Diary - 06/07
Diary - June 2007
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June 2007

We had a very pleasant day for the workshop, despite the insistent spells of rain. We made plantain double infused oil using greater plantain and narrow-leafed plantain which my father had collected for me the week before during a dry day. It had been drying spread out on the spare bed and looked almost dry, but it was amazing the large amount of water on the inside of the cook-pot lid!

We made some elderflower tea, lemon balm tea and some red clover and rose petal tea made from a mixture of dog rose and apothecary's rose petals. We also nibbled yarrow leaves while we were talking about its many uses and studied the star flowers of the St John's wort.

Luckily the calendula was just coming into flower, so one of the participants was able to make her calendula tincture from both fresh flower heads and dried petals. The other participant decided on an elderflower tincture and gathered enough to take home to make a cordial as well.

They also wanted to try making infused oil at home, so they went away with fresh comfrey and mugwort.

I'd not been down to the Sanctuary for two months because the May workshop was cancelled and was horrified by the rise of weeds and plants growing where they shouldn't. The herb beds resembled some kind of tropical jungle with large, structural plants beating everything else for space, light and volume. The patch of ox-eye daisies I planted so carefully never germinated - probably due to the lack of light caused by the enormous angelica leaves. I was really frustrated because I have been wanting to grow them for years and getting the seed was a real palaver.

Second year woad plant prior to flowering

The goats rue had fallen all over the bergamot plants, so that was culled in an attempt to save about 60 worth of plants. I removed all the seed heads from the angelica - which took about an hour in the rain on Sunday morning, did some weeding and removed the woad from the bed by the fence before it all self seeds. The mullein are coming out in flower - beautiful tall yellow spikes, but the leaves are all mildewed and I despair of harvesting the flower stalks for drying. I also planted out milk thistle seedlings which my mother had heeled into the ground in their polystyrene boxes, which was not helping them!

The constant wet has meant my father could not do his normal mowing either of the path down the fields nor of the "Sanctuary" itself. Walking through two fields of three foot soaking wet long grass several times over two days was not fun and I've pulled some muscles in my right foot arch so it's now painful.

Such is the price we pay for growing things!

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