Wild Weed Wisdom

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


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A Simple Way to Taste the Wisdom of A Place

Eat Me and Learn My Secrets...

Eat Me and Learn My Secrets…

Anika holds some Linden leaves in the photo above – it was soon made into soup and pesto, but just nibbling a leaf as you walk on your way is fine… and beautiful.

I was thinking the other day, how little we eat of the food we grow around us. I mean, the food that grows wild, the real food that belongs to this place. Food that has the vibrations and DNA peculiar to this small spot, where ever it may be on this Earth, that we call home.

I think if we are to heal ourselves, or simply to feel at ease in the cities and towns that we call home, we would do well to eat food that we “belong to,” rather than imported food, even if is it branded as organic, raw or a “super-food.” Even ‘local’ food that is grown 50km away is not so local as the wild food at your feet.  You can harvest this wild food yourself, easily. A wonderful idea is for travelers to eat the wild food they find growing in a new place – what better way to get ‘grounded’ again?

Clean, abundant food is simple to find, providing you know what to look for (learn from someone you trust, and use a guide book). A nibble of a Linden-tree leaf, or a fresh, clean dandelion leaf or stem, a taste of a violet… can infuse you with an unknown amount of living wisdom and soul-nourishment. Just invite it into our bodies with a sense of awareness and gratitude. How easy is that?

In the photo,  Anika holds some gorgeously green Linden leaves – they were quickly made into both a  soup and a pesto, but just nibbling a leaf as you walk on your way is fine, and beautiful.

Greater Celandine Buds

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Greater Celandine Buds

In a day or so, the yellow brightness of the flowers will burst forth and make this plant quite easy to spot from a distance. Still, sometime it’s nice to identify a plant before it blooms, while it is simply pure potential. At a later date, I’ll talk more about this plant – or just come and join me for a Wild Weed Walk…


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Follow That Weed!

I’ve been out taking heaps of photos the past few weeks, aiming to capture the first signs of Spring, and I decided to follow them through all four seasons as well. So, this year I’ll be following as many plants as I can manage, so we can practice identifying them in all stages of development. It can be really helpful – and immensely rewarding – when you discover you can identify plants even before they flower, or from the dried stalk.

Speedwell (Veronica officinalis)

This tiny little flower is actually a power-house of healing and has many healing properties, but especially is known for it’s ability to help with digestion, and to remove plaque and mucus from the blood vessels and intestines. Good for cholesteral.
There is so much more to say, so I will definitely be coming back with more information… suffice to say, keep your eyes open for this beauty and get down on your knees for a better look! This is a really small flower!!!

As I go, I’ll  be adding more information about special properties of the plant, recipes, habitat and so on. Sometimes I might just post a photograph. At the moment, teaching small groups or one-to-one is my preferred way of sharing… If you can make it to a weed walk, workshop, or event, that’s the best way – get down on your knees to really look at the plant; smell it, smell the soil in which it grows, feel the leaves and stem, perhaps draw it, meditate by it, and, if safe to do so, taste it. This is how one becomes friends with our plant allies.Image

Remember, if you do plan to forage for food, herbal medicine, or any other wild plant product, please follow the rules of safety, respect, responsibility and ethical harvesting and use of these plants. See here for some guidelines.

Tansy Leaves

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Tansy Leaves

These Tansy leaves – dried on the stalk over the winter – are still infused with their lively, special aroma that has for centuries (or longer) been used to keep moths at bay… fresh tansy has many other culinary and medicinal uses — at Amsterdamse Bos, with Wild in the City.

Embrace Your Weeds! (Helpful Weeds in the Garden Workshop)

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Embrace Your Weeds!

Our upcoming workshop, in conjunction with CityPlot,  is, “Embrace Your Weeds!”

We’ll be looking at some typical weeds found in backyards across most of urban Europe – I’ll introduce some edible ones, such as chickweed, wild mustard, and shaggy soldier, as well as medicinal weeds such as ground ivy and cleavers… and some that are both edible and medicinal, like the gorgeous burdock, shown above. In fact, when you realize that are so many great weeds growing, you might find you see your garden in a totally different light!

Suzanne will talk about which weeds can repel unwanted pests; and which support beneficial insects; weeds that nourish the soil, or can be made into a natural insect-repellant. It’s going to be a fascinating afternoon of exploring, tasting and talking about our wonderful weeds.

You can sign up through CityPlot – just scroll through their awesome website for a myriad of workshops that will leave you drooling; payment details are toward the bottom of their homepage; or you can simply contact me. Details below:

Embrace Your Weeds

Many of those “weeds” that spring up in your garden may have unique culinary and medicinal properties, and may play other useful roles in your specific ecosystem. We will visit Amsterdam gardens and get to know some of the most common and lovable weeds in person! Together with Ann and Suzanne from CityPlot, Jennie from Wild Weed Wisdom, and Lynn from Urban Herbology we will visit Amsterdam gardens and get to know some of the most common and lovable weeds in person!
Sunday 21 April, 14:00-16:00: Location: Cathy’s home; close to Vondelpark, by the Overtoom.
Sunday 2 June, 15:00-17:00: See CityPlot or Urban Herbology for location details.

Fee: 25 euros

Photo Credit: Mari Gordon


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City Walk – The Wild Weeds Around Us

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I find it incredibly satisfying each day when I spot – and can correctly identify! – some of the many beautiful, edible or medicinal plants and flowers growing in totally urban places, such as in sidewalk cracks, as weeds in gardens, or along the canals. This walk will reveal those often-overlooked treasures, and offer more opportunities for practicing identification skills. I also find that being on the lookout for plants simply makes me feel more grounded, grateful and “in the moment.” If this sounds good to you, let me know!

Date: Monday, March 25, 2013

Time: 10:00 – 11:30 AM

LocationLe Pain Quotidien at Cornelis Troostplein 2, Amsterdam.
Look for my orange-and-yellow bike – with 2 child-seats on it – parked outside – we’ll be close to the bike!
To RSVP click here or contact me directly: