It's, Saturday Morning and many magpies are currently singing in harmony at the my window as I type these words; they are basking in the sun of what is now the last week of Summer.
Last week we hosted our first weed walk for the year and it was baptised by drizzle, rain and a decent amount of fog; but in my eyes and the many that showed up, it was perfect.
Those who came, made their way to the meeting point of Cockatoo, nestled amongst the lush trees of the the Dandenong Ranges. Despite the weather, herb enthusiasts were not deterred, and and it was lovely to see so many people making their way from different parts of Victoria.
This event was a collaboration of two groups joining together, Duncan McKay and Lynne Scaccao of Herbalist Without Borders - Victorian Chapter ran the event whilst Hills Herbal Collective, Cockatoo provided the space, plants and ceramics.
Many plants were discussed, with the decision to focus on looking to the ground rather then to the trees and at one point within a 1 metre square there were at least 5 weeds, waiting to be learnt about, discussed, sampled and appreciated. And appreciated they were as all who came where either taking notes, capturing photos on the wonder of these green beings, or sharing their knowledge of them.
While looking to the ground on which we tread, we also had an array of medicinal plants to explore in the Hills Herbal Collective garden beds. These beds were created in July 2019 to teach, inspire and share herbal wisdom for the Dandenong Ranges Community and is steward by herbalist Brodie and Naturopath Kirsten who are also the founders of the HWB Dandenong Ranges Chapter.
It was clear that everyone who came had their own connection to the plants that were spoken of, sharing their stories, the memories that they invoke,d the tales they had heard of them, and their affect on their body.
Some of the plants that we witnessed included:
* plantain * self heal * clover * dandelion * gotu kola * rosemary * fennel * milk thistle * calendula * lemon balm * yarrow * valerian * marshmallow * dock
We learnt that while some plants are known for consuming, equally important is the role of environmental indicator plants such as dock and yarrow that share with us a glimpse into the health of the soil and its environment. Such plants share with us a histological understanding into the impact of human development. Duncan also shared with us about St Mary's thistle being widely spread along the VIC/NSW border, showcasing the plants importance to the Early settlers. This discussion led us to talk about the importance of working with weeds (harvesting) as opposed to against them (chemical sprays).
To end the walk Brodie of Hills Herbal Collective led along the Cockatoo Creek Bed where she discussed her hope to evegetate the creek bed and shared her knowledge that she had received on native plants including prickly current, native flax, wattle and cumbungee. She talked about how to consume and create with these native wonders, and all got to sample to delights that is the prickly current. For those interested, Brodie will be running a native coiled basket workshop on March 21st in Cockatoo. Details can be found here
The morning concluded with a ceramic craft session, where we all chose a plant that we felt connected with; to create a plaque of it to be placed within the Hills Herbal Collective Garden beds. It's leaf and or flower was then pressed amongst the clay and carefully inscribed was the plant name. These will dry over the next month and be placed in a kiln for firing. It was a lovely and therapeutic ending to the morning, and allowed us to thank and give back to the plants that always give to us.
The next Herbalist Without Borders event is being held on Sunday 15th March and is teeing up to be a great day filled with medicine making, talks and a master class session. Be sure to register here to attend this event
If you are interested in being apart of Herbalist Without Borders - Victoria we would be absolutely delighted. HWB is sustained by volunteers, donors, & members delivering health, wellness and humanitarian aid to those in need. We are always looking for new members.
In Herbs and Happniness