Healing herbs

Healing herbs
Echinacea and Calendula

Tuesday, 12 July 2016

Cop describes the Women’s Institute as Britain’s Biggest 'Organised Crime Group' Because They Pick Wild Fruit

Sergeant Colin Norden pointed the finger at the Women's Institute for picking wild fruit to make jam – but said there would be no prosecutions.

A police officer has described the Women’s Institute as Britain’s ‘biggest organised crime group’ because they pick wild fruit to sell at fetes.

Sergeant Colin Norden told a council committee meeting that anyone who makes a profit on selling berries is technically breaking the law.

But he reassured WI members by revealing police have no plans to start prosecuting fundraisers at the charity Sgt Norden said: “The WI are the biggest organised crime group."

“That would be quite a controversial thing to say but they pick wild berries with the intent to sell them at a fete."

“That’s a crime.”

Sgt Norden made his comments on Thursday while speaking to Cambridge City councillors about antisocial behaviour.

He used the WI’s fruit-picking activity as an example of a ‘crime’ that does not always lead to prosecutions.

Cambridgeshire Police confirmed the offence is classed as theft and falls under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 and Theft Act 1968.

This makes it illegal to uproot plants for commercial purposes without authorisation.

Read more here

Wednesday, 6 July 2016

Five Minutes to Moonflower: Planting a Clock That Tracks Hours by Flowers

The professionals said it could not be done. They had never tried it, and they didn’t know any public garden that had tried it, and they wouldn’t recommend anyone else give it a try.

This was not the response I expected when I called a few plant people and asked how to design a type of flower bed that has been around since the mid-18th century. It’s called a Horologium Florae: a flower clock. (No relation to the Apple Watch.)

“Please don’t show this to my bosses,” said Marc Hachadourian, the director of the Nolen Greenhouses, a 43,000-square-foot grow facility at the New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx. What Mr. Hachadourian, 41, meant was, Don’t give management any ideas.

He was joking. Mostly. Because once you hear it, the idea behind the flower clock is irresistible. First, identify a selection of a few dozen flowers that open and close at regular hours. They can be old friends like lilies, marigolds and primroses. Next, plant them in an organized fashion — perhaps in the segmented shape of a dial or clock face.

At this point, clock-watchers may want to skip ahead to the useful flowering timetable in the second half of this article. The seeds and plants for growing a flower clock may already be tick-tick-ticking in the stack of garden catalogs on the mail table.

Here’s how the timepiece works. During a stroll in the summer garden, you notice that the sow thistle petals are open while the adjacent pumpkin blossoms remain shut. The first plant, according to your records, blooms reliably at 5 a.m.; the second at 6 a.m.

Who needs a watch when the flowers know the time?

Read more here

Philosophia Botanica
The Garden (poem)

Wednesday, 1 June 2016

Polenta and Elderflower Cookies

Every now and then along comes a recipe that you may have glanced at, skimmed through, perhaps even mentally bookmarked, but between one thing and another maybe you’ve never found the time, the inspiration or the energy to actually make it. Maybe you’ve even forgotten about it. And then one day you remember it, you’re in the mood for it or something else spurs you on. You go out and look for the ingredients or realise you have them on hand and before long, you’re in the midst of making it, dirtying hands, bowls and kitchen counter as you go. Then finally there’s that telling moment, that moment of truth, where you bite into that creation that almost never was and you think, where have you been all my life?

Well this, for me, is one of those recipes. It’s from Artusi‘s 1891 cookbook, Science in the Kitchen and the Art of Eating Well, and is one that easily escapes the eye, firstly because in a book of 790 recipes, there’s a lot of competition. Secondly, Artusi has given it the rather anonymous name of paste di farina gialla II, or yellow flour pastries II. The vague title of the recipe (‘yellow flour’ is rather sweet though), I think, is its downfall as it makes it too easy to skip over without reading the recipe first properly. It also comes after another polenta cookie recipe (you guessed it, paste di farina gialla I) that calls for lard and a touch of aniseed, not everyone’s current favourite cookie ingredients; ingredients that may not encourage you to read the second. And so, this recipe sat there, under my very eyes for about two years.  

Then it just so happened that I was searching for polenta recipes, particularly baked goods (more on this soon but it’s also no secret that I have a profound love of polenta cakes). Only Artusi doesn’t call this wonderful ingredient polenta, but rather ‘farina gialla‘ (‘yellow flour’) in the titles or ‘farina di granturco‘ in the list of ingredients, which is tricky if one does not know that he means polenta. In English, the name of this slightly coarse ‘flour’ – or more a ‘meal’, really – made of stone ground (if you get a good one) dried corn, is just as confusing. In Australia, we call it polenta, in the US it’s often also known as cornmeal, it’s just not to be mistaken with corn flour, which is an entirely different product, a powdery, white wheat starch (also called corn starch in many British-influenced countries or maizena in Italian) used in cooking as a thickener. 

Read more here

How To Make Elderflower Cordial and Champagne


Elderflower Cordial From The Courtyard
Bottled our First Batch of Elderflower Mead Summer Somerset Sparkling Wine

Friday, 20 May 2016

Doctors Should Prescribe Gardening for Patients More Often

Doctors should prescribe gardening far more often for patients with cancer, dementia and mental health problems, the NHS has been urged in a new report.

Outdoor spaces including gardens can reduce social isolation among older people as well as help patients recover and manage conditions such as dementia, according to the influential King’s Fund health thinktank.

Jane Ellison, the public health minister, backed the plan, which could see GPs in particular advising patients to spend more time outside as a way of alleviating their symptoms. “[Gardening] is profoundly good for you … [it] is a great way of keeping people active, of keeping them outside and keeping their sense of wellbeing very high,” she said. “There are things we can do around physical activity in particular that bring immediate payback ... I’m trying to put this right across the agenda of dementia and cancer.”

Parts of the country are already investing in this more social approach to health at primary care level and in some places, such as the Bromley by Bow Centre in London, GPs are already prescribing gardening. Such schemes have been proven to reduce patients’ need to see a GP or attend A&E, enhance wellbeing and even promote better sleep.

Schemes that use this type of social prescribing focus on mental health and wellbeing as much as physical health, including through reducing social isolation and strengthening community bonds.

“Social prescribing schemes, by their nature, vary considerably but generally provide a way for GPs and other primary care professionals to offer or signpost to non-clinical referral options instead of, or alongside, clinical ones,” says the report’s author, David Buck.

Read more here

Saturday, 23 January 2016

‘Oh My God, The Cauliflower!’

Written by Anne Kingston; The real reason behind the great Cauliflower Panic of 2016; The crisis in the cauliflower economy was never about taste, or even food fashions: it’s a signal of something much more significant.

When historians review the trumped-up “cauliflower crisis” of early 2016, sparked by a trebling of the vegetable’s price (from $3.99 to $8.99 in supermarkets) between late November and mid-January, they will locate its Canadian ground zero at the popular Toronto restaurant Fat Pasha. News that chef Kevin Gilmore was forced to remove its signature dish—an $18 whole roasted cauliflower stuffed with Halloumi cheese and topped with tahini, pine nuts and pomegranate seeds—was oft-repeated in news stories, becoming a metaphor for some sort of collective loss. It fed into a larger, unidentified if overblown panic seen in media and online chatter, reinforced by news trucks camped outside of supermarkets as if covering a crime scene.

Monday, 18 January 2016

Growing Flowers In Space

This weekend, NASA astronaut Scott Kelly posted a picture of the first flower to bloom in space. The International Space Station has been home to the Veggie plant growth facility for almost two years, and scientists have been working hard to figure out how to keep crops alive in microgravity. It's a challenge to keep plants properly heated and hydrated, and their current specimens been attacked by mold as well. "More crops for Veggie are heading to the orbiting laboratory aboard SpaceX-8. The Veg-03 run will include two sets of Chinese cabbage, and one set of red romaine lettuce. In 2018, there are plans to launch dwarf tomato seeds to the space station. Smith said the lessons learned from growing zinnia flowers will be critical in the process of growing tomatoes, a fellow flowering plant. Studies are also in progress to see how adjusting the lighting in the Veggie plant growth facility can affect plan mineral composition. There will be preflight testing to determine what 'light recipe' to use aboard the station."

Link here