It’s quite an honour to be included in the herbal scrapbook of Leoniek Bontje, who apprentices with me. Leoniek is not only a dedicated student of wild medicinal plants, but she’s also an excellent artist.
You don’t need any special skills, however, to make your own herbal scrapbook, and I would urge you to start on one. It is a real way to learn, I mean really learn, about the plants.
Sketching the plants will help your brain organize all the small details that are so important for identification. It will train your eye.
Leave your Smartphone at home for your next walk. Bring instead, your guide book, scrapbook, a roll of tape and a pencil. Tape small samples into your book. Pay attention to the details. Is the leaf hairy on the underside? Is it leathery or like a thin, transparent skin? Is the stem hollow, milky, ridged or prickly? Ask these questions, and many more, then answer them in your notes. You’ll be amazed at how quickly you learn, and how incredibly satisfying it is to have your very own scrapbook.