The Plants for Life series of walks, talks and workshops on plant medicine continues to gather pace. In April we Walked with Weeds around Bungay and explored their medicinal qualities. In May, Julie Bruton-Seal and Matthew Seal, authors of Hedgerow Medicine, brought herbal tinctures, plant syrups and huge knowledge to a packed library as well as an elderflower water with the most incredible aroma. And in June we learned how to make wild plant oils and ointments of plantain and St. Johns wort with Rose Titchiner, visited Outney Common for wildflowers and discussed plant families at Green Drinks. So far there have been between a dozen and forty people at the Sunday sessions.
These events are a great way to meet up with other people interested in finding out more about plants and the medicine they bring. They also provide a space for anyone to share their own knowledge of and direct experience with the plants. It’s all about paying attention to the earth’s living systems, and fostering well-being on an individual, collective and planetary level by connecting with those systems.
In the Wild Plant Oils session a woman described how eating feverfew leaves at the onset of a migraine worked for her every time without fail. You can read this fact in a hundred herbals but when you hear it from someone with firsthand experience it brings the whole thing alive.
Back at the library after Walking With the Weeds, we drank a fresh Wild Green tea Charlotte had prepared whilst we were out, and which someone afterwards told me was a total revelation! And a Japanese friend wrote saying how much she enjoyed the afternoon and wished us “Good luck, Weeds Professors!”
You can also read a short article I wrote about Plants for Life in the well-being section of the preview issue of the new Transition Free Press (p.13). Printed copies are available from Bungay Library (along with the latest Sustainable Bungay newsletter), and updates on many of the articles can be found on the TFP website.
Plants for Life this Summer
Here is what we have planned for the summer. This coming Sunday 15th July Plants for Life meets Bungay Community Bees at the second Bungay Bee Hive Day, when I will lead a Bee & Flower Walk around town at 12.15pm, starting at the marquee on Castle Meadow and including a visit to the Plant Medicine bed at Bungay Library.
Last year twenty five of us explored a meadow, alleyways, wastegrounds, Margaret’s garden, a car park and the community garden – all in the centre of town and within the space of an hour. For the full (and full-on) programme of this year’s Bee Hive day click HERE.
Shake, Rattle and Roll with 52 Flowers
On Sunday 5th August don’t miss Sustainable Bungay author Charlotte Du Cann as she takes a radical look at medicine plants with a reading from her just-published book 52 Flowers That Shook My World - A Radical Return to Earth (Two Ravens Press, 2012). Charlotte will also be doing a bee-focused reading from 52 Flowers at Bungay Bee Hive Day, 15th July at 2pm.
And on September 23rd at the Equinox and as the season turns we’ll be learning about (and sampling) some Autumn Berry Tonics.
Both the August and September sessions are at the library at 3pm
The Plant Medicine Bed
And the Plant Medicine Bed in the Library Community Garden? On my latest visit, Friday 6th July the elecampane and burdock were giant, the vervain growing tall, the thyme tumbling over the wall of the bed. The self-heal was coming into flower and the buddleia preparing for its 2012 blooming. We’ll be looking at and talking about Burdock, amongst other plants on the Bee and Flower walk next Sunday.
Everyone is welcome at all Plants for Life events. If you want to know more about plants as medicine or share what you know, come along. There is no charge but donations are happily received.
NB: I will be at the library garden most Fridays during the summer between 1 and 3pm for a ‘plant surgery’ and to talk about the Plants for Life project and events. Come and say hello.
So far I’ve been joined by Carol Stone, permaculturist, wild bee lover and co-ordinator of no less than forty six community food projects in Devon, on a visit to Norfolk with her partner Nigel. And Christian and Fairy, recently back from a year in South America and finding their feet again in Suffolk. Fairy gave me a hand tidying some of the ox-eye daisies which had been bashed around a bit by the recent winds and rain, and we spoke about everything from Ecuador to Elecampane to confronting mass negative assumptions about getting older.
I also removed armies of slugs and snails and transported them to a nearby wasteground and spoke with Richard about slug pubs, though we haven’t got round to making them yet!
Images: Outney Common wildflower walk, June 2012; Josiah gets into legumes with Great British Beans at midsummer’s Green Drinks; at the Wild Plant Oils workshop with Rose, June 2012; Bee and Flower Walk Bungay Bee Hive Day July 2011*; 52 Flowers That Shook My World by Charlotte Du Cann – cover; Six of the Plant Medicines in the community garden, July 2012; discussing Burdock with Richard, July 2012. All images from Mark Watson except * from Muhammad Amin