Wednesday 28 July 2010

Exciting news: Celebrating Herbs Festival 10-12 September

Chris and I are putting the finishing touches to the Herb Festival which will take place on the Sanctuary fields from 7pm Friday, 10 September 2010 to 5pm Sunday 12 September. Our keynote speaker is Anne McIntyre. There will be other talks and demonstrations throughout the weekend on all aspects of herbs from medicine to dyeing. Chris' kite team, Sky Symphony, will be displaying twice on Saturday and Sunday. There will be a kite workshop and stories for children, along with beginners archery. Each evening we will gather for music and stories, so bring your notebook, instrument and voice! To see the provisional programme go here

Wednesday 21 July 2010

More rushing around!

After trips to Rotherham, Sheffield, Doncaster, Sandwell and Warrington over the past few weeks, we spent a wonderful weekend at the Festival at the Edge indulging in storytelling and folk singers. Monday was spent in London followed by two days at the Cruse conference held at the University of Warwick. Tomorrow we're off to Warwick Folk Festival to stay in the grounds of Stephen's old school and listen to lots of great singers, bands, morris sides and other amazing happenings. I shall still be working in my Birmingham office, but travelling to and from the caravan on Thursday, Friday and Monday.

Does such dashing around allow any time for herbs? Well, we had a glorious workshop on July 10th where we harvested nettle seed, white horehound, SJW, scullcap, lemon balm, sage, ox-eye daises, yarrow, meadowsweet, plantain and betony.

Since then I've put up some tinctures, made meadowsweet and plantain oils and given two herbal talks on roses (to the Mercian Herb Group) and summer herbs (to a residential home for older adults). The rain has reduced my picking to the odd sojourne with the garden SJW - adding to the oil infusing on the windowledge and a small jar of tincture tonight.

The ashwaghanda seedlings are maturing nicely in their pots. I know the online advice says they should be planted straight into the ground, but I dont' trust the slugs in my garden so I have ten plants in pots here and a further 6 in the Sanctuary main bed.

One of the interesting happenings this year has been the appearance of a strange root. I thought I'd inadvertantly dug up a marshmallow root, so I put it in a pot and forgot about it. When it started to grow in spring, it didn't look like anything I'd grown before, so I left it alone and watered it occassionally. It was really exciting when I realised that the root was actually butterfly weed or pleurisy root (Asclepias tuberosa). I first saw this plant growing in California two years ago and although I ordered two plants in two separate years, they'd both seemed to disappear. I'm really glad one has decided to re-appear and is flowering beautifully!

Summer is always a busy time, but soon we'll be off to Cornwall for a well-earned rest! Maybe then I'll have time to put together some new blog posts and prepare for the Herb Festival in September

If you're interested in collaborative poetry, check out my latest posting at Mercian Muse