Green Greetings to you all!
Are you finding it hard to keep up with all the plants coming into bloom? And all the plants that are ready to harvest? And all the plants you want to plant in your garden? And all the plants that you want to learn about? Me too!
Remember: it takes seven lifetimes to become an herbalist.
Be gentle with yourself.
Identify one new flower a day.
Choose a green ally to breathe with every day.
Learn all you can about that one plant.
Learn as much as you can from the plant itself. (My correspondence course, Green Ally
, and my CD set, Your Green Ally
, provide guidance on how to do this.)
One of the best ways to learn about plants and to bring them into your life is to eat them. This is a great time of the year to eat flowers. And with all the plants in bloom right now, it is the perfect time to make a flower filled Fairy Salad. This Fairy Salad will open your senses to the fairies; you may see them, hear them, feel them, even catch a tendril of their honeyed, pollened, nectared smell. I trust it will encourage you to look for colorful flowers all year to enjoy in your salads.
May Day is the day the fairy gate opens and the fairies come dancing into the garden. Lure them to stay with you by providing a wild corner in the garden where people are not allowed (except, perhaps, with need, after the fairies have returned to their underground homes the end of October). Fairies like variety; they love flowers of course. Fairies are attracted to things that shine and things that move and spin.
In pursuit of wild salad greens, we looked at three wild greens that are delicious salad plants last week. This week I offer you three more salad fixin’s, including my dear old friend, shy violet. And there will be three more two weeks after that. In between, we’re going to get out of the gardens and into the forest to check in with some beautiful flowering (and medicinal) plants out in the deep woods. I hope you’ll come along.
One of my mentored students asked me to write about safe places to harvest salad greens and medicinal plants. She noticed that in my early work I suggest not harvesting within 50 feet of a road, but that in my recent YouTube videos I am sometimes right by the road. It is true, I do feel safe harvesting near roads.
One of the main exhaust gases from the combustion of gasoline is carbon monoxide. Plants take in carbon dioxide. They then cleave one oxygen atom off the dioxide to make it monoxide. Both forms (carbon dioxide and monoxide) are poisonous to people, but not to plants. (Oxygen is poisonous to plants.) When plants cleave off that one atom of oxygen, it becomes a free radical and causes oxidative stress on the plant.
Plants near the road thrive in the presence of the high levels of carbon monoxide, which cuts down on oxidative stress, helping them be healthier and better medicine. So, yes, I do harvest near the road if that is where the best plants are growing. Some, like coltsfoot and mullein (herbs that help the lungs) positively thrive in roadside ditches and road cuts. Others, like shy woodland ginseng and skullcap, wouldn’t be caught dead growing beside the road, indeed!
Use your fairy-enhanced senses to find the best places to harvest plants. Trust your intuition. Have confidence in yourself.