Wild Weed Wisdom

Nurture Your 'Inner Wild' with Foraged Edible and Medicinal Plants

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Inspirations: Yoga Breathing to Change Your Life!

Vu Hortus Breathing Photo

6-Week Breathing to Change Your Life Program

Imagine a greenhouse full of living, breathing, gorgeous tropical plants. Now, imagine being there, quietly breathing… and feeling the energy pulse around and through you.

I’m offering a weekly Yoga Breathing (Pranayama) series in the tropical greenhouse of the VU Hortus Botanicus. It is a wonderful opportunity to find peace and tranquility in the city, and a chance to recharge every cell of your body with living oxygen and plant energy.

Pranayama will inspire, heal and change your life on unimaginable levels – from balancing your nervous system and purifying your organs, to deep relaxation of all parts of the body, energetic healing and an opening of the heart. So please join me on Wednesday mornings or Friday afternoons in the beautiful indoor gardens of the VU Hortus.

You’ll learn and practice breathing and yoga techniques that have been healing people for over thousands of years. And you’ll feel a profound change – for the better!

Jennie Akse-Kelly has lived for a year in India to develop her knowledge of yoga (including a 6-months residential yoga therapy training + 300 hrs teacher training), as well as studied yoga and meditation in Canada, USA, Thailand and Sri Lanka, and has extensive, international teaching experience. Testimonials from students available!

Located at the Vu Hortus, in the Tropical Greenhouse.

Address: Van der Boechorststraat 8, 1081 BT Amsterdam, Netherlands. There is a winkel-cafe and outdoor garden terrace where you can enjoy tea and snacks.

May 22 to June 26 (6 Wednesday-morning sessions)
90 euros

Click Here to Register


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Make Your Own Herbal Remedy: Workshop – Friday, May 17

Want to learn how to make an herbal tincture? This Friday morning join me in some hands-on tincture-making. I’ll provide a selection of dried herbs (some herbs work better dried, others fresh – we’ll talk about this on Friday), and you bring a number of small jars and your own alcohol of choice – or buy some from me if that’s more convenient. Possible herbs include: Arnica, Vitex Berry, Cramp Bark, Gotu Kola, Pau d’Arco, Rhodiola, Shatavari, Tumeric, Yarrow.

We’ll also process a number of my own herbs that are ready to be poured-off. This is a great way to learn what to do when your own tincture has ‘matured’, as well as being a fine introduction to many medicinal herbs and their healing properties. You’ll get a chance to sample each tincture as well.

This workshop will take place at my home, and my apprentices will also be there for additional assistance. Spaces are limited, and reserved for those who have pre-paid.

Please RSVP by bank transfer to L J Akse Kelly, INGB 0755 5451 33

Date: Friday, May 17
Time: 10:00 to 12:00
Fee: €15 to reserve your space . Please fill out the contact form. At the workshop, you’ll buy your chosen herbs to tincture. After you RSVP, I’ll send details with my address and phone number.Image


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Coming Up: Weed Walks (June dates to be announced)

Young Horsetail

What’s growing right now? What special properties do these plants offer us? When is the best time to gather? What parts can I eat or use for medicine? We’ll explore all this and more – come on out! This is an informal introduction to the many useful plants that surround us.

We’ll meet by the children’s pool, where there are plenty of benches to relax until it’s time to head out. Feel free to bring your camera and notebook to record your discoveries. We’ll explore the park and finish in the Artsensijhof – a traditional formal herb garden – where if you wish to stay longer, you can continue learning about our herbal allies.

Cost: 8

The Walk is about 1.5 hours and will be rescheduled in case of rain. (the May 17 walk has been rescheduled as rain is forecast)


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Wild in the City – Day 3 Details


Remember to bring your own scrapbooks with you for this coming Wild in the City! Besides out in the field, hands-on learning, your scrapbook is one of the best ways to help your retain your discoveries, feelings, and wisdom of your day…

This Sunday is Day Three of Wild in the City for Confirmed Participants

***We are going to need our bikes. If you don’t have one, please borrow one!***

Focus for Day 3:

Urban harvest; food-producing and medicinal trees and shrubs; forestry “support”… the wildcrafting way.

From Station Zuid, we are going to walk our bikes, and ride them as well, along city streets, bike paths, along a volkstuin, and into a public park with some ‘wild’ areas in it. We will have our lunch along the way, and, at some point, have a break at the lovely Paviljoen Acquarious -www.paviljoenaquarius.nl
We’ll stop along the way to make tinctures, have lunch, and look at stuff. Take a look at what you need to bring, please.

I’ll be introducing Japanese Quince, crab-apples, mullein, wild arugula, speedwell herb, hops, black walnut trees, alder trees, braam and raspberries (and rooting shoots thereof), wild asparagus, teasel. Also, sheep sorrel and you’ll recognize some of the other juicy edibles along the way. Perhaps we’ll discuss the wonder-root: calamus. Overall, it will be a great, big, satisfying day.

Call me if you have questions.

***If you are a Groen en Doen Grant Recipient, please send me a link to your BLOG – before Saturday. I need to see the blogs to make a report to Groen en Doen***

Day Three Details:
Date: May 26, 2013
Time: 10:00 to 16:00

Starting Point: at Caffe Belmondo, in Station Zuid WTC.
It is right in the ZuiderPlein, on the North West side of the train tracks. Please google for the address to be perfectly sure.

YOU MUST RSVP – I want to know who is coming! Thanks!
See you on Sunday!


  • notebook, pencil, tape, magnifying glass, scissors or swiss-army knife
  • camera, if you like
  • gloves
  • guidebooks! to help identify your plants
  • paper bags of different sizes
  • dress for the weather
  • brown-bag lunch; maybe ‘bread-n-spread’ to make wild sandwiches
  • thermos of hot water, of course!
  • small jar (sterilized pesto or olive-sized jar) with tight-fitting lid – sterilized means washed sparkly-clean with hot water and soap – a dishwasher also does the trick.
  • 2nd jar – 3/4 full of 40% vodka (your choice if you want higher-proof vodka, or organic). This jar should also have been sterilized, again, with a tight-fitting lid.
  • maybe extra water or hand-wipes to clean your hands
  • If you still have a presentation to make, bring your notes and a sample of your plant (or we may find it along the way).


Wildcrafty Soup!

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Wildcrafty Soup!

As-Fresh-As-Can-Be Wildrcafty Soup:

  1. Gather a couple of handfuls (say, one handful per person) of ethically foraged plants, buds and flowers- we used: henbit, ground ivy, hawthorn buds, burdock leaves, dock, dandelion leaves, garlic-mustard, young cleavers and nettles – probably a few more, but I can’t remember! We meant to find some wild ramsons, but they weren’t right in our area, and we missed some bishop weed that was in the area that would have added a huge flavour.
  2. Water
  3. Salt and Pepper – or local flavouring: dried tansy leaves would have been interesting.
  4. Celery and/or carrots, cut into very small pieces – optional
  5. Potatoes – cut into small cubes optional
  6. Pre-cooked lentils  – optional – I cooked these the night before and brought them in a thermos. 1 cup of dried lentils, then pre-cooked is enough.

Get your campfire/camp-stove going, throw it all together, gather your friends and tell a story while the soup comes to a boil, then simmer until the potatoes are soft – about 20 minutes. We collected dried Beech-leaves that were rustling all around us and made a tea from them (not for pregnant women, though) and the tea was gorgeous – tasted a bit smokey, like Lapsang Suchong tea! This was part of a full, 6-hour day in the woods with Wild in the City!

Is it ‘Wildcrafty’ Enough?

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Is it 'Wildcrafty' Enough?

Lots of folks love to be as authentic as possible when wildcrafting. Sometimes, this is just not possible, for example, in a public park! Amsterdam is fortunate to have one of the largest city parks in Europe – Amsterdamse Bos – so we don’t need to leave the city to feel out of the city (well, we still could hear the highway in the distance).

This handy little camp stove is the alternative to a camp-fire, which is illegal in the parks, and dangerous when you are in a beech forest surrounded by dry leaves… Luckily, we had a huge tree stump available to be our table, raising the the stove up by about a foot off the ground… and very little wind that day.

Being authentic has as much to do with your personal intent and process than with following rigid ideas of ” how it should be”. If we were attached to the idea of a roaring campfire, we’d have missed our beautiful experience – and our tasty, as-fresh-as-can-be soup – in the majestic beech forest!

For the soup recipe, click here!


Herbal Sleep & Dream Pillows for Wild Weed Kids



Dream and Sleep Pillows usually give off a wonderful aroma of sweet and pungent herbs, such as lavender, cedar, chamomile, rose, and anise. Some of the other herbs are not quite so aromatic, but still offer benefits to sleep and dreaming – motherwort and hops. Max (aged 6) is getting a good dose of some Rosemary from her basket! To learn about how to make your own Sleep or Dream Pillow, click here.


We all put special notes, words and/or drawings into our pillows to personalize them and fill them with intent. The children LOVED this concept, and dove into the task of carefully customizing their pillow. Here is 5-year-old Anika with her drawing.


In the bottle you can see dried hops (sleep enhancer), in the background is a bottle of Calendula (gentle, loving dreams) and the loose, dried herb is mugwort (enhanced dreams). Children don’t really need this herb to enhance dreams, but I found such a nice patch, that had been out all winter, and was therefore less potent, I thought it would be nice to introduce it. Plus, it is great for kids to see the herb on the stalk, and pull the dried leaves of themselves.


There was some Motherwort (Cardiaca leonorus) growing on-site, and I also had some dried with me… I explained to the children how, aside from the traditional use as a heart-remedy, Motherwort also bathed you in “Mother’s Love” when you felt lonely, angry, jealous, or just plain sad. Or just when you wanted a hug, and your Mommy couldn’t be there. All the kids said they’d like this, especially because they wished they could snuggle with their Mom’s all night long. Marou’s pillow was made with great care, full of all the loving herbs – Motherwort, Rose, Chamomile and Calendula, especially.


Filling the pillow with loving thoughts…


We first had a tour of some of the living herbs growing at the VU Hortus – Rosemary, Sage, Motherwort, Cedar, Birch… and then added some extra I provided.


This bag of Rosebuds made each child sigh with happiness, and close their eyes with joy. Can you imagine how they may help with happy, loving dreams? (They also taste divine when added to a pot of black tea)


Another good look at the bags (bath-linen mittens) we used. Easy to make yourself as well, with old cloth hankys, for example.


Amelie did a great job stripping the dried leaves off of the Mugwort stalk.


… and again, this time it’s Mateo.


We also added Mullein, to help keep nightmares at bay and have nice dreams. The kids loved the idea of herbs to help with that. Here, I am holding some dried flower-head; there was also some fresh Mullein growing on-site that we discovered and talked about.


The children helped harvest Rosemary leaves and we put them in the pillow – also to ward off bad dreams – and of course, we all ate some!


Here’s a nice, fat, young, Motherwort leaf! Perfect for feeling loved and protected.


A wonderful day.

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