Diary - 04/09
Diary - Sep 2004
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September 2004


The benches and chair being transported to the Sanctuary garden!

4th September - After the dreadful weather over the bank holiday, the next weekend was hot and sunny, just the perfect weather for an outdoor workshop. My uncle had still not cut the hayfield because of all the rain so the only way to transport the two new benches and newly restored chair down to the Sanctuary was to tie them to the wheelbarrow and carry them down two fields along the single track path. Chris used the strimmer to tidy up the long grass around the swing and the other two benches and I weeded the beds around the veranda so that people could see the rosemary, St John’s wort, wall germander and apothecary’s rose instead of just a sea of tall grass!

When our labours were over, we sat in the stillness and watched the sun go down, listening to the sounds of evening. We were rewarded with the sight of a little owl, who flew across in front of the summer house on silent wings. Some minutes later, he came and perched on the electricity pylon, bobbing his head up and down as he surveyed the grass for prey. It was the first time we had seen an owl so close and calls from his mate in the ash tree made us hope they had set up home in our trees.

5th September - Fourteen women and two children from The Balsall Health Jungle Women’s Group arrived in a minibus at 11.30am. The Group is an organic gardening group from the centre of Birmingham who were formed to help women improve the health of their families by growing organic produce.

A workshop in full swing!

We talked about the herbs and their various properties and  they touched and smelt and nibbled to see what they were like. They wanted to know about treating colds and coughs and fevers, but also how to prepare them without using alcohol, as some of the members were Moslem and this medium was forbidden to them.

They tasted the syrups and vinegars, falling in love with the elderberry and SAD syrup! At 4pm, they made their way up the fields laden with cuttings of boneset and vervain, mint, elderberries and other herbs as well as handouts, recipes and suggestions for restful sleep. Even a stray woad plant found a new home with an enthusiastic owner. The group organiser was keen to return to help with some practical tasks, bringing with her some other women who might benefit from fresh air and open spaces.

18th September - The Herb Society Annual Conference with talks from Penelope Ody on the future of herbal medicine provoked much food for thought. This year has been a beginning of sharing my land and my knowledge with others. Next year, there will be more opportunities to spread the word to those who want to know more about helping yourself with herbs.


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