paying attention to plants, and the benefits that gives you. I hope you enjoy it.Read more…

Sakura: Preserved Cherry Blossom

Sakura : Preserved Cherry Blossom Recipe
Each year I literally swoon as I cup the cherry blossom flowers in my hand gazing at their mysterious beauty set against cloudless blue sky. And each year I promise myself to make a preserved cherry blossom recipe. Each year until this one I miss the window of opportunity.

In Japan, the tradition of “Hanami” which literally translates as “flower viewing” is a practice that dates back to the sixth century Heian period. Cherry blossoms in Japan are called “Sakura”, and are a symbol of the transient nature of life, due to their short flowering time. They represent a life that is beautiful, but also temporary and impermanent.

So as not to miss the year’s flowering season I scoured my patches trying to find some flowers that were still only in bud. For the preserved cherry blossom recipe you need to gather buds that are just starting to open, you can, should you to wish pick some of the fully opened flowers, but best to try and get just the buds. You’ll also need to gather a few of the very young leaves as they are just developing.Read more…

Episode 8: First Steps To Seeing Plants

First Steps To Seeing Plants

In this interview Emma Kidd, author of First Steps To Seeing: A Path Towards Living Attentively discusses practical ways to deepen your relationship with plants, by enhancing your ability to ‘see’ plants more fully, in a way that no mainstream botany class will ever teach you.

As Emma says: “On our way to work we may pass trees or other plants but not notice them – the changes of the trees through the seasons? We miss so much, not only individually but as a society too, by simply not paying attention.

By using the analogy of ‘seeing’, Emma discusses how to really and actively see what is in front of us rather than merely accept the shortcuts that our brain gives us to categorise and rationalise what is passing us by.

When it comes to being able to ‘see’ plants, these exercises and methods allow us to enter into ‘deep intimacy’ with plants, and reveals some surprising discoveries, as well as revealing just how blind we actually are. As the philosopher GI Gurdjieff was fond of reminding us, “as humans we live our lives in a near permanent state of hypnotic sleep”.Read more…