Garden, Garden Diary, Weeds Beltane May 1, 2016 Wiebke Rost Leave a comment Beltane 2016 recreation, renewal, creative inspiration, changes The sun is here and that means work! The garden and green house needed cleaning up, I have been weeding out and harvesting the first herbs. Here is my Beltane spent in the garden… The garden this evening. Say hello to my friends: mandrake, monkshood and foxglove. The year’s first herb harvest: lemon balm, fresher than fresh and very aromatic! More poisonous friends: the northern wolfsbane, monkshood and belladonna are growing fast now. Belladonna caught a virus (you see the leaves start rolling), but adopts quickly. It’s having more space for the monkshood and it likes it. And now for a nightmare: any gardener with that plant in their yard will sooner or later despair. It’s thanks to the Romans that it now grows in abundance just about anywhere it finds favorable conditions. Mowing the lawn is one way to prevent it from taking over. Therefore it grows in the shadiest corner and loves hedges, where it’s especially tricky to remove. Today I did just that: weeding out the ground elder from the hedges that surround my little poison bed. I removed quite a few long roots, which was an arduous task. I know I didn’t catch all of them and it’s going to come back. But not as strong as before. And having repeated this a couple of times it will eventually be gone for good. At least in that spot. The new babies arrived this week! Old and new mandrake plants. Moved from the basement to the green house and need to recover a bit. They didn’t like the winter indoors. The only reason I don’t want to plant them to the ground are snails, which eat the leaves as if it was salad. Lilac is going to flower soon! Slate black Hellebore: There shall be seeds! Queen of the night tulips are almost black. The flowers are a very dark matte purple and they are perfect for a “black flower” theme garden. Tulips and roses in our front yard… I need to find free time to sort through this maze of tulip and hyacinth bulbs! Old planting pots left outdoors, things start happening… Just in time for may day: lily of the valley has started showing up! I planted these end of February. Our apple-tree just started flowering. As past year I will again collect a bunch for my Qalmana incense and a new, Beltane dream inspired blend… April in the garden: for a few days our meadow is abloom with cuckoo flowers The white blossoms of our old cherry tree Flowers of almond, cherry and Cardamine pratensis Feeding the compost! It’s also the time when the ferns unfurl their fronds… Useful wild herbs: wood avens (Geum urbanum) and greater celandine (Chelidonium majus), both herbs with healing properties and both yellow flowering. These established themselves and I let them grow, giving the ground a break, so it can return to balance after it was full packed with various nightshades in the past years. And yet another wild herb in the garden, also with yellow flowers: lesser celandine (Ficaria verna). The herb is poisonous (as it’s a member in the buttercup family), but the young leaves were once consumed to prevent scurvy, as they are rich in vitamin C. Though recently this has been suggested for Cochlearia officinalis.