With everything a little upside down with Covid 19, I thought I’d reflect on 2 of my favorite Early Spring flowers & Pollinators. ‘Dutchmans Breeches’ ( Dicentra Cucullaria) and ‘Squirrel Corn’ (Dicentra Canadensis). Dutchmans Breeches, hang sweetly upside down, attracts long-tongued Bees. Including Honey Bees, Bumblebees, Mason Bees, Anthophorid Bees and Butterflies. The first in our Spring renewal. The arrival of Robins, Red Wing Black Birds and Sleepy bears waking from hibernation a month early this year, renewal is just around the corner. I’m excited to see both plant species to confirm our Spring has Sprung.
Dutchmans Breeches are the first to arrive. Then 2 weeks later comes Squirrel Corn Flower. The blooms very fragrant whereas Dutchmans Breeches flower has no aroma. The Nectar spurs of Squirrel Corn are shorter and more rounded then those of Dutchmans Breeches. Do not pick either of these as they can cause rashes – Which I personally feel is a defense system to ensure Our Pollinators always have food.
Other plants in bloom that can found at this time of year are Bluebells, Violets in purple, white and yellow, Spring Beauty, Wild Ginger and Cut-leaved toothwort.
This is the time to be looking for Spring Ramps( Allium Tricoccum). Their green distinctively richer in color, poking up and grouped patches. Or in some cases…. swathes under hardwood trees in mixed old woods. It is important to note the ethical harvest of these delicious Spring goodies. Over harvesting of this plant has put it in a ‘High Risk’ category. When looking at the patch of Garlic Ramp you have to be especially choosy what you harvest. The 3 leafed stalks will produce a flower and future seeds. Those HAVE to be left behind to reproduce. Those seeds take 24 months to produce new greens. The first year only producing a bulb, with the following year it’s first greens. Then in it’s third year finally a flower to propagate itself. If the flowers aren’t left behind you can easily wipe out the whole plant very quickly.
Only clipping the greens from 2 leafed stalks, you can proceed to harvest for a full flavored Pesto and Salads. In the picture here, you can see I have left the bulbs behind. I do harvest the garlic bulbs eventually, but not until after the plant has finished flowering. The leaves die back as the night time air becomes warmer in late June. The flowers start to bloom late summer, then after they’ve been pollinated, their energies focus on Bulb growth. I will take 2 to 3 per patch in September/October while rustling up the plant enough to allow the seeds to naturally drop. Thus helping to restart it’s regeneration while promoting its current growth and future cycles.
So Why am I talking about flowers and ramps with a cover picture of Elderberry (Sambucus Nigra). Well! There are medicinal virtues of our darling Spring Ramp. Specifically in the treatment of Colds and Croup. You can even treat earaches externally with a warm juice of the leaves. It’s a good thing we’re in isolation because there is nothing delicate and sexy about Garlic Ramp as a perfume, but its uses are well documented. Taking personal isolated walks to admire nature is highly recommended. The fresh air and activity alone is healthy and rejuvenating. You can admire the beauty of our indigenous plants along the way.
Last Summer we had an incredible harvest of Wild Ingredients. Which I squirreled away in my Studio. On offer to Wild Feast Clients are the following and their benefits.
Wild Elderberry Syrup – Standard Strength – $10.00 a bottle (pictured)
Wild Elderberry condensed strength – $20.00 a bottle : Elderberry is known for its’ antioxidants, vitamins and immune boosting qualities. It is recommended to help prevent & ease Cold and Flu symptoms. This syrup can be used straight by the teaspoonful or mixed in Hot or cold water as a beverage.
The condensed strength is triple power and only a small dose per day is needed. Limited Supply available.
Wild Ginger Root Syrup – $10.00 a bottle (pictured to the left) : Wild Ginger promotes circulatory stimulation and sweating, is antiseptic and antibacterial. In small doses in hot water it can sooth sore throats.
Elf-Shot Elixir – $30.00 a bottle:
Addressing all attributes of infections to viruses. This triple condensed Syrup has 8 main Wild harvested ingredients along with unfiltered honey with propolis and additional to taste. Elderberry, Fermented Spruce Tips, High Bush Cranberry, Chaga, Fermented Ginger, Fermented Garlic ramp, Catmint & Cinnamon Bark. The balance of ingredients are Antimicrobial, antibacterial, strengthens immune system, increases production of white blood cells, cools and reduces fevers. An expectorant and muscle pain reliever. It also balances Glucose and relieves a sore throat. One Teaspoon a day an hour before meals.
Only a limited supply available- first come first serve.
Chaga Tea (100% Boreal Chaga– : Is a known Immune Stabilizer, Blood purifier and pain reliever. Also known for its anti-tumor properties. Use one tablespoon per 3 liters of boiling water and let soak for 4 hours. Drink the liquid but reuse the wet powder. Pour a cup of boiled water over used powder and let stand at room temperature for 2 days. Drink up to 3 cups daily 30 minutes before meals.
I like to be proactive in my self care. While not much has changed in my day to day schedule with Self isolation, I have dedicated more time for Walks in the woods with Lou (my trusty Dog & companion). Both of us in midlife happily meandering along through the forest at a snails pace. Frequently stopping to listen and observe. Our only thoughts of a warm & comfortable home and the thoughts of good friends, so far away but so close in our hearts.
Like Nature, we will metamorphize into something beautiful in its renewal.