I recently gave a talk to the Baslow Garden Society about medicinal wild plants and their many benefits. This is a local group of enthusiastic gardeners, many of whom have considerable expertise about plants, not only growing them but their culinary and other uses as well. The workshop was well received and around fifty people turned up.
I enjoy making my talks as interactive as possible so I brought along a large collection of different leaves, flowers, berries, seeds and nuts, in fact anything I could find in my local area at this time of year. I asked each participant to choose a plant part and if anyone didn’t know what they had they could ask myself or other members of the group for identification. We briefly discussed the plants we were holding, noting colour, textures, arrangement of leaves and flowers, shape of stem, smell and even taste.
We then moved on to the main part of the evening where I gave a presentation on twenty four different plants which grow locally, how to identify them and how we can use them medicinally internally or topically. The plants I presented included many of my favourites such as comfrey, hawthorn, oak, marigold, horse chestnut, meadowsweet, rosemary, guelder rose, rowan, lady’s mantle and cleavers. We ended the evening by sampling some fresh nettle tea from the leaves which I had picked earlier in the day. Everyone was very brave and tried some and many were surprised at how pleasant tasting it was! There were lots of interesting questions and comments from the floor afterwards and I’m looking forward to next Spring when I have more talks lined up for local groups.