June in the Woods
June is a green and luscious time in the woods. Plants are really starting to grow. This June has had very mixed weather. As lock down is slowly eased there have been some beautiful sunny days but also lots of rain – which is great for plants. My garden is now full of weeds and the slugs and snails are out in force!
In the woods the elder tree is in flower. These beautiful frothy flowers can be eaten dipped in a light batter and fried or made into elderflower cordial, champagne or gin.
This year I made gin and it was ready to drink in a week and tastes lovely and floral.
Other medicinal plants in flower now are plantain, linden or lime tree flowers and common mallow.
Plantain in flower[/caption]
Plantain grows everywhere and can be eaten in salads. It is considered a healing herb and used on cuts and bruises as well as working as a laxative if you eat too much! Lime flowers are used as a sedative and often included in night time herbal drinks and have a very pleasant flavour. Marsh mallow is the mallow used mostly in herbal medicine; it bears no resemblance to the marshmallows found in your hot chocolate but at one time the sap was used in the production of these sweets. Common mallows have similar properties and are said to help reduce inflammation, cure toothache and treat wounds.
The plant colours are mostly green with some pink including foxgloves, mallow and herb Robert. I love foxgloves and remember as a child imagining they were water carriers for faeries!
They are poisonous but a chemical from them called digitalis is used in medicine to help heart problems. As I walk through the woods, I noticed the nettles are really tall and you can see the seeds hanging in bunches.
The leaves are no longer edible as they are tough, but the seeds can be harvested. They are used to increase vitality and increase a flagging libido! Although I know someone who took them and said they were horrible to take. You could try toasting them and putting them on salad they should taste better then.
The bind weed is thriving in hedgerows near me – but not in my garden as I have managed to get it under control. The wild version is much prettier and less invasive. Wild roses are out in the hedgerows too. I found these mixing with common dogwood.
June is the last month of spring soon summer will be here. The leaves lose their freshness, but a glorious sense of abundance will be around for the next few months. Time to get out and enjoy the countryside and help relieve some of the stress brought on by the problems of the pandemic.