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PLANT LIFE


Weeds On The Menu


Crocus

In these unprecedented times we thought we'd offer you some garden culinary suggestions.  Have you ever thought about eating weeds that are naturally growing in your garden?  No... well, here are a few to get you started:

Young dandelion leaves can be eaten raw in salads or cooked like spinach.

Young hawthorn leaves have a nutty taste which can also be added to salads and make a good addition to cheese sandwiches.

Soup can be made from young nettle leaves.  Nettle leaves are thought to contain high levels of vitamin A and C.

Ramsons or wild garlic makes a great substitute for garlic or spring onions and works well with tomatoes.

 

Crocuses


Crocus

As daylight hours increase and temperatures start to rise slightly, dainty crocuses lift their heads to the sun in uplifting colours of violet, yellow and white. 

Said to date back to 1200BC when the Egyptians and Greeks grew them for their hair and textile dyeing uses, there are around 90 species of crocuses that flower in autumn, winter or spring and many have strong perfumes that lure bees out of their hives in February and March.  

Of course, Crocus sativa (the autumn flowering crocus) is renowned for the spice saffron which is obtained from the three stigmas (female reproductive part) of each flower and is used to flavour and colour food.  Considered to be the most expensive spice in the world, Spain provides 70 per cent of the world’s saffron.

Just a word of note, birds like to pick off the flowers of crocuses if their preferred fruits or seeds are not available.

 

Snowdrops


Let's talk about snowdrops.  One of nature's pleasures bursting into life through the cold winter months.  These robust little white flowered gems are quite remarkable, withstanding freezing cold temperatures and exuding a dainty-like perfume when temperatures rise.  What's not to like?

Believe it or not, snowdrops, known as Galanthus in the scientific horticultural world, are not natives of our little island.  In fact, they originate from Europe but have become very comfortable in British woodland soils.

Did you know there are over 2500 species? And these 'true' bulbs can fetch up to £600 each!  Yes, there are some avid collectors amongst us.

Snowdrops have also come to symbolise 'hope and purity' but don't be fooled, the bulbs themselves are deadly poisonous.  For all their properties, let's celebrate the magic of snowdrops by going out and about and discovering their hideouts and snapping photos and posting them on Facebook or Instagram.