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February in the Wood

February in the Wood

February in the Wood Today I was very lucky. I went on my first foraging trip of the year today with Martin Bailey of Go Foraging in Bristol . So far this month it has rained – a lot! So I was expecting my first foraging trip to be in the rain, with a bit of sleet and hail thrown in. But, it was sunny, and we only had one small rain shower.  What a surprise. In February there is not that much out, but there are lots of things emerging from their slumbers and poking through the ground or starting to bud. The first plant we looked at was wild garlic. This plant is one of the first we can forage and enjoy. The leaves can be eaten in salads, omelettes or pasta and when the flowers bloom they can be scattered over food to add a lovely garlicky taste as well as looking great. Martin told us that we need to make sure that it isn’t mixed up with  Lords and Ladies whose leaves look similar when they start to grow as these plants are poisonous. Another plant of interest was cleavers or sticky buds. You will probably know this plant as its seeds have sticky spikes that stick to jumpers or pet’s fur and great fun can be had sticking them on friend’s clothes! These are a used in herbal medicine as a cleansing herb and can be drunk in a tea along with nettles as a spring tonic. There were other plants coming up including cow parsley, stinging nettles and dock leaves. All these were...
January In the Wood

January In the Wood

Into the Woods, January 2020 It may be a new year for us, but in the woods most things look dormant.Nothing much is growing at the moment. There is some sign of life but most of this is still left over from last year as it has not been very cold this winter - yet! January always seems dull, grey and faintly depressing to me. It comes after Christmas which is full of light and fun but then comes January, all damp and grey. but there are signs of life out there, if you go and look for them. I am lucky enough to live by the coast, the estuary actually, the sea is usually brown rather than blue but I’m not complaining. This is the view from the top of my walk over the sea. On a beautiful sunny day, like today it is wonderful. But as the battered trees show, it can be bitterly cold with a strong, penetrating wind. Today birds were singing, I identified blackbirds, robins and great tits among the sounds. As I walked through the park there were snowdrops in flower and crocus and daffodil coming up in my garden. It looks like spring is on its way. But I know how easily that can change! There are some plants growing. Nettles are coming up and there are buds on the trees. I saw these little plants starting to grow among the ferns and mosses. There are other signs of life too. Birds flying by with twigs in their mouth. Insects buzzing - something bit me while I was pulling up weeds in...