Part 1: the future food forest/healing garden in Spring
Oh my goodness! Thanks to school vacations and some arranging, we got to stay for 2 weeks at our place in France. The grass was high again, above my knees, and I was curious how all the plants were doing. After clearing paths – also ‘on the land’! – it got easier to move around and plant the new-comers (yes, there’s still room for more!) and tend to the plants that were there already. The appletrees were blooming when we got there, and at the end of the vacation little plump roundings at the base of the now withered flowers told me the bees had done their thing – thank you!
…Which brings us to the next subject: the beehive! After following a series of lectures about biodynamic beekeeping I was ‘stung’ – I wanted to provide honeybees a place to live in, and hope they’d love the healing garden as much as I do! The dream is some years old already, but this year I thought it might be time to take action. And now the top bar hive is standing! You can see it also in the first picture, on the right side of the field. I had made some swarm lure with beeswax and lemongrass essential oil, and our son wrote the name of this new object, “beehive” (in Dutch) with the swarm lure on it. I was secretly hoping to find and catch a swarm, but that turned out to be a daydream – no swarms to be seen.
But back to the fruit… Apple, pear, cherry, currants, kiwi, grapes, plums, blueberries and wild strawberries were merrily on their way. The fig tree was grumpy after my pruning session with it and showed it by being very, very late with coming out with leaves. The nut trees were looking kind of promising as well, all except the tiny new walnut tree which was struggling for life – its roots are not so deep yet and the grass around it gets tall, it’s easily getting overgrown. I cleared grass around it, mulched more than ever before and wished him/her well.
Newcomers included Schisandra, a pear tree, a plum tree (bought when I didn’t know how many plum trees we already had…and since it was tiny, it grew in a pot in our garden in Amsterdam for one summer), purple grapes , Sichuan pepper, the tiny silk tree (against my norm I took it with me already – because it wanted to…), winter savory and oregano. I also sowed lots, fingers crossed we’ll have more success than a year ago.
In between gardening, cooking and all that, there were moments of pure enchantment. Just standing with a plant, marveling its beauty, having a little chat with it.
And upon moving again, I’d scare the calves, grazing in the neighboring field. Eventually they got used to me and go on about their thing, together with their mama’s.
Part 2: back in Amsterdam
And one returns to everyday life. And finds ones’ garden transformed!
The bright, light early spring garden had ‘popped’ into late spring in just two weeks. All kinds of magical places to be found, here, in our little city garden!
I’m utterly, totally, fully in love with Hawthorn. It’s blossomed in France, and here in Amsterdam so luxuriously abundant! I had picked and dried some hawthorn berries last autumn and decided to tincture them. A week later I had a mad, last-minute dash into the woods to pick flowers and leaves too, to make a fully balanced hawthorn tincture. Just because you never know who might need it. The former remedies have helped here and there too, and being so obsessed with a plant is there for a reason, I believe.
And since I replenished our stash of dried nettles with fresh ones this vacation, I used the remains of the nettles of last year to make cookies (and I can’t stop nibbling them…). I used this recipe (scroll down the post for ‘parmesan cream crackers’) and substituted most of the cheese for nettles and used whole grain flour and spelt flour.
The herbal adventure goes on, accompanied by nature spirits and some cool healing techniques. Thanks for reading!