Wild Weed Wisdom

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

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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)


Urban Hazelnut Harvest

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My First Urban Hazelnut Harvet

Today after dinner, we all sat around the  table and chatted about our day while cracking the hazelnuts we had collected two years earlier, with my two daughters, now aged three and five.

We had gathered them in the park by Anne Frank’s original house in Amsterdam. There are two rows of tall, mature hazelnut trees along the walkways bordering the sidewalk, and we just scooped the nuts up. Leah was just a year old, so I guess my big helper was Anika, three years old at the time. She still remembers it. And so do I – it was my first urban hazelnut harvest.

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


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

Spring Blossom Festival at VU Hortus Botanicus (Cancelled)

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Heirloom veggies for sale!Autumn's Open House

Just recent: Due to unforeseen circumstances, The Vu Hortus has cancelled their Spring Blossom Festival. Below is my original posting. I decided to leave it up as an introduction to the VU Hortus, if you don’t already know it.


The Vu Hortus will soon be having its Spring Blossom Festival to celebrate the magic of spring!

The dates are April 20-21 and will be from 10:00 to 17:00 (hours to be confirmed)

I’ll be there on Saturday, offering some fun events: How to Make an Herbal Tincture, and Smudge-Stick-Making, and have a few surprise-offerings of creative nature-play. Would love to have volunteers to help out at the booth, or with the events, so if you’d like to be involved in any aspect, just let me know.

For the kids, there will be an ongoing scavenger hunt, a kids-corner where they can display their nature-discoveries, draw pictures, do crafts, and, if there is a plentiful supply of nettle, we’ll make and sample yummy and healthful nettle pesto.

And there’s more: handmade preserves and farm-honey, and tropical plants, tulip-bulbs, ornamental plants and potted herbs for sale. I’m hoping the Pakistani couple with their amazing chai and samosas will be there – last year their food was so yummy, they completely sold out by the end of day! And, of course, we all look forward to some free, live music!!!

Please take a moment to read and sign the petition to help keep the Vu Hortus!

Here are some photos from last year. My two little daughters and I finished off our weekend with crazy dancing to the awesome salsa band… not a bad way to spend some time!

Horsetail at the VUsmudge sticks and hazelnuts at our booth

Homemade natural preserves and cordialsI have herbal-infusion teabags for sale... each bag is for a big pot of tea.

Stroll through the greenhouses......keep going...

...until you find the turtle pond. Kids and adults love it! Hope to see you there :)

…until you find the turtle pond. Kids and adults love it! Hope to see you there 🙂

This gallery contains 21 photos