Warm afternoon sun poured over the garden. My grand-daughter and I accompanied two other ladies to forage with Barbara Roch. The first plant we were introduced to was wild raspberries and Amelia was given the task to gather the berries; then later any flowers that we could use for our lunch. Growing tall in the midst of the berries was a tall gangly plant which I had the instinct to reach over and pull; after all it was a weed, right? Thankfully I resisted the impulse and Barbara told us that this was lambs quarters; we would gather the leaves for our omelet. I am sure that my grand-daughter would have been embarrassed to have her ‘Nan’ expelled from the garden so early on in the tour. Barbara called it the original spinach.
Throughout the garden Barbara informed us of the names and uses of a large variety of plants. Hidden among the plants were hints that fairies lived there as well. A small wooden door at the bottom of a tree, small furniture for tiny bodies, a blue frog and small concrete sculptures were a delight to find.
Names like plantain, wild sorrel, creeping bell flowers, burdock root, dead nettle, Japanese knotweed and the list goes on. Each has a season for harvesting and a use for either cooking, salads or teas. Barbara recommends that people try a little of any plant the first time consuming to ensure no sensitivity.
The blossom of the orange lilies growing in ditches can be stuffed and eaten. The flowers of pansies and violets are decorative and edible. People need to research or go foraging with those who know their plants before harvesting and consuming. Not all plants are meant to be eaten and care should be taken.
After foraging we returned to the kitchen where ingredients had been prepped in advance to assemble custom omelets, salad and tea for our lunch. The berries were added to the salad, rose petals to the omelet and bee balm for tea. Lunch was served on the deck overlooking the garden. Butterflies hovered while we enjoyed our food.
Amelia spent the time gathering and being very quiet, which is uncharacteristic of her. The foods were new and as with most children she was not quite ready to plunge in whole heartily. She tried the omelet and dove into the salad which contained some of the raspberries she had gathered. The fairies and the cat, Cedric intrigued her. For me it was a lovely afternoon spent with my grand-daughter and some fun ladies.