The day was chosen to be auspicious. It was a full moon, international woman's day and a solar flare hurtling towards earth, making the glorious sunny morning seem all that more glorious.
The event? A workshop led by Ceri Buck , for the garden museum entitled 'Invisible Food'. We walked through the Archbishop's Park, just behind the museum, spotting Daisy (good for stir-fry), Couch Grass(salads), Mares-tail(soups and stews) and Mallow(protein rich).
Unfortunately the nettles, a delicacy when lightly boiled, like spinach, with butter and nutmeg, had been lopped by an over zealous gardener - only the day before.
What a shame that he or she didn't realise that a tincture of nettle could stabilise blood sugar, revitalise the kidneys and sooth the bronchial passages.
The high point of the walk was stopping on a park bench, under the heady scent of an abundantly flowering Mimosa tree, to sample dandelion root coffee and to learn the secrets of tincture making.
The process is simple, but Ceri warns about being too mechanical in our approach to wild bounty. Don't take too much, think about the smell, the texture and the taste. Use all your senses and emotions to experience the moment.
The tincture takes four weeks to ferment. After that a few drops a day in a glass of cold or warm water should introduce a moment of healing calm to each day. Our Couch-grass tincture will be a spring pick-me-up. And if the Couch-grass doesn't do the trick, then the neat Vodka it's matured with, might help a bit too!
There is a follow up session on 20th March, which is the spring equinox. I shall certainly be there.
Highly recommended. Info www.gardenmuseum.org.
Ceri's work is part of a Lottery Funded Lambeth Initiative, www.lambethlandofsolidarity.wordpress.com