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Cover

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Contents i Editorial Artist of the Month

Kyra Pollitt Marianne Hazlewood

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ii Herb of the Month Tang and Ware

Marianne Hughes, Hazel Brady Sara Dodd

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iii Our Man in the Field….

Dave Hughes meets Monica Wilde

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iv Nature Therapy Anthroposophical Views Flower Remedies

Nathalie Moriarty Dora Wagner Anne Dalziel

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v The Messy Medic Jazz Ecology

Khadija Meghrawi Ramsey Affifi

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vi Garden Gems Sovereign Seeds The Globe Physic Garden The Physic Garden at Holyroodhouse

Ruth Crighton-Ward Sinéad Fortune Senga Bate Lucy Wood

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vii Notes from the Brew Room Plantstuffs Chocolatime

Ann King Elizabeth Oliver Milly Watson Brown

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viii Foraging Through Folklore

Ella Leith

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ix Botanica Fabula StAnza Presents…

Amanda Edmiston Nora Gomringer

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x Book Club: Diane Gardener reviews Plant Magic by Greg Kenicer (RBGE, 2020) Marianne Hughes reviews Scottish Plant Lore: An illustrated flora by Greg Kenicer (RBGE, 2018) Colette Jones reviews Herbal Antivirals by Stephen Harrod Buhner (Storey Publishing, 2013) Kyra Pollitt reviews For the Love of Trees by Vicky Allan and Anna Deacon (Black & White, 2020)

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xi The Herbologist’s Diary

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xii Contributors Looking Forward

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i: Editorial

Energy Kyra Pollitt Energy can be changed from one form to another, but it cannot be created or destroyed. First Law of Thermodynamics (Conservation), Émilie du Châtelet In essence, energy can be only converted from one form into another. I’m no physicist, but who doesn’t marvel at the wonder of a universe animated by this one, recycled material? Isn’t it remarkable to consider that proposition? Here in the Northern hemisphere, as sunlight, heat, animal and plant life wane, it is comforting to know that energy will and must return. As we all struggle, each in our own ways, with the stresses and strains of life in a time of global pandemic, it is comforting to know that— however we are feeling in this moment —all will and must return. Our Herb of the Month is Bladderwrack (Fucus vesiculosus), lending the energies of the seas to the regulation of our thyroid and mood. In our interview, Dave Hughes meets Monica Wilde, who provokes us to consider how we might engage with other energies we find on our planet. Plantstuffs brings us an exciting way to capture the last energies of the plant year, Garden Gems finds energy for winter tasks in the veg beds and the store shed, while Sovereign Seeds looks to the conservation of creation. The Globe Physic Garden reflects on the strangeness of the year gone by, just as The Physic Garden at the Palace of Holyroodhouse opens anew. We are delighted that, in our first audio link, His Royal Highness The Prince Charles, Duke of Rothesay, tells us more about the recreation of this historic garden. Our Artist of the Month, Marianne Hazlewood, candidly describes how the management of her own energy levels guided the intensely observed works that grace these pages. A new column explains the use of Flower Remedies in different types of fatigue, whilst Jazz Ecology considers nature’s provision of our favourite stimulant— caffeine. Chocolatime captures a very palatable way of supporting the ancient energies of the moon’s cycle. Some secrets of the deep surface in Foraging through Folklore, whilst an old tale is re-energized in Botanica Fabula, and an inner voice sings to us in StAnza. Anthroposophical Views this month are on the Autumn Crocus, and the three-fold nature of human being. Nature Therapy is two-fold this month, after we accidentally omitted a page of last month’s article. We sincerely apologise to the author, Nathalie Moriarty. The second of her columns in this issue looks at gentle ways to restore our shredded attention— clearly something from which this Editor would benefit. Our Book Club reviews work on antivirals, as well as potential herbological Christmas gift books. And, to usher in the festive season, tickets go on sale for our Grand Winter Raffle. Happy reading. Executive Editor Editor Artistic Director Illustrators Treasurer

Catherine Conway-Payne Kyra Pollitt Maddy Mould Maddy Mould, Hazel Brady Marianne Hughes

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i: Artist of the Month

Marianne Hazlewood www.mariannehazlewood.co.uk Marianne Hazlewood, Dip BI, is an RHS and BISCOT Gold award-winning botanical illustrator who specialises in detail. She creates photorealistic depictions that demonstrate the structures, patterns and tones within her specimens. Her small garden, featured on BBC2’s Gardeners’ World, is central to her work and has provided a place to grow, observe and document her plants over multiple seasons. Her modern botanical illustrations are created in various media including watercolour, Japanese ink paste, screenprint, digital graphics and pen-and-ink and she finds each media offers a different refinement on her close observational process. Marianne is a VAS 2019 Open Eye Gallery award winner, recently exhibiting with the Open Eye Gallery in Edinburgh. You will spot her inimitable style in the pages of Kenicer’s Scottish Plant Lore: An illustrated flora (reviewed in this issue’s Book Club), and her work is held in both the RBGE Florilegium, and in the NHS Lothian Art Collection. Her illustrations have also featured in various botanical society group exhibitions including Flora Scotia, SSBA, ESBA and ASBA and she regularly shows work at the annual Pittenweem Arts Festival. Her Ink Shoots series was the subject of an article in The Botanical Artist (Journal of the American Society of Botanical Artists, 2019). Marianne writes: Energy! I have an energy issue! I’ve been experiencing fatigue since September 2015, when I was studying for my Diploma in Botanical Illustration at RBGE. Assessing my energy levels since then has been a massive part of my life. I make micro-estimates throughout the day, measuring out the potential likelihood of being able to complete each task, no matter how small. Such measures may seem unnecessary for those who haven’t experienced fatigue, but they are essential to managing the condition.

I began working with Arisaema during my final project at RBGE, in which we were required to work on a set of five themed paintings. This unhappily coincided with the passing of three close family members and three beloved pets. Alongside bereavement, I experienced emotional, mental and physical depletion, and fatigue began to set in. Numb and lost, I visited the annual Flowering Scotland show at Ingliston to find some inspiration for my themed work. A garden designer friend had suggested bulbs as a subject, since I could manipulate their growth to suit my schedule. With that helpful push, I wandered up and down the stands. I was drawn to the Jacques Amand display, which was teeming with amazing Arisaema. This seemed the perfect excuse to fill my backpack with as many tubers as I could carry. I had thought, primarily, that I would be looking at the inflorescences of these plants, but it soon became apparent that there was something to be admired at all stages of their life cycle. I was really taken with the form of these little bundles of energy— with their various structures hinting at root and shoot formation. I made a start with some scientific pen-and-ink drawings of the tubers, while working out the best cultivation methods for them and creating a schedule for their likely growth. And so a journey of discovery began, as the tubers started to spend their stored energy, quietly under the ground. The developing shoots that the tubers produce are marvels of compressed packaging. It was really exciting to see the crinkly leaves peeking out of their thick, protective cataphylls and then unfurling, showing a hint of a flower, with its entangled spadix. In a series that became known as Ink Shoots, I

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i: Artist of the Month

used Japanese ink paste with a dip pen on thick cartridge paper to capture these various stages in their evolution. I really loved the fluidity and strippeddown nature of working with this medium in monotone. Examining and documenting these plants, over a number of seasons, ultimately carried me through the depths of my fatigue; through days in which I thought I could barely surface. I would go down to the garden to look at my plants, turning their pots this way and that. Or I might illustrate them for fifteen minutes, before returning to the release of sleep and rest. As my strength and resilience returned, I was able to make a start on a series of watercolour paintings that combined two seasons of growth— the flowers and fruit. I captured them with a drybrush technique that is very focused and detailed, and in doing this I submerged myself in a flow space which felt very healing. Somehow these little tubers had imparted their energy, not just into their growth, but also into my recovery. Late last year, I had enough stamina to visit Edinburgh Printmakers, to learn some new skills. I wanted to develop my ink drawings and see if I could bring some colour back into the simplified forms. So, I learned how to screenprint, and took five of my Ink Shoots monochrome illustrations through the process. I mixed colours and tones to match my watercolour illustrations and blocked out the structure with geometric forms. I loved the results, and I loved having the energy to do this new work. After having to measure out my own energy, drop by drop, I feel that these pieces have an energy and excitement within them, which is deeply satisfying.

Marianne has continued her connection with RBGE, as a tutor for the online Certificate in Botanical Illustration. She loves working with students, and is interested in connecting and working with botanists, horticulturalists, environmental scientists and other artists. Marianne enjoys taking on commission work, and is very much looking forward to the new projects on her ever-growing to-do list. You can contact and follow Marianne through these various means: mail@mariannehazlewood.co.uk https://www.instagram.com/mariannehazlewo od/ https://www.facebook.com/Marianne.E.Hazle wood/ COVER IMAGE Arisaema ringens tuber with Digital Geometric Styling Multiliner drawing on Bristol board, with a digitally appended background, 29.7 x 21cm INSERT IMAGES Arisaema ringens Ink Shoots series. Japanese ink paste on Lambeth cartridge, 70 x 50cm Arisaema ringens Watercolour on Fabriano 5, 45 x 32 cm The Artist in her Garden Arisaema ringens with Geometric Styling Ink Shoots series. Screenprint, 38 x 28cm Arisaema griffithii tuber with Digital Geometric Styling Multiliner drawing on Bristol board, with a digitally appended background, 29.7 x 21cm Arisaema griffithii Ink Shoots series. Japanese ink paste on Lambeth cartridge, 70 x 50cm Arisaema griffithii with Geometric Styling Ink Shoots series. Screenprint, 70 x 50cm Arisaema griffithii Watercolour on Fabriano 5, 45 x 32 cm

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Marianne Hazlewood Arisaema ringens Ink Shoots series

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ii: Herb of the Month

Bladderwrack (Fucus vesiculosus) Marianne Hughes, with illustration by Hazel Brady From the Atlantic coast to the Baltic Sea, Bladderwrack thrives in cool water. In Scotland, as in other coastal communities, seaweeds of all types have been central to traditional medicinal practices. The range of conditions treated include iodine deficiency, obesity, joint pain, aging skin, digestive issues, urinary tract infection, and thyroid dysfunction— including hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism, and goitre development. (Hypothyroidism is characterised by symptoms such as weight gain, fatigue, dry skin and— though this is subject to debate — sensitivity to cold.) In terms of vitamin and mineral content, seaweeds are a rich source. The levels of Vitamin A are highest in Bladderwrack during the summer, whereas Vitamin C levels are at their highest in the autumn. Bladderwrack is also high in phosphorous, bromine, magnesium, iodine and zinc. Iodine levels in seaweeds are also variable depending on the harvest time, type of seaweed, and the location. The iodine in Bladderwrack is found in the form of inorganic salts bound to proteins and lipids. Iodine is a building block for thyroid hormones. The thyroid gland actively absorbs bio-available iodine, combining it with tyrosine in enzymatic reactions to synthesize thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3). In turn, the hormones T3 and T4 regulate the body's temperature, metabolism, and heart rate and support our neurological development. I feel it is also important to note the role seaweeds play in planetary terms. Seaweeds are one of the fastest growing plants in the world: Kelp, for example, grows nine to twelve feet long in a mere three months. Seaweeds use photosynthesis to pull carbon from the atmosphere and the water, with some varieties capable of absorbing five times more carbon dioxide than land-based plants.

Due to soil erosion and the use of herbicides and pesticides, our food— apart from that grown organically —is mineral-poor. While the bigger issues of world-wide depleted soil quality and ongoing ecocide require systemic changes, I think we can consider seaweeds as small positive contributions to both dietary and planetary health. The addition of seaweeds to our diets has a beneficial impact, as does the application of seaweed liquid feeds to the growing of plants for consumption. Seaweed farms have the capacity to restore instead of depleting, and to grow considerable amounts of nutrient-rich foods. Ocean farms require no fresh water, no deforestation and no fertilizer— avoiding the downsides of land-based farming. About 50% of seaweed’s weight is oil, which can be used to make biodiesel. There is currently controversy about using land for growing biodiesel that might be better used for growing food, so seaweed offers an attractive alternative: The DOE estimates that seaweed biofuel can yield up to thirty times more energy per acre that land crops such as soybeans (Hawken, 2017). In Scotland, we are fortunate to have seas rich in seaweeds. However, only 22% of the sea around Scotland is within Marine Protected Areas (MPAs). Perhaps if these MPAs could be expanded and monitored we could— like Sweden —expand our seaweed production for the benefit of our diets and our planet.

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ii: Herb of the Month

References Bove, M. (2013) ‘Bladderwrack, An Overview of the Research and Indications’, blog post: https://www.gaiaherbs.com/blogs/herbs/blad derwrack, accessed 05.10.20 Davidson, K. (2020) ‘Bladderwrack: Benefits, Uses and Side Effects’, online article: www.healthline.com, accessed 05.10.20 Hawken, P. (2017) Drawdown: the most comprehensive plan ever proposed to reverse Global Warming, Penguin Books: London Surey-Gent, S. & Morris, G. (1987) Seaweed: A User’s Guide, Whittet Books: Stansted

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ii: Tang and Ware

The Art of Seaweeds Sara Dodd Blanketing the rocks and foreshores of Scotland’s estuaries, bays and inlets, seaweeds are a familiar sight to beachgoers, fishermen and sailors alike. But few of us have seen beyond the fringes of leathery Wracks and rubbery Kelps at harbour's edge, or the heaped and tangled detritus cast up by a stormy sea. Intrepid explorers will catch glints of colours and shapes in rock pools further out, but for most, the slippery reefs or encrusted barnacles are too treacherous to pass. Deep in those most sheltered pools, where seawater is captured and held between tides, a sparkle of colour and light alludes to another world. As the tide washes in, those tangled heaps reveal brilliant reds, greens, pinks, browns and golds. Capture a loose red Delesseria sanguinea, and a beautiful organic form is released; branching, arching, feathery fronds unfolding to play in the waves' mercurial dance. Spheres of Polysiphonia stricta expand to filamentous strands, and translucent fans of pink and purple Callophyllis laciniata open and sway with the incoming tide.

In 2010, preparing my herbarium for my RBGE Herbology course, my path took me to the shore close to my home in search of coastal flora. With the help of RBGE’s Catherine Conway-Payne and Kate Eden, I found that little seaweed pressing had been done since Victorian times. Gathering and pressing seaweeds was a serious pastime for many earlier generations, and an inspiration to artists and designers from as early as the 1700s. The V&A’s archives hold William Kilburn’s classic designs for society frocks of the 18th century, with dress fabric patterns based on pressings of pink and green seaweeds floating in pools of periwinkle corals. His organic forms preceded the naturalistic designs of William Morris a century later, and similar forms have since become familiar to us through designers like Laura Ashley and Cath Kidston. Kilburn (17451818) worked as a botanical illustrator for William Curtis’ Flora Londiniensis, his adherence to authenticity rooted in the new science of botany emerging just at the moment Linnaeus was devising his monumental classification system. Kilburn’s fabric designs captured society’s growing fascination for natural history, and were inspired by both his sister’s and his wife’s enthusiasm for gathering and pressing seaweeds. A generation later, trained botanist Anna Atkins (1799 – 1871) applied a camera-less photographic technique— introduced to her by William Henry Fox Talbot and Sir John Herschel —to create exquisite cyanotype ‘drawings’ of seaweeds. From 1843 to 1853, she published three volumes of Photographs of British Algae, leading the way for photography in scientific illustration. She was one of several well-known, female Victorian seaweed collectors, together with Amelia Griffiths (17681858) and Margaret Gatty (1809-1873)— whose work is held in the collection of the University of St. Andrews.

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ii: Tang and Ware

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ii: Tang and Ware Their work inspired many a Victorian holidaymaker to paste seaweed samples into albums, onto greeting cards, and decorative wall hangings and to compose seaweedthemed poetry. The enthusiasm for collecting stretched from the British Isles to the South Seas. Specimens were sent— rolled up in paper —to fellow collectors around the world, in the quest to discover new species and contribute to botanical science. Once dried, labelled and catalogued they were consigned to dusty albums— many of which still make up the core of today’s Herbarium collections. It was in the RBGE Herbarium where I first saw seaweed pressings and was inspired to return to the tradition. The process requires both time and timing, but is relatively simple, very gentle, and Zen-like: 1. Begin by gathering fragments from the strand line, or free-floating specimens at low tide. Wash them in the surf or a tidepool, to rinse away any clinging creatures and entanglements. Keep your specimens moist in plastic bag or bucket of seawater, and before you leave the beach make sure you fill a couple of bottles with seawater, for further cleaning and processing. 2. When you are ready to press, fill a tray with about 0.5cm seawater, filtered through muslin. Make sure your tray is large enough to contain your pressing paper (herbarium or watercolour paper is good). 3. Place your paper face down in the water, then turn it right side up in the tray— so that it is only just covered in water. 4. Clean your specimen(s) of all sand, grit, snails and other seaweeds and lay it gently on the paper. 5. Using your fingers or tweezers, toothpicks, paintbrushes, surface water and gravity, arrange your specimen to best advantage, removing stray and overlapping bits. 6. Gently lift a corner of the paper from the tray (seaweed should stay put by osmotic force) and drain water off by holding the paper up at a shallow angle.

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ii: Tang and Ware 7. Place on a pile of dry newspaper, making any final tweaks to the arrangement. Cover with muslin cloth, more newsprint, and press down with your hands to remove as much water as possible. 8. Place your paper (with the muslin still on it) onto your press which has been laid with dry newsprint to absorb residual water. Cover with more newsprint. 9. Cover with stones, or other heavy objects, and leave to dry for 2-3 hours. Change the newsprint again, then leave to dry, ideally in an airing cupboard. Allow 3-4 days for thin seaweeds, a week or more for thick ones. 10. When dry, very gently pull back the muslin. The seaweed should have largely stuck to the paper, but a few strands may escape.

Winter is a poor time to collect specimens— the season runs May to September —so, at this time of year, I take photographs instead. In the low rocky outcrops off North Berwick’s West Beach are shallow rock pools with pink bottoms of exquisite cerise Lithothamnion glaciale and

In 1947, Henri Matisse began designing the beautiful stained-glass window of La Chapelle du Rosaire in Vence, based on motifs of seaweed and coral. In his vibrant vie seconde, he created over 20 seaweed collages. More recently, the Halcyon Gallery’s 2018 exhibition of Dale Chihuly’s ‘Beyond the Object’ showed stained glass works that conjured dreamlike sensations of floating beneath the stilled chromatic waves of organic forms, diffusing the colour and light of an electric rockpool. Meanwhile, one of the most celebrated contemporary artists photographing seaweeds is Josie Iselin, whose work I have long admired. The German designer Julia Lohmann, now Head of the Department of Seaweed at Aalto University, explores new techniques of crafting objects from Kelps. Her stunning pieces are both art and product design, ranging from huge installations to elegant benches and lamp shades.

www.tangandware.com Images: Sara Dodd

rougy Hildenbrandia rubra. Lining these pools are blankets of Laminaria digitata and Fucus vesiculosus, their great floppy fronds forming a protective ridge at the rock pool edge. Anchored in the deepest crevices are copses of Kelps, with crenellations of purple Corallines and magenta species of Rhodymenia genus sheltering under sandstone ledges. Here the contrast between the red sandstone and greenstone is acute, the borders softened by splashes of crustose algae. In the first rays of Spring, iridescent blue Carrageenans sparkle. This type of habitat is found at the edges of many protected bays; last year I spent a morning photographing stunning compositions of stones and seaweeds at the edge of Skara Brae, Orkney.

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Marianne Hazlewood Arisaema ringens

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iii: Our Man in the Field

David Hughes meets Monica Wilde It’s a sunny afternoon, late summer, there’s a backing track of birdsong, and I am strolling towards a conversation with another titan of our modern herbology pantheon. This time, the big chief of Napier’s the Herbalist— Monica Wilde. To bring everyone up to speed, Monica is one of the best educators in medicinal plants out there. If there was a scouting movement for herbology, she’d be Pack Leader, her sleeve festooned with achievements. Master of Herbal Medicine badge? Check. Linnean Society Fellow badge? Check. Association of Foragers badge? Check. British Mycological Society badge? Check. Monica knows all the knots, and on the herbology camping trips she’d have her tent built and dinner foraged before most of us would even have our rucksacks off our backs. She also makes the best Kombucha I’ve ever tasted, though she’d be far too modest to admit it. The setting for this month’s adventure is a meandering path dissecting the vibrant habitats Monica has encouraged in the gardens that surround her home, at Wychmoss in West Lothian. It’s one of the few places left in the central belt of Scotland where the hum of traffic can’t be heard. This was neither my first visit, nor my first successful arrival. It’s one of those locations that Google maps insists is fluid. But now I’m here, and I’m being treated to the guided tour. It’s an experience worth savouring, not least because whenever I've been a pupil of Monica’s I've come away with new knowledge, a new insight. It’s as if she hands you another little piece of the jigsaw every time you see her… As I say, this wasn't my first visit to Wychmoss. Over a weekend, the previous summer, I and a few of my herbology student peers attended a

mushroom cultivation course, led by Monica and the equally brilliant Matthew Rooney. That’s where many of the connections underlying the more esoteric gardening principles began to make sense to me. Obviously, I’d also taken the liberty to have a good rifle around the garden. So, while I had a sense of the place before I arrived, I hadn't quite tapped into the essence, nor the scope of what Monica is in the process of achieving here. The sun is shining, the birds are singing and the fluffy seed heads of Rosebay Willowherb (Chamaenerion angustifolium) float by on the breeze, dancing their way past the quaking Aspen (Populus tremula) and Cherry trees (Prunus avium). As we walk the four acres, Monica talks me through the process of refining this previously quarried land, explaining how it’s been repurposed and encouraged to form the variety of microhabitats that comprise classic heathland. In creating this haven, space has been made for plants that wouldn't otherwise grow here; Eyebright (Euphrasia officinalis), Mouse-ear Hawkweed (Pilosella officinarum). They’re brought by animals, carried in on the wind, and granted permission here. There’s low-key endeavour in the creation of this place. It’s hand-tooled and handcrafted and, while this may result in many a blistered finger, there’s a method in play when approaching a garden in this manner; one that vastly improves diversity. Monica jokes: The first year we cut this with a scythe... great for the waist action! But, there’s a reason. When you cut with a scythe, you’re not mashing the plants up as you would with a strimmer. Using the scythe allows the weaker plants and the wildflowers to come through, and

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iii: Our Man in the Field eventually out-compete the Hogweed, Docks and Nettles that you would usually see taking up residences This kind of clever cultivation is evident right across the garden, although some wouldn’t even notice it is cultivated at all. As Monica says, it’s certainly not formal. You have to take opportunities to create new habitats when they arise; the aftermath of a felled tree, for example, can provide all the resources necessary for an excellent crop of fungi to flourish— if you inoculate the resulting timber pile soon enough. Might be this year, might be next… Wychmoss is definitely a place where a longerterm vision is just starting to be realised. Yet there's a pervading sense of longevity here. Nothing seems rushed. I suspect one of the reasons is that Monica’s whole approach entails her observations of plants interacting with their landscape, and each other, over a decent span of time: When you’re in one place for a long time, you’ve the benefit of moving at the pace of the plants and the fungi. We cross a stream, round a bend, and see a flush of Watercress (Nasturtium officinale) cascading down a bank. Again, this is a reward of subtle and considered landscaping: I redirected the stream and shaped it, so when it goes around this corner it stays damp. The Mint and Watercress make their way onto the land, but the snails and beasties stay down in the water. Another habitat for plants that fill a particular ecological niche. Monica operates an opendoor policy, inviting plants to come, to take up residence, to make themselves heard. It’s a collection that curates itself: We don’t discriminate between weeds and non-weeds. Even some invasive species are proving to be the medicines we need today. Rabbits, however, are an entirely different matter. I am encouraged to close a gate behind me.

The garden also plays host to experiments that service simple curiosity. I’m shown the recently constructed ‘mushroom lasagne bed’, composed of layered horse manure, wood chippings and cardboard inoculated with a mix of mycelia. Here, the Giant Puffball (Calvatia gigantea), Honey Fungus (Armillaria mellea) and King Stropharia (Stropharia rugosoannulata) will fight it out underground, until the champions reveal themselves in autumn. Taking shape at Wychmoss is a representation of the marginal space between civilisation and wilderness. Here is a collection of useful plants that continue to draw humans searching for food and medicine. Here, also, is a space that respects time, remembers commitment and, in so doing, opens us to understanding how plants are trying to communicate. A dawning moment for me was that plant chemistry is not what I thought it was. It isn't so much a science as a language, and if you’re being semantic about it ‘biosemiosis’ is probably a better descriptor. It's a language of signals, based on the belief that plants have a sentience, or are conscious enough to communicate. The question of plant sentience is hotly debated in scientific communities, and a new focus in the field of plant biology. The aim is to understand how plants process and use information from their surroundings to develop, prosper and reproduce optimally. It's referred to as ‘plant neurobiology’, but some favour ‘plant cognitive ecology’. To date, research suggests that plants have a biological response mechanism of over 3000 chemicals, which they can use to signal, communicate, and respond to stimuli within their surroundings. These systems include longdistance electrical signalling, hormonal response to environmental factors, and even mechanisms to initiate and communicate symbiotically with bacteria, fungi and neighbouring plants. Assuming plants are trying to communicate with us begs the question of how we tap into that and understand them. According to Monica: It’s up to us to reclaim our ability to communicate with plants.

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iii: Our Man in the Field By creating a living habitat that can interact with itself, Monica is offering a platform to plants. But it doesn't stop there. Communication is a two-way street, and there’s a level beyond simply noticing the plants around us. It would be coy of me to not discuss it simply because it plunges us headlong into the esoteric. If plants are doing their best to communicate with us right now, how do we make ourselves more receptive to them? By developing insight through meditation. As a keen meditator, I relish any opportunity to explore the subject of inner space— particularly with someone as wise as Monica Wilde. I’d learned from her essays that her meditation practice had influenced her work with medicinal plants, and I was keen to pick her brains. What I was told is one of the most succinct and useful descriptions of the benefits of meditation I’ve ever heard. So, other than imploring you to undertake any tutelage that Monica Wilde offers, I’ll leave you to contemplate her wisdom: If you don’t take the time to meditate, you’re liable to become a victim of your own prejudice. We tend to be lazy; we learn things and then get into ruts about the way we think. It’s not deliberate laziness. From a neurological point of view, as we learn the brain tends to put information in ruts or traps— so we can recall them quicker. For instance, if you're learning the piano it's a really slow process. You have to practice, because the signal has to work out the path from the brain all the way down the arm, through the hand, down through the fingers, to the feel or touch of the key, and then relay that message back. But eventually, with enough repetition, it wears a groove and you can play. It’s much like the groove that something like shingles will cause in your body. When shingles bursts through for the first time it creates a motorway through the nervous system, herpes does the same thing with a cold sore. This is why they always occur in the same place; the virus tunnels, and bridges gaps, and carves paths that can be used again. In

some ways, the mind is the same. They say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, but by meditating and emptying the mind you become more receptive to new ways of thinking— and that is what keeps you able not to receive more knowledge, but to gain more wisdom. We live in an age of knowledge, but very little wisdom. You can go back to the philosophy of Lao Tzu, and he says: to gain knowledge you have to add, but to gain wisdom you have to subtract. And one of the things we don’t spend much time on is discernment. We used to be taught about the gift of discernment, and we were taught to weigh up information and make decisions. But more and more nowadays, we live in a world where there is a flood of information and many of us lack the ability to discriminate between good knowledge and superfluous chatter. Only by emptying your mind, creating the space, and being still can you really start to perceive some of the subtleties and the innate wisdoms of non-human organisms. ‘Til next time, kids… Image: Monica Wilde

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The Grand Winter Raffle

How to Buy Your Tickets There are three ways to get your mitts on a golden ticket. Just choose the way that suits you best.  Bank Transfer and email Set up Herbology News as a new payment recipient, using the following details: Name: Herbology News Bank: Clydesdale Sort Code: 82-45-05 Account number: 80148656 If you can, enter your email address as a payment reference. Now drop us an email herbologynews@gmail.com, and let us know. This is probably the easiest method, and all your payment reaches Herbology News.  Paypal and email If you have a PayPal account, sign in and enter herbologynews@gmail.com as the organisation you want to pay. Enter the amount. PayPal will acknowledge that your payment has been made. Now email herbologynews@gmail.com, including some reference to the Paypal acknowledgement. Please note that PayPal do take 2.9% + 20p of the money you send to Herbology News.  Cheque Send your cheque— payable to Herbology News — with your name & email address on the back. Post your envelope to: Marianne Hughes Treasurer Herbology News 2 Durham Road Edinburgh EH15 1 NX This is old school but efficient, as long as you pop it in the post soon, so it gets to us before the 25 December! th

Thanks. Your support is very much appreciated.

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Raffle Prizes

Roll up! Roll up! Buy a £5 raffle ticket and you could win one of these amazing prizes: • A 50cl bottle of hand-crafted, small batch Secret Garden Christmas Gin (Cinnamon, Ginger and Cardamom) from The Old Curiosity • A hamper of Herbal Teas from Herbal Heritage • Either a fun hour of 1:1 Voice and Musical Exploration OR your own Online, At-Home Concert from Caro Overy • A copy of The Peace of Wild Things by Wendell Berry (Penguin, 2018) from StAnza poetry • A copy of the Tales of the Taibhsear CD from Botanica Fabula • A gift basket of Organic Lavender Felted Soap, on a Hemu Wood Soap Dish, with a Lavender Shampoo Bar from Pins and Pumpkins • Fungi: An unframed A3 print on 170gsm recycled paper by Maddy Mould •Atropa belladona: An unframed A3 print on 170gsm recycled paper by Maddy Mould • Instruction for a Home-Made Lavender-Rose Heart-Compress from Dora Wagner • An in-person or virtual Guided Forest Walk with Nathalie Moriarty • A 50gm Skein of Handspun Portland Yarn, dyed with Dock Seeds. Rose beige colour from Elizabeth Oliver • A set of Maltese tile design Fridge Magnets from Ella Leith • A box of 8 Hand-Made Chocolate Truffles from Moon Time Chocolates • A 280g bottle of Sea Buckthorn Pink Bath Salts from Napiers the Herbalists • A Weleda Skin Food Gift Tin, including the multi award winning Skin Food, 100% organic cotton gift flannel and instructions for a glorious facial from Ann King •A Herbs of Scotland Poster, designed and drawn by Sandra Nussbaum, from Grass Roots Remedies • A Wild Bear’s Medicine Field Pharmacy 1:1 with Catherine Conway-Payne • A Set of 6 Greetings Cards, of the pieces featured in this issue, from Marianne Hazlewood • A Trio of Mint and Rosemary Handwash, Hand Lotion and Hand Sanitiser from A.S. Apothecary

It’s the best stocking filler in town!

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iv: Nature Therapy Endings and Beginnings Nathalie Moriarty A small gust of wind moves through the stand of Beech trees and a glitter of yellow, orange and brown gently falls to the ground. Another light breeze and some sparkling leaves seem to defy gravity, moving gently upwards and into the canopy of a much larger Sycamore. As I set my foot on the autumnal carpet, the leaves crunch and I feel such joy and delight, even with the cold air snapping at my cheeks. My gaze is drawn to the leaves on the ground; I see crystals of ice formed along their veins, each leaf a differently-coloured canvas. Amongst the Beech and Sycamore leaves, I see the spiky seed capsules, and thousands of tiny helicopters. As a child Sycamore keys fascinated me. My dad, who was a tall guy, would drop them from a height and I would delight in trying to catch all the little helicopters that whirled around me. Autumn was undoubtedly my favourite season. Pushing through leaf drifts as high as my waist and hearing the thousands of soft rustles the dry leaves made against each other. When a gust of wind ripped through the forest, I could hear the crowns groaning as they bent forwards and backwards together, resisting its force and, inevitably, after the wind passed, a whole array of colours would come dancing through the sky. I would be waiting for them, trying to calculate the infinite impossibilities of where the leaves might make contact with the ground. Trying to be there first, I’d jump up and catch them before they fell; moving my body quickly and concentrating intensely. It was my favourite game of the season and an activity that would fit well into an autumnal Forest Bathing session for the more active among us. Forest Bathing is about immersing all our senses in the natural environment. It helps slow our minds and focus on the present. It also adapts well to different outdoor activities, and to different ages or abilities. The key to the activity is that it should enable you to notice details in the natural environment around you. You should be surrounded by trees, although it is not entirely necessary that these trees are in a forest. Studies on tree phytoncides have shown that those which have

the greatest effect on our immune system are released by coniferous trees, particularly during warm summer days. Whilst this immune response to phytoncides may be much reduced on cold days, there are still benefits in paying attention to the patterns in nature, and to slowing down for meditative activities. Taylor (2016) has shown that viewing the fractal patterns in nature can reduce our stress levels by up to 60%. Furthermore, practising mindfulness in forest environments can improve our levels of calm and help us cope with symptoms of stress and anxiety (Li, 2018). Pondering my own moments of calm and inner stillness in nature, as well as the turning of the seasonal wheel, I recall my family’s ritual visit to the cemetery on the 1st November. It was a very large, forested cemetery in Germany. It’s a family tradition that allows me to reflect on the circle of life as it turns and, in a strange way, this reflection on the past can bring me peace. In honour of this family tradition, and to satisfy my never-ending urge to explore, I set off on my bicycle in search of inspiration. I found possibly one of the most peaceful and wooded cemeteries I have seen since my Glasgow lockdown explorations began. This is an old cemetery, left for so long that the trees have asserted their place among the tombstones, and it is hard to see who was there first. Trees can not only utterly transform a place, but also bestow a very special feeling that some may describe as magic. You feel that you are not alone, surrounded by these giant, sentient beings whose language you will never understand. And then there is something else— the wind as it gently moves through the branches, the dappled sunlight as it filters through the trees. It’s hard to name, or know what it is, but the feeling is overwhelming and powerful. Maybe it is something more, or maybe this is just the feeling of being fully absorbed in nature. If you have not yet had the time to experience it, then a bright sunny winter’s day is a brilliant time of year to do so. The feeling is, of course, heightened when you settle down in a cemetery, surrounded by old trees and old souls.

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iv: Nature Therapy

Dr Qing Li, the founder of Forest Bathing, calls this feeling our sixth sense— our ability to connect and commune with nature. While slowly wandering around this cemetery I felt utterly absorbed in its atmosphere, slowing down to observe which plants grew where. Was there any foraging to be had? It was the very last week of September, and the Brambles (Rubus fruticosus) grew over the tombstones. Here and there, bright orange Fox-and-Cubs (Pilosella aurantiaca) poked up from the old graves, and the low dappled sunshine made it feel very serene. It was the perfect place to sit, close my eyes, and focus on my senses. I tried some circular breathing techniques to help me to come into the space. Focussing on your breath, you count as you breathe in and out, trying to make the count for breathing out longer than the count for breathing in. Once my breathing had calmed my body, I was able to stop thinking about my breath, and focus on my senses: how the breeze felt as it passed over my skin; the sounds it made in the trees; the birdsong; the feeling of sunlight on my skin. If I felt my mind drifting, I would just switch to another sense. You can incorporate some grounding techniques into this as well— focussing on how you are meeting the ground, or reaching out to touch it with your hands. Imagine yourself anchoring into the ground, like the trees around you, with imaginary roots. To come out of the grounding, remember to retract your roots, and take within you the energy of the earth and trees.

References Li, Qing, 2018. Into the Forest – How Trees Can Help You Find Health and Happiness. Penguin: UK. Taylor, R. (2016). ‘Fractals in Psychology and Art’, Research Group Blog, University of Oregon. Available at https://blogs.uoregon.edu/richardtaylor/2016/ 02/03/human-physiological-responses-tofractals-in-nature-and-art/ Images: Nathalie Moriarty

As I reflect on the end of that strange summer of 2020, and the darkening of the coming season, I remind myself of my childhood love for this crisp time of year. I am grateful that 2020 has allowed me to slow down and spend time reflecting in nature. In the coming darkness, it will be more important than ever to soak up daylight when it’s there, and I hope that everyone will have some time to engage with their own traditions and to connect with the souls of the past, in one way or another.

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Your Attention, Please… Nathalie Moriarty We often forget that we are a part of Nature, Nature is not something separate from of us. So, when we say we have lost our connection to nature, We have lost our connection to ourselves. Andy Goldsworthy, in The Art of Forest Bathing, 2020. Forest Bathing, or Shinrin-Yoku, is a mindful nature-connection practice, developed in Japan in the 1980s. It can be described as an immersive forest walk for relaxation, in which all senses are used to take in the forest environment. My own interest in Forest Bathing has gained momentum over the past few years, particularly through Branching Out— Scottish Forestry’s 12-week nature-on-prescription programme for people with moderate to severe and enduring mental health conditions. My involvement has particularly focussed on Glasgow’s refugee and asylum-seeking community, amongst whom debilitating PTSD, anxiety, and depression are the most common diagnoses. Although there is ample data out there, telling us that nature is good for people who struggle with their mental health, there is no better way to understand this than to see it in practice. I’ve seen many examples of people turning their lives around as a direct result of being supported by our programme. People often returned to their next session with more enthusiasm and a more positive outlook. They report being able to sleep better, feeling less anxious, losing weight, becoming fitter, and making friends. New friendships are often described as new family, particularly by those who have lost family members or had to leave family behind when fleeing violence in conflict zones. Two of the underlying theories that can explain why the natural environment is so beneficial in restoring stressed human systems are Attention Restoration Theory, and fractals in nature. Attention Restoration Theory, developed by Kaplan and Kaplan (1989), posits that directed (focused) attention can only be sustained for a limited time, after which attention fatigue sets in. The theory describes how this attention fatigue can be overcome through the

restorative effect of the natural environment. This involves a four-step cognitive process. The first of these— similar to the practice of mindfulness —is to clear the head, letting thoughts pass through without paying attention to them. The second stage is mental fatigue recovery. The third is engaging in low level stimulation activity, and the final stage is reflection. Attention Restoration Theory states that these processes can be carried out in natural environments, which allow the participant:  To be away from their usual thoughts and processes, by being physically present in another location.  To experience soft fascination; that is to pay attention to something without effort, something that can consume and fascinate— such as a beautiful landscape. Or, alternatively, to experience a low-level stimulating activity that allows reflection and introspection— like walking.  To feel comfortable and safe in the environment. The space should be relatively familiar, holding no unexpected features that might confuse or make one feel out of place.  To experience a sense of enjoyment at being in such a place. Intrinsic personal preference should determine the choice of location as, just like engaging in a familiar activity, this increases the sense of enjoyment. (Kaplan and Kaplan 1989; Ackerman 2018).

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iv: Nature Therapy

Fractals, first described in 1975, by the mathematician Benoit Mandelbrot, go some way to explaining why a natural setting is more relaxing than an urban environment. The mathematical law of fractals demonstrates that nature is, in fact, composed of repeating patterns. These fractal patterns are seen in leaf veins, the ordering of size in the branches of trees, the shapes of ferns, or the swirls of pinecones. The key to a fractal is that the same pattern is repeated throughout the scale of the object, right down to the molecular level. Fractals are very rarely found in man-made environments, which are dominated by angular straight lines, although they have been applied to computer design where, for instance, mountain chains can be ‘built’ using a repeat of the same triangle at different scale. It is known that we use tracking eye movements and short fixation periods as our eyes trace across a scene. Studies carried out comparing natural scenes with high fractal density, and urban scenes with low fractal density, reveal far fewer fixation periods when viewing natural scenes (Hagerhall, Purcell & Taylor, 2004; Marek, Petružálek & Šefara, 2019). Fewer periods of fixation indicate less effort in the processing of visual information. As a consequence of this reduced effort, our brains are more able to relax. The hypothesis is that we evolved viewing fractal patterns in natural settings, and our current lack of exposure contributes to an imbalance in our cognitive processing (Williams, 2017).

As I continue my training as a Forest Therapy Guide, I look forward to learning more and to sharing insights from this exciting and emerging field. References and useful resources: Ackerman, C. E. (2018) ‘What is Kaplan’s Attention Restoration Theory?’, online at https://positivepsychology.com/attentionrestoration-theory. Accessed 07.02.20 Forest Therapy Institute (2020) The Art of Forest Bathing: A Handbook for the Forest Bathing Guide. The Forest Therapy Institute: 6th Edition Hagerhall, C.M.; Taylor, R. & Purcell, T. (2004) ‘Fractal Dimension of Landscape Silhouette Outlines as a Predictor of Landscape Preference’, in Journal of Environmental Psychology, 24:247-255 Kaplan, R. & Kaplan, S. (1989) The Experience of Nature: A Psychological Perspective. Cambridge University Press, New York Marek, F.; Petružálek, J. & Šefara, D. (2019) ‘Eye movements in viewing urban images and natural images in diverse vegetation periods’, in Urban Forestry & Urban Greening, 46: 126477 Williams, F. (2017) The Nature Fix. Norton & Company, New York For more information on Forest Bathing in Europe: www.europeanforesttherapyinstitute.com Images: Nathalie Moriarty

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iv: Anthroposophical Views

Lessness Dora Wagner In anthroposophical medicine, Bladderwrack is not the plant of choice to cure diseases of the thyroid gland. Rather, Colchicum autumnale (the Autumn Crocus, or Autumn Saffron) is used. To understand why, we have to explore the anthroposophical concept of the Threefold Human Being— a concept which reflects how the whole individual is animated, not just the nerves and the senses. Three different levels of organisation are distinguished in the human body:  The Nerve-Sense-System— comprising the brain, the nervous system, the skin and all sensory organs —is mainly centred in the head, but permeates the entire body, including peripheral and autonomic nerves. Here, life expresses itself through densification, differentiation and individualisation, releasing the life forces that form the basis of consciousness; thinking, feeling and willpower. The soul is seen as having a physical foundation in the processes of nerves, in rhythmic activities, and in metabolism. To some extent, then, soul is seen as separate from the external environment surrounding the body.  By contrast, the Metabolic-Limb-System engages with the outside world, both in its nutritional and activity functions. Here, the world is absorbed, internalised, and metabolised. The organs of this system are actively involved in the transformation, transportation and excretion of substance; in cell division, growth, regeneration, and the capacity to create new life. Perception is of little importance here; life expresses itself in a general, undifferentiated way. Substances are dissolved and dynamized, muscular metabolic activities create the strength to move limbs.  The principle of polarity in the anthroposophical image of the human being leads to a concept of the middle— the Rhythmic-System —which synthesizes and transforms the opposing poles of the Nerve-Sense-System and the MetabolicLimb-System. By connecting one pole to the other, the Rhythmic-System effects a

well-ordered, higher unity. In healthy people, the ratio between respiratory rate and heart rate reaches a value of about 1:4, especially during the sleeping hours. Impulses for renewal, healing and integration emanate from this mediating centre. These rhythmic processes form the physical basis of the emotional quality of feeling, which always alternates between two opposing polarities; joy and sorrow, love and hate. Anthroposophical medicine sees a basic correlation between the Threefold Human Being and the Threefold Plant. This also corresponds to an important basic concept of the late medieval alchemy of Paracelsus— the Tria Principia of Sal/Mercury/Sulfur. In this way, relationships between humans and plants dictate the therapeutic use of flowers, leaves or roots. For example, decoctions of roots are used to support diseases of the head and nerve-sense organisation; infusions and preparations made from leaves are used for disorders of rhythmic functions (especially of the heart and lungs); remedies made from fruits and flowers are recommended for metabolic and digestive disorders. The same principles apply to the selection of medical herbs; if a plant shows any kind of deviation, distortion or abnormality, if the tripartite structure of roots, flowers and fruits, leaves and shoots is unusual, this can suggest an area of application— and the possible curative effects, too. According to both anthroposophical and homeopathic medicine, the essential idea of a plant is also passed on, not just in its substance, but by an appropriate method of preparation. So, I’m contemplating Colchicum autumnale, trying to figure out why this plant is used for thyroid diseases and how the tripartite system can help me determine its healing properties. When summer has passed and autumn begins, when days become shorter, when the air is noticeably cooler and we have a certain melancholy mood, we might discover pale

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iv: Anthroposophical Views

purple flowers, without any leaf, on sunny grassland near the woods. These flowers cannot be heralds of spring. At a time when most plants have long finished flowering, when leaves wilt, fruits ripen and seeds fall to the ground, that is when the Autumn Crocus begins to bloom. In my language, the plant is called Herbstzeitlose— literally translated, Autumn-Timelessness. But the Autumn Crocus is special in other ways, too. The flowering parts of Colchicum autumnale go deep into the ground. What looks like the stem is also part of the flower; first white, then pale lilac-pink in the upper part, when exposed to the sun. So, what we regard as the flower is only a small part of the total bloom. Its mechanisms only become visible to us when the plant is dug up. Its base is more than 15cm below ground, so the flower can reach a total length of up to 40cm. Thus, Colchicum autumnale possesses the longest flower of our native flora, composed of six petals that merge at the base to form a long tube, extending to the bulb. The ovary develops at the bottom of this long flower-tube. The plant's seeds, therefore, lie deep in the earth. The plant fertilises in deep winter, underground; its seeds maturing in about nine months. In spring, when other plants become green and begin flowering, three or four broad, lanceolate, parallel-veined, deep green, shiny leaves— up to 40cm long —sprout, together with an initially green fruit capsule, from the daughter bulb. At this stage the plant can be mistaken for a Tulip (T. spp) with a flower bud, or the leaves can be taken for Wild Garlic (Allium ursinum). It reaches maturity in early summer. In autumn, its pollen is spread by animals— mainly by butterflies — and it migrates away

from light and warmth, slowly down into the cold, dark, damp soil. The whole plant contains the highly toxic colchicine, so picking flowers can be fatal for children. And adults picking Wild Garlic run the risk of harvesting this poisonous doppelgänger. Eating one leaf causes stomach-ache, nausea, diarrhoea and vomiting. Ten leaves are definitely lethal. If your foraged Wild Garlic tastes strangely bitter, and about an hour after eating there is a burning and scratching sensation in your mouth and throat, you should immediately seek medical help. The only way to distinguish between the two plants is an odour test. It is enough to rub a piece of leaf between your fingers and smell it. If the typical Garlic scent develops, you are safe— the Autumn Crocus does not have this aroma. In my encounters with Colchicum autumnale, I have often wondered how that motif of timelessness is revealed in the essence of the plant. It’s apparent in its remove from the course of the year. Its poisonous effect shows the same impact on a smaller scale: colchicine freezes cells in their life cycle. In countering the spatial and temporal order, the plant evokes a polar nature: a tender creature with great vitality; a huge, delicate blossom and a deadly poison. The strange habits of Colchicum make it an interesting medicinal plant. From an anthroposophical perspective, you’ll recall, the flower and fruit of a plant are assigned to human metabolism; the stem relates to human respiration; and the roots relate to the nervous system. But what to make of the Autumn Crocus, with petals that reach down underground? Furthermore, the bulb of

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iv: Anthroposophical Views Colchicum is not a root, but an underground stem organ whose skins are metamorphosed leaves. So, in the tripartite anthroposophical system, the tuber corresponds to the transitional region between the nervoussensory and respiratory systems— that is, the neck and the thyroid gland. Colchicum autumnale was administered as early as 1920 by Rudolf Steiner and Ita Wegmann to stimulate autoregulation of the thyroid gland: We have discovered that Colchicum autumnale exerts a strong stimulus on the astral organisation of the human organism, namely on the parts corresponding to the neck and headorganisation (Steiner & Wegman, 2014). Colchicum is still used today, among other applications, for latent thyroid dysfunction, or that manifest with goiter and, as a potentised remedy only available in our pharmacies, to regulate a disturbed thyroid function. Since the Medicinal Herb Garden of the Anthroposophical Community Hospital in Herdecke is open to the public, we cannot grow the very poisonous Colchicum autumnale. In its stead, we have planted 2750 botanical Crocuses (C. spp.) and Wild Tulips (Tulipa spp.) and also sowed Primroses (Primula vulgaris), so that our insects will find food in the cold of February. References Translated from the original German: “Wir haben gefunden, dass Colchicum autumnale einen starken Reiz auf den Astralleib ausübt und zwar auf denjenigen Teil, welcher der Hals und Kopforganisation entspricht.“, in: Steiner, R. & Wegman, I. (2014) ‘Grundlegendes für eine Erweiterung der Heilkunst nach geisteswissenschaftlichen Erkenntnissen‘, 8. Auflage, Dornach. Images: Dora Wagner

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iv: Flower Remedies

Tired All the Time? Anne Dalziel Sound familiar? You are not alone. Many people say they feel tired every day— and with all that is currently happening in the world, it’s not surprising. This feeling may have become more prevalent in 2020, but it certainly has been common for a very long time. When folks say they’re tired, what do they mean exactly? Strange question, perhaps, but as a Bach Flower Registered Practitioner it is what I try to find out. Dr Edward Bach, after whom Bach Flower Remedies are named, wrote: Treat the person, not the disease: the cause, not the effect. So, whilst each person may feel at low ebb, the cause may differ from one individual to the next— and so each case requires a different flower essence. Some reasons for tiredness are pretty obvious, such as the parents up all night with their new baby, trying to adjust to the change and lack of sleep. A viral illness can result in overwhelming fatigue, which can last for an extended period of time and be quite debilitating. Indeed, a lot of people may be experiencing this right now, with the emergence of Long Covid. These are examples of actual, physical tiredness— but underlying fears and uncertainties can add to the overall depletion of energy. Struggling to adapt to a new way of life after a baby’s arrival; being overwhelmed when you’re normally able to cope; your slumber impacted by fears that something may happen to the baby whilst it sleeps; anxiety that something is wrong with the baby, and so on. Sometimes we're just too tense, or too worried, to sleep. There are many recent studies showing how poor sleep quality can impact our overall health.

Bach knew this, and so recommended meditation, fresh air and good sleep. He was a physician, bacteriologist, pathologist and homeopath. He was convinced that emotions are the key to health and well-being. Through his medical practice, he saw that fear of disease was as destructive as disease itself— and he believed that addressing this fear could help the patient to improve. He loved nature, and in 1928 he began to research the healing properties of flowers. He created a system of thirty-eight flower remedies, extracted from wild flowering plants and trees. Each remedy is aimed at a particular state of mind, or personality type. Bach Flower Remedies aim to restore balance, helping us rediscover the positive side of ourselves, and lead emotionally healthy lives. As Bach wrote: flood the personality with the virtues of the flowers.... and ... when the soul and personality are in harmony, all is joy and peace, happiness and health. Although Bach developed his system of 38 simple and gentle flower remedies almost 90 years ago, it is still quite relevant in 2020. Our circumstances may be different, but our emotions remain the same. So, what thoughts and emotions are at the root of tiredness? In my practice, I may have suggested Olive (Olea europea) to those new parents struggling with the 3am feeds and the nappy changing. This particular Bach Flower Remedy helps when our efforts have left us exhausted. Elm (Ulmus procera) helps when our responsibilities overwhelm us. Red Chestnut (Aesculus x carnea) can calm needless anxiety about the welfare of a loved one and, finally, Walnut (Juglans regia) helps to protect against change and outside influences. Coincidentally, Olive may also help with exhaustion left after an illness; Walnut if the person had been fit and healthy before, and is now finding it difficult to accept that even everyday tasks are a struggle. Crab Apple (Malus pumila), known as the cleansing remedy, may be needed to counter feelings of contamination associated with viral illness.

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Having chosen the remedies to match the feelings, I would then put two drops of each in a 30ml bottle, and top it up with mineral water. The client would be instructed to take four drops, four times a day, usually for three weeks. The remedy can be added to an ordinary bottle of mineral water, as perhaps a more convenient way of self-administering. There are many more flower remedies that can be selected for ‘tired all of the time’. Hornbeam (Carpinus betulus) for the person who is tired before they start, or who has a tendency to procrastinate at the very thought of clearing out that kitchen cupboard. Alternatively, the person who is so enthusiastic about their work they cannot switch off, and often cannot fall asleep, might require Vervain (Verbena officinalis). Oak (Quercus robur) might be given to those who keep going, even when their body is telling them to stop. Being afraid can be very tiring too, so many of the remedies for fear might also be chosen for tiredness. It’s always a question of finding out which remedy, or mix of remedies, is appropriate for that person at that moment. Once it is found, the effect can be profound.

blossomwithbach@yahoo.com IG: @bachflowertraining

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Marianne Hazlewood The Artist in Her Garden

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v: The Messy Medic

The Butterfly that Lives in Your Throat Khadija Meghrawi A butterfly lives in your throat. It signals the speed at which you live, the speed you consume, the speed you burn. The thyroid gland is an organ responsible for releasing hormones to regulate your basic metabolic rate. That is, the amount of energy over a period of time that you must use to keep yourself alive. Slowing or accelerating several factors— such as the speed you at which you use the oxygen you inhale, or the nutrients you absorb —can influence your overall metabolic rate, and these are all controlled by the thyroid. The gland is made up of a left-hand lobe and a right-hand lobe connected by an isthmus, which is also a word used in geography to represent a narrow strip of land connecting two larger landmasses. Many textbooks characterize the thyroid as having a butterflylike appearance, though others believe it most resembles a shield. Armour. Sometimes it can be all too tempting to pit your body against the world. The lobes of your thyroid are wrapped around the rings of your windpipe, hugging your breaths in and out. Nearby are also your recurrent laryngeal nerves, responsible for helping to produce your voice. These are crucial to note during thyroid surgery, when one cut a few millimetres out could paralyse your vocal cords, leaving you impossibly hoarse, or worse, completely silent. T3 and T4 are the active thyroid hormones, the messengers of the thyroid’s demands. They act in tissues directly by targeting their nuclear receptors to initiate the processes in cells responsible for generating energy. The body, ever meticulous, makes sure the messengers

do not run forever, and deactivates them in the liver and kidney. The thyroid controls how quickly these processes happen by controlling how high or low the levels of T3 and T4 are, with higher levels yielding faster processes. The processes responsible for keeping you alive— the metabolic processes in your body —have complicated Latin names, strange as it is that we still describe our body in a language it no longer speaks. ‘Genesis’ means generation, so we have gluconeogenesis, the generation of new glucose sugars; lipogenesis, the generation of fat; and thermogenesis, the generation of heat. ‘Lysis’ means to loosen, release, so we have glycogenolysis— the release of glycogen from your stores to be converted into glucose. ‘Synthesis’ means building, so we have protein synthesis— the building of protein into your muscles. The thyroid itself is also controlled by the brain— from an area called the hypothalamus —in a process of negative feedback. It is a system that is attentive to your body’s needs, intuitive; when cells feel they are burning too much for the energy they are getting, they immediately signal back that they have had enough. The hypothalamus then decreases the instructions it normally sends via various channels to the thyroid. So, when food is scarce— crops wiped out by disease in times gone by, or an all too restrictive diet in more recent ones —the thyroid lowers the T3 and T3 levels, so you burn energy more slowly. It is a Catch-22 familiar to calorie counters but, then again, dieting always

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v: The Messy Medic was a battle against nature to fit into a manmade mould. Regulations are written into the code of our bodies, but when the words are misread the rules cannot be followed to the letter. Both genetic issues and lifestyle factors can mean that the thyroid sets your metabolic rate either too high or too low. Sometimes the butterfly beats too fast, is too eager to race the body through life. This is hyperthyroidism, when the thyroid goes into overdrive, stimulating the body to carry out energy-consuming processes too quickly. The most common reason for this is Grave’s Disease; a thyroid autoimmune condition, which is a type of condition where the immune system attacks itself. In this case, immune cells begin to make those chemicals which stimulate the receptors— chemicals that should be exclusive to thyroid messengers. If you have Grave’s Disease, your eyes take on a permanent bulge, your fingers a permanent fidget, your limbs dance around in spite of themselves as if you have lightening in your nerves. More than once has a hyperthyroidism patient been mistaken for an addict without a fix— the stereotype being ever so easy to adopt, as the condition presents most often in the young. Despite its ominous name, its effects are not too ‘grave’, and it is treated and managed well in most cases. But sometimes the butterfly staggers, splutters to a standstill. Hypothyroidism is when your thyroid slows down, and so your body runs slower, not burning energy fast enough to fuel you. Everything becomes sluggish, your mind forgets, you think as if through fog. You put on weight as the energy consumed has nowhere else to go, your muscles cramp up and your mood plummets. Again, very treatable, and manageable— but there’s often a long road between years of symptoms normalised as just ‘being low’ to a diagnosis that validates them. Often that which is invisible in life, is the hardest to bear. Medicine is no exception and, as a general rule, it is the least visible wounds and illnesses that are the hardest to treat. Thyroid disease though, can be characterized by one of the most visible symptoms. A ‘goitre’ is a swelling in the throat that is far more severe in appearance than the relatively manageable condition it indicates. You’ll often find many a medical student pacing the ward, seeking out

a patient with an overwhelmingly large lump in their neck, just to match textbook to reality. The thyroid demonstrates that the pace at which your body works and spends its energy is meticulously controlled. If we push either way— too fast or too slow —the thyroid can slip out of balance with nature and we become unwell. Yet, we often force ourselves to move at a faster or slower pace than our instinct tells us is good for us. If our body is hardwired against this principle, why aren’t we?

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v: Jazz Ecology

Caffeine, consciousness and curriculum Ramsey Affifi This morning, I’m perusing articles on the origin of humanity’s favourite stimulant, sitting— obviously —with a coffee in hand. Dozens of plant species, across unrelated families, produce caffeine. This indicates it has evolved separately, many times. That seems surprising, but according to Huang et al. (2016), it really isn’t. Plants synthesize caffeine in different ways, but each start with a 100million-year lineage of enzymes conserved for crucial but unrelated biochemical purposes. Co-opting these enzymes to synthesize caffeine is, therefore, always an ongoing possibility. If all caffeine-producing species went extinct, we can imagine caffeine would likely again evolve. I find that strangely consoling, perhaps due in equal measure to my joint addictions to both caffeine and to evolution. But what makes caffeine so valuable that it has repeatedly emerged? After all, producing it, like any metabolite, has costs. What kind of selection pressures would pull its synthesis, again and again, from mere possibility into actuality? Independent evolution suggests caffeine synthesis may have different roles in different contexts. There are two favoured theories associating caffeine with a plant’s defense system. One is that caffeine’s antifeeding and pesticidal properties protect it against herbivory. The other is that the release of caffeine into the soil inhibits germination of nearby seeds, reducing competition from neighbours. From my own experience with caffeine, I know its pleasant lift can quickly go awry, so it’s no shock that it would be detrimental to other creatures. I also know the slide from elation to irritation is dose dependent. Could a small hit have positive effects for any other animals? Perhaps even for those very insects— and competing plants —it seeks to debilitate? Some ingenious experiments on bees shed light on this question. In a story all too convenient for punsters across the world, it

turns out caffeine gives bees ‘a buzz.’ Bees on caffeine become more energetic and are more likely to remember the location of caffeinated nectar in complex environments (Wright et al. 2013). This is totally remarkable. According to Evogeneao’s Tree of Life Explorer, humans and bees’ closest ancestors are simple blob-like entities that lived about 630 million years ago. Could it be that virtually all of the species between us and bees, and even that blob, can get high on this stuff? Or is the response to caffeine similar to caffeine itself— evolvable should a species be lucky enough to land in situations where its own endogenous possibility for botanical exhilaration strums into existence? As I look further, it seems a whole range of insects and molluscs fall for effects Homo sapiens know only too well: they get hyperactive on caffeine, but succumb to tremors and lose their appetite and their focus on larger doses (ex. Nathanson 1984). Mustard’s (2013) review of studies administering caffeine to insects, molluscs and mammals concluded its effect on behaviour is conserved across animal species. Meanwhile, at least one study sees this pattern repeat in another kingdom entirely. A small dose of caffeine stimulates the growth of sunflower plants, but inhibits it at larger concentrations (Kursheed et al. 2009). Indeed, cases of immunity to caffeine seem the rare consequence of deft symbiotic mergings— such as those of the Coffee Borer (Hypothenemus hampei), who conspire with gut microbes like Pseudomonas fulva (CejaNavarro et al. 2015). In this case, the bacteria consume the caffeine and allow the Coffee Borer to live its life burrowing into a bean containing, according to the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (2015), a lethal dose equivalent to 500 shots of espresso. The Coffee Borer seems to be missing out. But do these other organisms really get high? Biologist Jakob von Uexküll is well-known for launching a research programme aimed at

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v: Jazz Ecology gleaning insights into other species’ lived experiences (ex. Uexküll 2010). According to him, by carefully observing an organism’s behaviour, we can see what ‘shows up’ in its environment as relevant, and what is ignored, and use these to make inferences into how the world appears to that being. His intention was to create a science interrogating the subjective experience of the biotic world. He was well aware humans would never really know what it is like to be a bee. After all, we cannot really know what it is like even to be our own spouse or child. But we can get ever closer, especially if we try. For example, many people are familiar with studies revealing that bees see a different spectrum of light, and hence floral patterns invisible to our eyes. This is an example of an insight falling within an Uexküllian focus. Does caffeine tell us anything about the lived experience of other creatures? As far as I know, Uexküll never asked this question. Some would deny it, arguing that because another species gets hyperactive and jittery when on caffeine does not indicate they consciously experience it. It merely shows that caffeine produces stereotypical physiological reactions. If a conscious organism ingests caffeine, then it obviously would experience those physiological reactions. However, the majority of the biotic world is not conscious. The reactions just happen with their consequent ecological effects. Such a perspective forms the basis of a dominant assumption in biology research and infuses biology education, too: if a biological system can be understood mechanistically, there is no need to appeal to consciousness. It is at best pointless; at worst, it is dangerous and anthropomorphic. But, of course, those very same chemical changes occur in human physiology too, and the behaviour of a human on caffeine can also be understood mechanistically without appealing to human consciousness. And yet, human consciousness clearly exists. A double standard seems baked into biology. I am keen to find a way out of this. Perhaps if we figure out what role consciousness plays for humans, we can infer whether it is also active in other species. This turns out to be a difficult job, and

one I am hoping another cup from my French press will help facilitate. I’ll continue on my loosely Uexküllian trajectory. As humans go about their lives, they are generally trying to do things. To accomplish those things, some things matter and others do not. Our bodies filter out what does not likely matter, presenting only what is deemed relevant. These relevant features can then be seen in relation to one another. For instance, I am aware of a small subset of things right now: that the coffee is starting to scatter my focus, and that this conflicts with my writing deadline. Because I am conscious of these two things, I am able to realize that I should slow down my drinking. Consciousness is like a map of important features in ongoing play, a global representation of relevant internal states vis a vis relevant external features. Given the complexity and contingency of dynamic environments, it is likely all organisms would be faced with a similar situation: a lot more things are going on than a creature can attend to, and there is a need to respond only to what is relevant, instead of getting buried in details. Consciousness is that porous map. I do not see other species waffling about, as we might expect if a global map did not exist to simplify the relationship between the organism and its world. Instead, I see other species’ focus directed by what is relevant to them. If caffeine interrupts or enhances that focus, it makes sense that this would show up too, as it would be relevant for the creature that its capacities had changed. Different decisions might be needed. The consciousness of other animals is increasingly acknowledged by scientists (see for example the Cambridge Declaration on Consciousness [Low et al. 2012]), and is even posited by plant scientists (ex. Trewavas 2015), but Uexküll’s vision remains totally eclipsed in biology education. The assumption that life is nothing but mechanism pervades even apparently ‘progressive’ school provision, such as Scotland’s Curriculum for Excellence’s steadfastly mechanistic biology learning outcomes. What is the reason for this, and what effect does it have on the way children see the

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v: Jazz Ecology world? Who benefits and who loses when education is the buzzkill at the party? Some historians claim caffeine accelerated the Enlightenment (Pollan 2020). Could investigating its role in the biosphere enlighten schools too?

References Ceja-Navarro, J.; Vega, F.; Karaoz, U. et al. (2015) ‘Gut microbiota mediate caffeine detoxification in the primary insect pest of coffee,’ in Nature Communications 6, 7618 Evogeneao https://www.evogeneao.com/en/explore/treeof-life-explorer#bees-and-humans Huang, R. ; O’Donnell, A. ; Barboline, J. & Barkman, T. (2016) ‘Convergent evolution of caffeine in plants by co-option of exapted ancestral enzymes,’ in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 113(38), pp. 10613-10618 Khursheed, T.; Ansari,M. & Shahab, D. (2009) ‘Studies on the effect of caffeine on growth and yield parameters in Helianthus annuus L. variety Modern T,’ in Biology and Medicine 1 (2), pp. 56-60 Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (2015) ‘Gut microbes enable coffee pest to withstand extremely toxic concentrations of caffeine,’ July 14, 2015. Retrieved on November 21, 2020 from https://phys.org/news/2015-07-gutmicrobes-enable-coffee-pest.html Low, P. et al. (2012) ‘The Cambridge Declaration on Consciousness’. Publicly proclaimed in Cambridge, UK, on July 7, 2012, at the Francis Crick Memorial Conference on Consciousness in Human and non-Human Animals. Mustard, J. (2014) ‘The buzz on caffeine in invertebrates: effects on behavior and molecular mechanisms,’ in Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences 71(8), pp. 1375-82. Nathanson, J. A. (1984) ‘Caffeine and related methylxanthines: possible naturally occurring pesticides’, in Science. 226(4671), 184–7 Pollan, M. (2020) Caffeine: How coffee and tea created the modern world. Audible Original. Trewavas, A. (2015) Plant behaviour and intelligence. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.

von Uexküll, J. (2010) A Foray into the Worlds of Animals and Humans: With A Theory of Meaning. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press. Wright, G.A.: Baker, D.D.; Palmer, M.J.; Stabler, D.; Mustard, J.; Power, E.; Borland, A.; Stevenson, P. (2013) ‘Caffeine in Floral Nectar Enhances a Pollinator's Memory of Reward’, in Science 339(6124), pp. 202-1204

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Marianne Hazlewood Arisaema ringens with Geometric Styling

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vi: Garden Gems

No Rest for the Joyful Ruth Crighton-Ward There is a popular misconception that gardeners cannot work over the winter. Actually, there are many jobs which can be done in the latter part of the year. Winter is a good time to start preparing vegetable and flower beds for planting in the spring. There is more than one way to dig over a bed for planting. We shall look at both ‘single digging’ and the ‘no dig’ system. Some gardeners favour one over the other, although both are equally effective. For the single dig system, dig a trench about the depth and width of a spade blade (known as a ‘spit’). Dig the trench across the length of the planting area. Put the earth which has been dug from the bed to the side, for now. In the base of the trench, layer well-rotted organic material— such as compost or manure —a couple of inches deep. Lightly fork it over, then move backwards to the second row, and dig a new trench. Place the soil you remove from this second row into that first trench. When you get to the final trench, wheelbarrow the soil set aside from your first one and fill it with that. Do not worry if the dug area looks a bit rough and lumpy. Leave it for now. Allow the frost to break the chunks down naturally over the winter, thus improving the structure. There is no need to prepare the soil further until the following year. We’ll come back to this when the time is right.

The ‘no dig’ system is favoured by many organic gardeners. It involves covering the soil with a layer of compost, manure, or well-rotted organic matter. The idea is that the soil life will remain undisturbed, allowing the microorganisms, fungi and worms to enrich the soil naturally by incorporating the organic matter into the soil. If an area is heavily weeded, the no dig system can be useful. Use sheets of cardboard to cover the section. Then place the organic matter on top of the cardboard. This should then be left for at least six months. Over time, the cardboard will break down, along with the organic matter, and be incorporated into the soil. As the weeds have been deprived of light for the past few months, they will die off naturally and form part of the organic material. Although the no dig system sounds appealing, it does still involve a certain amount of physicality— carting the organic matter to the planting areas, and raking it over the soil and around any existing plants.

There is also a process known as ‘double digging’. This uses the same method as single digging, but the difference is that you dig out double the amount of soil. Double digging is useful if the soil is very compacted or has not previously been cultivated. As you can imagine, it is labour-intensive— but a great way to work off all the mince pies!

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iv: Garden Gems A gentler job for this time of year is the cleaning of pots and trays. This can be done as an ongoing project throughout the winter. If left unattended, containers can become good hiding places for pests— such as slugs and snails, or vine weevils. Terracotta pots can be brushed clean, whereas plastic pots and trays should be washed. It’s a good idea to reuse plastic containers from year to year, so brush off any excess dirt first, then wash them in warm soapy water. To sterilise seed trays, follow the same procedure, then soak them in a solution of equal parts white vinegar and water. The trays can then be left to air-dry. This will help prevent many diseases and give your seedlings the best start in life. When all your pots and trays have been cleaned, store them somewhere dry.

first with fresh water to remove the salt water. Some people use an artificial mulch— such as plastic sheeting —which can also provide frost protection and function as a weed suppressant. Personally, I prefer the natural methods, as organic matter provides protection and assists in keeping the weeds down— with the added benefit of enriching the soil. Plants such as Rhubarb (Rheum rhabarbarum) and Asparagus (Asparagus officinalis) especially benefit from a good mulch of compost or manure. If using manure, make sure it is well rotted first. Layer your mulch around four to six inches deep, but try not to put too deep a layer over an area where there are bulbs— the resulting plants may struggle to break through the surface, grow spindly and develop fewer flowers.

The greenhouse, if you have one, is another cleaning job for the winter. It’s important to clean both sides of the glass— inside and out. This will maximise the amount of light getting through. Propagators will also benefit from this treatment. Now is also a good time for general maintenance. Tools used for cutting— such as shears and secateurs —can be cleaned, sharpened and oiled. Cultivation tools— such as hoes and spades —can also be sharpened. For a more efficient clean, take the tools completely apart. Doing this allows you to see grime and rust which cannot normally be seen. Remove loose dirt or rust by gently applying wire wool to the areas. Blades, springs and other metal parts can be left in a solution of salt and vinegar, which will remove more stubborn rust. There are various items that can be used for sharpening your tools— such as a whetstone, diamond sharpener, or a file. To go into detail here would require a whole article, but there are many good instructional videos available online.

Next month, we’ll look at the planning required prior to planting. In the meantime, Merry Christmas to everyone. I hope you can still find peace and joy in these most uncertain times. Images: Ruth Crighton-Ward

Last month, I briefly mentioned using mulch around plants. A mulch is a protective cover, which can be spread around the base of plants to provide protection from frost, and help reduce evaporation. Many substances can be used as a mulch; compost, bark, wood chips, straw, leaf mould, and seaweed can all be effective. If using seaweed, ensure you wash it

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iv: Sovereign Seeds

We Need to Talk about Seed Sinéad Fortune The shift to the darker, colder months brings a change in energy. Thoughts and focus move inwards, as busy harvesting activities change to preserving and planning for the next year. We see the same pattern in our herbal allies, of course. In the short, intense, Scottish growing season, plants that have completed whole lifecycles over a few months— from early spring’s first, intrepid signs of life, through the almost overwhelming exuberance of harvest season, to the setting of seed and dying off — have now put their energy into the next generation. The gardeners and growers among us (who are numerous, I am sure) know all too well that when plants die down for the winter, it’s our time to retreat indoors with a nice cup of tea, to introspect and pore over seed catalogues. I’m sure I’m not alone in conjuring quite grandiose notions of what I can achieve in the next year, inspired by the beautiful photos and evocative descriptions of the seed catalogues. I usually manage a small fraction of what I set out to do. In the quiet of winter, while everything rests, it’s easy to forget just how frantic the garden will be by high summer. What I do grow is always rewarding; teaching me lessons for the next growing season, anchoring me to the natural passing of time— as opposed to that created by human logic — and, of course, connecting me to the earth where I’m based, and to the herbs I use in food and medicine. This connection is more powerful than can be expressed in a few short words; it needs to be experienced first-hand to really understand the sense of collaboration that comes from nurturing a herb so that the herb, in turn, nurtures you. We need only look to the local food movement, and the renaissance that Grow Your Own is enjoying in

the current pandemic, to know that this is a connection we are craving. Food that is grown in agroecological conditions (that is, conditions that are good for the ecosystem in which it’s situated, and the humans cultivating it); food that is ethical, fair, and nourishing; food that is regenerative as opposed to depleting; food that is local and appropriate to our climate, weather, and culture— this is what makes good food. And the same is true for the herbal medicine we grow and use. But what about the seeds? When we pore over seed catalogues, or pop down to the local garden centre to pick up a packet of seeds or some seedlings, or even when we buy readyprocessed medicinal food and herbs, we seldom consider the origin of the seeds themselves. But if we are to aim for healthy, ethical, and agroecological food and medicine, then we need to start with healthy, ethical and agroecological seed— and we have a long way to go to get there. An estimated 80% of our organic vegetable seed is imported from outside the UK. In many cases, this seed is produced in Italy, Spain, or elsewhere in the Mediterranean, where the climate and growing conditions are very different to our own. Imagine being born in the warm, sunny south of Spain only to be shipped up to west central Scotland and expected to thrive! There are a small number of fantastic seed producers and companies in the UK— notably Real Seeds in Wales, and the Seed Cooperative in England —but there are no Scottish seed companies selling Scottish-grown seed anymore. While the Seed Sovereignty Programme— an initiative run by The Gaia Foundation to build resilience, diversity, and local supply chains — is working to support and strengthen seed networks all over the UK and Ireland, there is still much work to be done.

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iv: Sovereign Seeds

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iv: Sovereign Seeds The situation for medicinal herb seed is even bleaker: As an organic grower and herbalist, running a micro-herb farm, it's important for me to be able to source new and unusual medicinal herb seeds organically, because it adds assurance about the source of the seeds and how they are produced. I do what I can to care for the plants and seeds I currently grow, but there is certainly a need for more organic medicinal herb seed guardians and producers in the UK. So says Rosy McLean, master herbalist and organic herb grower at Rosy Rose Herbalist, based in Falkland, Fife. It's hard to source anything unusual and out-of-the-basics, organically. Even finding Skullcap in the UK was challenging, despite it being native. This is a challenge faced by many medicinal herb growers, throughout the UK. The situation has been made even more difficult this year, following the decision of a popular American organic herb seed producer— Strictly Medicinal Seeds —to stop selling to the UK, because of the complications of shipping seed internationally. So where next for our medicinal herb seed? If warmer climates are unsuitable, and Brexit and other seed selling regulations make international seed sourcing a challenge, where can we source our medicinal and more unusual seeds? We need to reclaim a heritage that, only a few generations ago, was common and essential. We need to save our own seeds, to swap with other growers, herbalists, and herbologists, and to encourage existing seed producers and sellers closer to home. We need to demonstrate that there is market, and indeed great need, for these seeds.

We all have experienced the generosity of the herbs we work with. Perhaps the time has come to return that generosity by becoming guardians of our medicinal herbs, cultivating herbal seed networks and libraries, and sowing the renaissance of a resilient and diverse medicinal herbal seed culture here in the UK. Want to get involved? If you are maintaining herb seeds that you would be happy to share, would like to learn more about saving seed, or would like to support the movement in some other way, please get in touch. As you recharge your energy over the coming months, dare to dream of what we might achieve together. I challenge you. After all, every revolution starts with seed. sinead@gaianet.org www.gaiafoundation.org www.seedsovereignty.info www.organicherbtrading.com rosyherbalist.co.uk www.realseeds.co.uk seedcooperative.org.uk www.organicherbtrading.com Images: Jason Taylor

Sarah Weston, Herb Field Manager at the Organic Herb Trading Company, has always struggled to source organic herb seed closer to home, and often finds herself the only one bringing herb seed to swaps run by the South West Seed Savers. Nonetheless, she is optimistic about the future. She looks to the community of herb growers and herbal practitioners for resilience: It’s relatively easy to save your own seed, as herbs are quite generous.

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vi: The Globe Physic Garden

Notes from the Little Blue Shed Senga Bate When the earth takes an in-breath and golden autumn days slowly move toward barebranched winter, short days signal a curtailing of gardening activities. In this particular year, however, RBGE growing activities were stopped in their tracks just as the soil began to warm and a flurry of outdoor sowing and spring planting was about to start. With hopes that Covid-19 would disappear quickly and there would be a return to work in a few weeks, at first it seemed clear that enough preparation had been done on individual student plots, the stockbed, and the Globe Physic Garden to leave them ready for the new season. Then a few weeks became months and— unable even to enter RBGE —staff, volunteers and students could only peer through the railings and try to determine, from a distance, what might be growing. Eventually, a few key horticulture staff were able to return and begin a concerted drive to tidy up. Grass was cut, edges were tidied, paths were swept. Our herbs had begun to grow quietly at first. Then, with a rampant joyousness that took one’s breath away, our domesticated wild plants reverted to nature. The seed bank in each plot sprung into life and where there had been bare earth, a myriad of green shoots appeared. There followed a summer of colour and bounty that, sadly, could not be harvested.

After a prolonged absence, visiting by appointment allowed a closer look. The herbs that had been gloriously in flower were now preparing to seed. Knowing that Evening Primrose (Oenothera biennis), Nettle (Urtica dioica), Plantain (Plantago lanceolata), St John’s Wort (Hypericum perforatum), to name but a few, would send out plants far and wide if left to their own devices, the desire to whip out the secateurs and do a little tidying was rather strong! With only three horticulture staff working in the Demonstration Garden, it was obvious that they would have a great deal to do to keep the whole area in good order. Bearing in mind that our plants are other people’s weeds, it was very difficult for them to know what we would and wouldn’t want removed. But I’m happy to report that a long consultation on a recent, gloomy, Monday afternoon resulted in a grand autumn clear-up of the Globe Physic Garden and student plots. Tremendous thanks are due to Elinor, Callum and Ben for their hard work. So, with the stockbed now in hand, returning to RBGE to tend the plots will be easier and we can all only hope that this happens sooner rather than later.

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vi: The Globe Physic Garden

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vi: The Physic Garden at Holyroodhouse

New Opens at Holyroodhouse New Public Public Garden GaGarden Opens at Holyroodhouse Lucy Lucy Wood Wood

As of Friday 13 November, a new public garden has opened at the Palace of Holyroodhouse. th

The roots of the garden were planted in a plot close to the Palace in 1670 by two Scottish physicians, Sir Robert Sibbald and Sir Andrew Balfour. It was intended as a space in which Edinburgh medical students could learn about the properties of plants which could be used in medicine— or ‘physic’. In addition, the garden acted as a living store-cupboard for the pharmacists and physicians of the city. Five years after the first physic garden was created at the Palace, the plants were moved to a much bigger site at Trinity Hospital— now the location of Platform 11 at Waverley Station — and then to Leith. In 1820, the garden was established in Inverleith, where today the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh covers over 70 acres and displays more than 13,000 plant species, while continuing its world-leading plant science, horticulture and education. The new public garden takes inspiration from the original, as well as earlier gardens at the Palace. It consists of three distinct areas, each representing a phase in the Palace’s 900-year history. A flowering meadow of medicinal plants evokes the 15th-century monastic

gardens of Holyrood Abbey, once one of the grandest medieval abbeys in Scotland. The remains of the Abbey can be seen as part of a visit to the Palace. Among the meadow planting are Daisies (Bellis perennis), which were used to treat coughs and wounds; Sorrel (Rumex acetosa), once thought to cure ulcers, sores and ringworm; and Mallow (Malva sylvestris), used to treat scurvy. Nearby, flowering bulbs, including Crocuses (C. spp.), Tulips (T. spp.) and Alliums (A. spp.), have been planted in a geometric pattern to reflect the design of 17th-century gardens. A third area reimagines the physic garden established by Sibbald and Balfour 350 years ago. The new physic garden contains medicinal and culinary plants that would have grown in the 17th-century garden. These include Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare)— once used to aid eyesight, to treat the bites of mad dogs and snakes, and as an antidote to poisonous mushrooms —and Borage (Borago officinalis), which, when added to wine, was said to impart courage and treat eye problems, heart disease and jaundice. Adjacent beds contain plants, such as Lavender (L. angustifolia), Bergamot (Monarda fistulosa) and Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis), that were used for scents, dyes and insecticides.

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vi: The Physic Garden at Holyroodhouse

James Sutherland— the young, self-taught gardener who oversaw the move of the physic garden from the Palace to the Trinity Hospital site —recorded the plants in Scotland's first botanical publication, Hortus Medicus Edinburgensis. Sutherland became the first Regius Keeper, a title now given to the head of the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, and in 1699 was made the first King’s Botanist in Scotland. A copy of Hortus Medicus Edinburgensis presented to The Queen in 1964 by the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh is displayed at the Palace of Holyroodhouse, to mark 350 years since the physic garden was first established at the Palace.

The garden has been created as part of Future Programme, a major programme of investment at the Palace of Holyroodhouse by The Royal Collection Trust. The Trust’s Chairman, His Royal Highness The Prince Charles, Duke of Rothesay, has recorded a message to mark the opening of the garden, which you can listen to by clicking here. We are delighted that this garden is now open to the public— to be enjoyed, by all who visit — as a place for learning, and a space to enhance health and wellbeing throughout the seasons. www.rct.uk/holyroodhouse Images: Royal Collection Trust © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2020. Photographer: David Cheskin

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Marianne Hazlewood Arisaema griffithii tuber with Digital Geometric Styling

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vii: Notes from the Brew Room

Fire Cider Packs a Herbal Punch Ann King As the nights are getting longer, we are encouraged to slow down and stoke up both the home and the internal fires. If, like me, you crave stodgy comfort food and sweet things at this time of year, the winter months can prove difficult for the digestive system. As we all know, if the gut is not happy, our general wellbeing may suffer. So, the following recipe focuses on herbs that are warming and beneficial digestives, with some antimicrobial action to address any pathogens that may be lurking. This is a personal favourite, based on the many traditional folk remedies, which all aim to ward off colds and flu and generate heat. It features Ginger, Turmeric and Horseradish roots, Black Pepper, Onion, Garlic, Cayenne Pepper, Thyme, Lemon, Apple Cider Vinegar and local Honey. The following fills a one litre jar. Ingredients Ginger (Zingiber officinale) 5cm, finely chopped —a powerful herb, useful for times of nausea or stagnant digestion. Black Pepper (Piper nigrum) 10 peppercorns —another warming herb, which acts by stimulating stagnant circulation and digestion. Furthermore, it increases the bioavailability of partner herbs in a formula, encouraging the uptake of nutrients. It isn’t just a seasoning, after all. Turmeric (Curcuma longa) 3cm, freshly grated — helps decrease inflammation and improve poor digestion. Horseradish (Armoracia rusticana) 3cm, freshly grated —to improve upper respiratory tract health. Cayenne Pepper (Capsicum annuum) 1, finely chopped —for fever, circulation and headaches.

Onion (Allium cepa) 1, finely chopped —to stimulate the appetite and ease congestion. Garlic (Allium sativum) 1 bulb, minced —a strong antimicrobial and immune system ally. Thyme (Thymus vulgaris) 2tbsp, dried —to soothe coughs, congestion and infection. Lemon (Citrus limon) ½, chopped —a powerful source of vitamin C, and for natural flavouring Honey. Enough to cover the herbs —a medicine chest on its own, it will add depth and sweetness to counterbalance the pungency and potency of the other flavours. Apple Cider Vinegar. Enough to top up the jar Method Simply add all the herbs to the jar, pour Honey to cover and top up with the Apple Cider Vinegar. The mix should be shaken daily for a month, then strained and poured into a sterilized bottle. Consume either neat off the spoon, or mixed with warm water as a longer drink.

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vii: Plantstuffs

To Dye For… Elizabeth Oliver The garden is changing gear for winter, literally slowing down— and changing colour. Last night, we had the first ground frost, and today the soft leaves of many plants are drooping and looking rather sad. This cold snap, whilst entirely expected in November, has successfully stopped my last autumn job— making contact prints on fabric. I’m not talking about dyeing a piece of cloth in a dye bath made of leaves or bark or berries, I’m talking about extracting colour from plant matter to make marks on fabric. The leafshaped marks are permanent memories, using enzymes and pigments inside the plants themselves. Collecting plantstuff and laying it out on pre-mordanted fabric, then wrapping the bundles around a stick and securing with ‘tee-shirt string’ is a great pastime. There are some general principles concerning the type of fabric and how it is to be prepared but, essentially, contact printing or ‘bundling’ is the closest thing to magic in a garden!

me to hang on to my summer garden. So, having made your bundle of cloth wrapped round a stick and tightly bound with string— the last bit is important, because the process relies on the plant matter being in close contact with the fabric —now you are ready to steam or cook the bundle. It might take 30-90 minutes for the marks to transfer onto the cloth, but once made, they will not wash out. Carefully remove your bundles from the cooking pot and, once cool, unwrap them to remove the spent leaves, and see your lovely patterns. I then wash the cloth in soapy water and, after rinsing and drying, give it a hot iron, which seems to set or ‘finish‘ the process. Images: Elizabeth Oliver

Let’s talk about the fabric. It must be a natural fibre— either from plants (linen or cotton), or animals (so called ‘protein’ fibres like wool, silk or alpaca). We mordant the cloth to stop the plant colour from washing out, and to make it light fast (i.e. to prevent it fading unduly). Over the years I have tried many mordant recipes, including soaking in soya milk, alum with cream of tartar, alum with iron, and alum with soda ash. The internet is full of different methods, and none of them are ‘the best’. Just remember that, for generations, people have been successfully putting colour onto cloth they have woven. Once fabric or yarn has been properly scoured (cleaned) and mordanted, the chemical makeup is changed and fibres become receptive to dye. That ‘greedy’ quality sticks, so that— even after washing —yarn and fabric will take on colour from a second, or even third dyebath. But this piece is not about dyeing in a dye bath, it’s a celebration of the lovely marks that miraculously appear on bundled cloth, helping

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vii: Chocolatime

Circles and Swirls Milly Watson Brown I love journeying with the seasons, and autumn is definitely my favourite. The colours are such a feast for the eyes. I’ve been working with the inner and outer seasons for many years now. My passion for food, which has been a large part of my life and work, and my love for foraging and herbal alchemy, alongside menstrual cycle awareness and womb health, brought me to create Moon Time Chocolates— chocolates infused with herbs to support the menstrual cycle. The journey has opened me to the subtleties within us, and that which is expected of us in the world. Energy seems to be a hot topic in modern society. We are expected to have the energy to be constantly and consistently productive, alert and giving, and if we don’t have that energy, we’re encouraged to fake it with stimulants such as coffee, tea, energy drinks, sugar— giving ourselves, and others, the impression that we are ready for anything, anytime! This, to me, is a very masculine-yang-linear approach. What would happen if we listened deeper; listened to the more feminine-yincircular qualities within us? Every gender exhibits masculine and feminine qualities, so it’s not about gender-specific tasks, it’s about listening. Our society doesn’t give much space, or permission, to listen to our own needs. Just imagine what would happen if we did. What if, say, people who menstruate were able to have one day off every month with their period? A day to dream, nurture and rest. I haven’t met many who wouldn’t appreciate and benefit from this. It would allow us the space to connect to our deeper intuition and, from my experience, would give us more vital energy for the following month. One day of rest then, as the rise in energy of ovulation comes, productivity increases without force or stimulants, easily making up for that day. As it

stands, ovulation-level productivity is what society is asking of us all the time. For those who don’t have monthly cycles, or who wish to understand these patterns more, simply contemplate the four seasons of the year, or connecting with the moon’s phases:  Winter. Dark moon. Days are shorter. You want to rest more under the duvet, slow down, eat warming foods, stay in, have early nights. This is similar to the energy of menstruation.  Spring. Waxing moon. Days are lengthening, energy is rising. You feel inspired and energised, busy, adventurous, and playful. This is similar to pre-ovulation in the menstrual cycle.  Summer. Full moon. Days are long, nights are short. You are utilising the daylight and getting lots done, socialising and being productive and creative. This is similar to ovulation in the menstrual cycle.  Autumn. Waning moon. Days are shortening, it’s harvest time. Gathering fruits of the year, winding down, getting supplies in ready for winter and the beginning of hibernation. This is similar to the premenstrual phase. I know that many people struggle to adjust to the inner and outer seasons, and this is why it’s important to take the time to listen to your changing needs. How about allowing yourself to take that deep breath, to pause before saying ‘yes’ to everything? Try saying ‘I’ll let

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vii: Chocolatime

you know later’, and give yourself time to check in with what you really need. We’re all familiar with our people-pleasing socialization, but why not risk letting someone down? You might even inspire them! Working with the inner and outer seasons has taught me to love listening for what needs to be nurtured within me. As Autumn draws to its depths, and winter taps on the door, it’s time to cosy up with a mug of cocoa. This rich, velvety, dark drink— in my humble opinion —settles all sorts of ails. The gorgeous Cacao (Theobroma cacao), available in raw or roasted form, offers subtly different qualities to our energy. Raw, unroasted Cacao is high in antioxidants, and minerals such as magnesium, iron and zinc. The simple joy of consuming it gives you that feel-good experience, by increasing serotonin— helping lift depression, anxiety and stress. Cacao also helps reduce tiredness and fatigue. The more common roasted cocoa has similar benefits, though it seems to lose some of the antioxidant qualities to the high temperature of the roasting process. I prefer to stick to roasted cocoa if I’m having it towards the end of the day, as raw Cacao can be much more stimulating— a bit like having coffee.

You could make a hot chocolate; from cocoa powder, by grating some pure Cacao paste, or by melting your favourite chocolate bar into warm milk of your choice, whisking and sweetening to taste. Try infusing different herbs to enhance the effects of the Cacao and to balance, complement or enhance the different phases of the menstrual/moon cycle. It’s a joy to add secret ingredients to your hot chocolate. What about a warming, spiced Cacao? Simply add tiny amounts of chilli, ginger and nutmeg. If you’re drinking it in the evening, and wishing to open to the dream world, try infusing 1tsp of dried Mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris) in a mug of warm milk for 15 minutes before straining, rewarming and adding a heaped teaspoon of cocoa powder. My all-time favourite is a flask of Rose (Rosa spp.) and cocoa. The Rose enhances the heart-opening properties of the cocoa. It’s similar to make, just set 1tsp of dried Rose petals to infuse in the warming milk…I’ve also enjoyed Rose brandy tincture in my hot chocolate. It’s divine. I have tried making seaweed chocolate and wouldn't recommend it, so I can't make a link to this issue's herb, but let’s see what ally we can experiment with next month… @moontimechocolate www.moontimechocolate.co.uk Images: Milly Watson Brown

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Marianne Hazlewood Arisaema griffithii Ink Shoots series

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viii: Foraging through Folklore

Of Sorrows and Seaweed Ella Leith Girl over there, hùg ò Beside the shore, hùg ò Don’t you pity, hù ri o rò A drowning woman? hùg ò I don’t pity, I don’t pity, hùg ò Little do I care about her, hùg ò A young woman, hù ri o rò Tonight will be in her place, hùg ò A’Bhean Eudach (The Jealous Translated by Bria Mason.

Woman).

This Gaelic song, collected in 1956 from Nan MacKinnon (1903-1982) of Vatersay, is a version of the ballad known as The Cruel Sister. Other well-known versions tell the story of a jealous woman drowning her sister and the sister’s bones subsequently being made into a fiddle or harp that will only play one tune: the tune of the ballad. Conversely, A’Bhean Eudach or Thig am Bàta (The Boat Will Come) as it is also called, is the song sung by the trapped woman herself as she waits to drown. Few narrative details are contained in the song; instead, they belong to the seanchas or traditional knowledge associated with it, which the singer might share before performing. The seanchas tells of the doomed woman being lured onto tidal rocks and abandoned, whether engrossed in collecting seaweed or having fallen asleep. Sometimes it is said that her dying song is so haunting that the murderer cannot help but sing it afterwards, and so incriminates herself. Nan MacKinnon’s seanchas gives an additional evocative detail: the jealous woman braids her sleeping sister’s hair into the seaweed she lies on, leaving her ensnared while the tide draws inexorably in. Linked images of seaweed and hair appear elsewhere, too. In another Gaelic song, Hi ù ò ra hù bhò, a woman mourns her drowned lover and describes his hair being tossed among the

seaweed; in A'Mhaighdeann Bharrach (The Maiden of Barra), a woman laments that her man was entrapped in a mermaid’s seaweed hair. Storyteller Stanley Robertson also tells of the alluring green hair of a mermaid, and the amorous fisherman who pursues her into a tidal cave: So he sees the ain he loves coming closer with the bonnie dark green hair floating in the water, but as she comes closer… she wasnie bonnie. Her hair just looked like seaweed strands and […] her skin was growing thick scales, ken. It mighta looked bonnie in the distance but they were big and thick […] and her teeth were […] three or four inches thick, and she was like a shark and she opened her moo… He barely escapes with his life. This, too, is a recurring theme. If you meet a handsome man or beautiful horse near water, be sure to check for seaweed and sand in his hair or mane— these are indications that he is a water horse (a kelpie, or each uisge) who will drag you under. The Norse draugr is a huge seaweed-covered creature, whose sole purpose is to drown sailors; interestingly, the word draugr literally translates as ghost. It’s unsurprising that death by drowning is a preoccupation of coastal communities, or that seaweed— discarded daily on the shore in tangles resembling slimy ropes or hair, later reclaimed by the incoming tide —is the motif used to illustrate it. Seaweed appears in instances of second sight relating to drowning: Donald John MacIntyre from Argyllshire relates the distress of a man who saw a vision of seaweed on the face of a dancer at a cèilidh; the dancing man drowned three days later. In Shetland, a similar legend is told by James Laurenson of Fetlar.

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viii: Foraging through Folklore A man called Daniel Danielson received a ghostly warning: And as he slept he dreamt a dream, he saw a sort of a skeleton looking man with drappered rags with seaweed attached that came to him, said “Dan’l, don’t set the third hail [haul], don’t set the lengths the third hail, for if you do you’ll join me at the bottom o the sea.” Daniel and his captain took the warning seriously and turned shoreward after the second haul, narrowly missing being trapped at sea by the Great Storm of 1832, which killed over 100 people. A legend from New England makes an even more overt connection between seaweed and the drowned. Two sisters are trapped near Cape Cod after their car breaks down; they seek refuge in an abandoned house. They wake in the middle of the night to the sight of a dripping wet man in a sailor’s costume reaching towards the empty fireplace as though to warm his hands. He vanishes when the sisters challenge him, and in the morning there is a puddle of water and a length of seaweed lying on the hearth. One of the sisters takes it with her. Later, a mechanic tells them that the house belonged to a sailor lost at sea. When they subsequently relate the experience at a dinner party, one of the guests— a marine biologist —asks to see the seaweed; the sister presents it to him. The marine biologist turns pale: the seaweed is a rare type that only grows on drowned corpses. Seaweed’s negative connotation in these stories does not do justice to the wider role it played in the life of coastal communities. Different types of seaweed have been used for food— whether in the domestic kitchen or as fodder for livestock —as fertiliser, medicine, building and roofing material, and many other things. Pérez-Lloréns and colleagues outline the range of uses across different cultures in their article ‘Seaweeds in mythology, folklore, poetry, and life’, tracing the appearance of seaweed in related folklore and literature. Despite its ubiquity and value, however, they observe fewer celebratory references to seaweed in European folklore than in many East Asian cultures; instead, there is a slight

ambivalence towards it, just as there is ambivalence towards the sea itself. The sea is the primary source of sustenance for coastal communities, but it is also unpredictable and dangerous and its depths unknowable. Strange lifeforms, both natural and supernatural, live below the waves; from merpeople to selkies, who are human on land, seals in the sea. There may also be submarine realms, such as Tír na nÓg— the land of youth —where the Irish warrior Oisín spends hundreds of years, only to wither away when he steps again on dry land. Seaweed belongs to the liminal space between sea and land, wet and dry, death and life. It is both an everyday resource lying in stinking heaps on the shore and, when reanimated by water, an eerily weightless foliage with the power to conceal or ensnare. References Botkin, B. A. (1965) A Treasury of New England Folklore, Bonanza Books, New York Pérez-Lloréns, J. L.; Mouritsen, O. G.; Rhatigan, P.; Cornish, M. L. & Critchley, A. T. (2020) ‘Seaweeds in mythology, folklore, poetry, and life’, in Journal of Applied Phycology, 32, pp. 3157-3182 Shaw, M. F. (1955 [2014]) Folksongs and Folklore of South Uist, Birlinn, Edinburgh Versions of the songs and legends mentioned above can be found on the Tobar an Dualchais / Kist o Riches website, the online portal for selected items held in the School of Scottish Studies Sound Archive at the University of Edinburgh. Songs and stories quoted from directly are: Donald John MacIntyre: http://tobarandualchais.co.uk/en/fullrecor d/39271 James Laurenson: http://tobarandualchais.co.uk/en/fullrecor d/68204 Nan McKinnon: http://tobarandualchais.co.uk/en/fullrecor d/72077 Stanley Robertson: http://tobarandualchais.co.uk/en/fullrecor d/65439 With thanks to the irrepressible Bria Mason for sharing her knowledge and enthusiasm about songs and seaweed.

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Marianne Hazwleood Arisaema griffithii Ink Shoots series

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ix: Botanica Fabula I M A G E

Wrack and Tang Amanda Edmiston Soft sea-fronds of Bladderwrack (Fucus vesiculosus, or Black Tang as it is known in parts of Scotland) are an accessory in so many stories, anointing mysterious transitional creatures, and lost lovers brought back from Davy Jones' locker. Iodine-rich Wracks and Kelps have been a part of our diet for centuries— both directly and through the nourishment they added to our soil and animal fodder. The history of these practices is drenched in poignant dates and community traditions. Their inland sister, the River Wrack, has for centuries been used in ritual— like the New Year gathering from the River Dochart, as it runs through Killin in rural Stirlingshire, to nestle St Fillan's healing stones, which still sit in the mill adjacent to the Falls. Maybe it's the underwater, half-hidden nature of seaweed that makes it fit so well into legends and magic; into images of fantastical, otherworldly, saline forests, so removed from our everyday life. But, to embark on this month's voyage, I'm going to take you somewhere more prosaic, more recognizable. Glasgow's River Clyde doesn’t immediately conjure up images of seaweed and mermaids. It's thick, grey ribbon of intense, memory-laden water seems more likely to release ghasts of welders walking from the Gorbals to Govan, whisky-woven banter of gallus, fair days spent sailing ‘doon the watter’ on one of Tam Seath’s Ru'glen built Clutha ferries. The Clyde rings with recent journeys into culture and regeneration, with modern architectural wonder, and empty spaces consumed by flats. Memories of many things, but… mermaids? No. As you make your way along the riverside path, from the Titan crane

through Partick— past expressways and luxury flats towards Clydeside— folkloric beings don’t immediately rise from its depths. These strands of River Wrack do not appear to hold shapeshifting Each Uisge— disguised as handsome people, distinguishable only by their Black Tang hair —waiting to seduce unwary victims and drag them out to their seaweed clad lairs. We imagine the water-plant flanks of the Kelpie emerging not from this river, that once hummed with industry, but from hilltop loch sides. This is not, at first glance, the home of magical or enchanted beings. Nonetheless, according to fragments of lore, it was once home to merfolk— or at least, there’s a scale or two of evidence to suggest this, though I have to admit more than those random scales seems hard to find. There is no full traditional story, that I can find, of the Mermaid of the Clyde. All there seems to be, laced through herbal reference books, are those famous words she uttered. There is little back story, no explanation of where she went. When I first found mention of her in the pages of a herbal, she seemed to sing to me; words echoing a lost connection, a thread joining to the shipbuilders of recent times, to the current upsurge in community gardening, to the reflourishing of this ‘dear green place’, if you will. A re-flourishing that clambers up stories like a runner bean, that uses old tales as frames to support upward growth and create nourishment for those that seek it. Her words reward gardeners who look back to old ways of tending the soil, gathering storm-shored Bladderwrack to feed the land, enriching the crops as winter sets in. Old stories spiralling into new, bringing elements together like the

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ix: Botanica Fabula proteins of a bean: these are seeds to cultivate new, healthy ways of being. The Mermaid is reputed to have said: If they wad drink Nettles in March and eat Muggins in May sae many braw maidens wadna gang to clay. Sure enough, as we meander down this path they are still there— the Nettles and Muggins —their vigorous shoots reclaiming the untended concrete of abandoned industrial acres, minding those of us who admire them of forgotten mermaids. Nettles (Urtica dioica) and Muggins, (or Mugwort, Artemisia vulgaris, as it’s more commonly known these days) are both hugely rich in minerals. These are terrific herbs, at the right times of year, to enrich the diet. Mugwort is also a great herb for regulating the menstrual cycle and bringing forth babies when they’re due, which may also be a consideration behind the Mermaid’s words. Nettles take waste and re-mineralize, potentially offering support to adrenals worn down by the stress of this neglected land, the strains of being a neglected person. Their piratical tendencies also make them vital plants for clearing up heavily used and polluted land and then starting to replenish the soil, the perfect partners for the Black Tang. This all seems interconnected to me; a vital spark needed to keep us, and our land, alive. Plants share their stories. Like the plants, the stories nourish. Their spiralling tendrils connect us to our land. If we neglect this ancient relationship, we become malnourished. The rhythms and energy our minds and bodies need, and our environment requires, become muted, victims of subtly persuasive violence and deprivation. We are not museums. We don’t thrive on calcified stories, nor on fossilized land. We need to flourish; to respect, remember, learn, grow, change organically, adjust ably, inviting and maintaining relevance and positive interaction. And, so, I feel I need to keep re-weaving, mending; story-mending. Retelling, recording, sharing and growing plants, people, folklore, folk-medicine and traditional tales. Like plants, stories need to grow organically, transforming to stay alive.

The Mermaid of the Clyde was one of the first stories I ‘mended’; an intriguing snippet of herbal wisdom uttered by a mermaid who, it was claimed, lived in the grey ribbon of Glasgow’s mighty river, before it was dredged for shipbuilding. So, I weave together broken snippets of story, creating new words to encase shards lost, set adrift from their old tales. But she’s not finished yet. She has further to swim. Those Nettles, Mugwort and wonderful Wracks still need to grow... In the meantime, here she is now— words woven back in— The Mermaid of the Clyde: There was a time, so the Daoine Sìth on the mountains claimed, when the Merrow and their cousins the salmon-tailed Ceasg, lived free of worries in the sea lochs and wintered on the silt-strewn banks of the Clyde. But although their kind could take on the human form and wander amongst the legged ones— and legend had it they felt empathy and kindred fondness for the women and girls —they all too often found the earthbound folk to be aggressive and loud. As the focus of man’s attentions became money and manufacture, the merfolk began to drift to deeper water, ‘til only one Merrow woman remained in the Clyde’s tidal flow. She watched as the dear green place she treasured turned to dirt and greed, ‘til the young women she sought to help heard her sing no more. As industry gained momentum and tenements— back-to-back, dark and damp —covered the meadows; as the shipyards called for the river to be dredged— removing the river Wracks, threatening to hook anchors and restrain hulls; as the banks were clawed and the forests burnt; as the young women of Glasgow began to live foreshortened lives; nowhere could they find the iron-rich greens they needed to bring riches to their bodies. Now only iron-filled yards brought riches to the few.

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ix: Botanica Fabula The Mermaid despaired. Times had changed. This was no longer a world in which she was welcome. Before one last tail-flick took her away from this dark, heat-arced world, she uttered: If they ate Nettles in March and Mugworts in May, not so many good maidens would have gone to the clay. The words floated on the river as the tide washed in and drifted out, as the moon pulled the water away. As soft as the foam itself, and with a flick of her tail, she vanished into the beckoning ocean forests. As we look back, as winter approaches, at the Nettles we gathered in our Dock-covered hands, as we inhale the Mugwort's bitter aroma to remind us of summer’s end, we may hope she swims well-nourished now— in beds of Bladderwrack midst the briny depths —waiting for a time to return to her river, carrying new stories, just as the Nettles and Mugwort move back to the abandoned shipyards.

Maybe next time she sings to us, it will be of the nutritious riches to be found in the Fucus beds she has swum through, of the iodine-rich winter harvest we once turned to in stormy weather. Maybe next time, we will listen. References Pérez-Lloréns, J.L.; Mouritsen, O.G.; Rhatigan, P. et al. (2020) ‘Seaweeds in mythology, folklore, poetry, and life’, in Journal of Applied Phycology, 32: 3157–3182 Image Rhodius, T. (1760) Illustration from ’Opuscula subseciva: observationes miscellaneas de animalculis et plantis, quibusdam marinis, eorumque ovariis et semnibus continentia’, Jobi Basyeri med doct, Academiae Caesareae. No restrictions, via Wikimedia Commons.

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xi: StAnza Presents…

Nora Gomringer tr. Annie Rutherford Bye To flutter also means to sing for me, an all too silent creature with wings two and tight enthroated territory. With radioiodine you can see me, ultrawave tones too make audible – large eyes for my non-existent song. Like crotchets, quavers, minims, semi-breves on the staves from 1 to 5, hot, cold knots form themselves. Belcanto doesn’t want to shine. I am the last luminous thing when your lights cool down entirely. I saw in Dresden’s Hygiene Museum and have believed it ever since: I am the butterfly hurrying after your soul. You cannot capture, conceive, endure what doesn’t happen but for me.

Nora Gomringer is one of Germany’s best known and loved contemporary poets. In the early 2000s she was a prominent voice in Germany’s young slam scene, and her background in performance continues to inform her work. Her writing blurs the boundaries between performance and page poetry, as well as often intersecting with other art forms, from film to music and visual art. She’s won a number of awards for her writing, from the Jacob Grimm German Language Prize in 2011 to the prestigious Ingeborg Bachmann Award in 2015. Her most recent collection, Gottesanbieterin, appeared in 2020. Annie Rutherford is programme co-ordinator for StAnza, as well as a writer and translator. She co-founded Goettingen’s Poetree festival and edited the literary magazine Far Off Places. Her collected translations of Nora Gomringer, Hydra’s Heads, appeared in August 2018, and she has a forthcoming pamphlet of translations by Volha Hapeyeva with Arc in 2021. StAnza brings poetry to audiences and enables encounters with poetry through events and projects in Scotland and beyond, especially their annual spring festival in St Andrews. www.stanzapoetry.org Facebook: stanzapoetry Instagram: @stanzapoetry back to contents


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Herbal Antivirals (Harrod Buhner, S.; Storey Publishing, 2013) Reviewer: Colette Jones This book is about new viruses, viral infection, pandemics, and immune-supporting and antiviral herbs— ‘the finest chemists’. As SARSCoV-2 sparks Covid-19 worldwide, infecting our imagination and stultifying governments, this book offers perspective, science and therapies. Reflections on pandemics, viruses, demographic change and medical responses open the book and set a context for emerging pathogenic viruses. Chapters two and three launch into respiratory and encephalitic viral infections and their treatments, embracing; flu, SARS, Adenoviruses, Parainfluenza, Respiratory Syncytial Virus, Rhinoviruses, Japanese Encephalitis, Tick Borne and West Nile Virus. Chapter four mops up other viruses including Herpes and Cytomegalovirus. Buhner’s powerful descriptions of infection progression are accompanied, step-by-step, by details of the antimicrobial virtues of herbs. Don’t be put off by acres of text, such as the eight-page explanation of cytokine cascade; Buhner’s weave of disease aetiology and herbal action is a fine plaid. Therapeutic protocols are described using everyday language with recipes, methods of administration and reflections from personal experience. Under the ‘SARS and Coronaviruses’ subheading, Buhner lists twenty-two herbs active against SARS, having earlier noted about herbal treatments for flu: there are thousands… these are just the ones I have found useful. I, too, found his cough syrup recipe useful; as well as the advice to: just drink it as needed right out the bottle; …none of that 1-tablespoon-ata-time stuff… Chapters five and six, comprising half the book, are given over to exposition of ‘the top seven antiviral herbs’, with notes on six others, and three herbs that optimize immune function. All are well referenced, but not in the text. Over

1,500 research papers, journal articles, etc. are gathered in a neatly sectioned bibliography, so you can stroll undistracted through Buhner’s rigorous scholarship and relaxed prose. Thoughtful design also makes the vast amount of material in these 182 pages navigable. Individual monographs are found quickly via page headers of the common name of the herb, in bold white font on olive green. Properties of each herb are summarised under ‘actions’; ‘active against’; ‘use to treat’; ‘other uses’ and boxed by a pale green border. Recipes are concise with neat subheadings: ‘ingredients’; ‘to make’; ‘to use’. Shaded boxes, side bars, columns, hue and type make this Materia medica, together with the appendix on medicine making, accessible; demanding to be used. The book is a perfect blend of science and spirit, written to stimulate our thinking and create a more effective healing paradigm. Viruses, Buhner proffers, are not some ‘virulent other’— they are colleagues, ancestors. We need to comprehend to respond diligently. I am a fan of the TV series Killing Eve, and orthodox medicine holding up dexamethasone to SARS-CoV-2 is like MI6 officer Eve waving a toilet brush at the assassin Villanelle. Herbalists halt, momentarily perplexed. Can we leap forward, take orthodoxy by the throat and yell ‘Stop screaming! We-just-want-to-show-youthousands-of-healing-plants!’? Buhner invites us to bring our own genius, in whatever form, to the world. Read this book and play your part.

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Plant Magic (Kenicer, G.J.; Royal Botanical Gardens Edinburgh, 2020) Reviewer: Diane Gardner In the far north of Lancashire in the 1950s, my mum would take her canvas bag down from the peg on the back door and off we would go— gathering all manner of plants and berries. But no Blackberries (Rubus fruticosus) would ever be picked after the end of September. We would collect armfuls of kindling— but only the ‘right’ kind of wood, and it must not contain a trace of lichen or sap or greenery of any kind (very bad luck). Salt was thrown onto the newly lit fire of a morning, to chase any witches from out of the chimney. And if we misplaced anything at home? Well, that would be the work of the Boggarts, who had craftily hidden it. So, it was such a joy to read this fascinating book and discover the origins of some of my mother’s many superstitions. This book is easy to read and understand, beautifully illustrated throughout— by Sharon Tingey and Jacqui Pestell —and filled to the brim with interesting folklore, magic, witchcraft, and botanical information. After its helpful and detailed introduction, the book is then divided according to different categories of plant; woody plants, trees, shrubs, climbers, herbs, cryptogams, algae, fungi, and mystery plants. The contents of each section are set out in alphabetical order, making it user-friendly and easy to refer back to— so, should you be interested in extending your knowledge or discovering the folklore of any particular tree or plant, you will find that it’s very easy to locate.

dilate their pupils and make them appear more attractive? I was particularly intrigued by the story of Anne Bodenham, a late witch of Salisbury, who sent her ruffian-like spirits to gather Vervain (Verbena officinalis) and Dill (Anethum graveolens), to be given to one whom she sought to bewitch. It was an anecdote that left me curious to discover more about Anne Bodenham, and who it was she was trying to bewitch! All in all, this is a wonderfully entertaining and informative book. I now know why Mum wouldn’t let us pick Blackberries after Michaelmas on the 29th September— after this time, apparently, the Devil has spat upon them. And, just in case you were wondering, I can now tell you the safest time to plant Parsley (Petroselinum spp.); if you plant it on Good Friday, when the Devil is held at bay, then you should be as right as rain. I would offer one warning that isn’t in these pages, though: if you are thinking of buying this book as a gift, order two copies— you will almost certainly want to keep one for yourself.

More than taking a historical look at the folklore of individual plants, however, Plant Magic gives us an insight into the lives of our ancestors— how they tried to protect themselves from all manner of evils, prevent diseases and even bewitch others. For instance, who knew that, in Victorian Somerset, Deadly Nightshade (Atropa belladonna) was cut into pieces and worn as a necklace by children, to prevent teething fits? Or that the juice of the berries was dropped into the eyes of Italian women to

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Scottish Plant Lore: An illustrated flora (Kenicer, G.J.; Royal Botanical Gardens Edinburgh, 2018) Reviewer: Marianne Hughes This beautiful book is a joy to hold, to read, and to admire— the illustrations are exquisite. This is not surprising, since the book was partly inspired by the Scottish Botanical Art Worldwide exhibition, shown at the Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh and in 25 other countries, in 2018. The full-page illustrations reflect the RBGE’s famous Herbarium collection, and include drawings and sketches from 15th, 16th, 17th & 18th century publications as well as watercolours from contemporary women artists. Thus, a unique appeal of the book is the equal value it places on botanical illustration for scientific knowledge and for aesthetic beauty— all this running alongside the informative, thoroughly researched text.

‘bleedy tongues’ that involved Cleavers (Galium aparine). You’ll have to read the book to find out more! This book would make a wonderful present for anyone interested in medicinal plants, folklore, botanical illustrations, Scottish plant history, ethnobotany and beautiful books. It really is one to treasure.

The book’s chapters cover: Seashore, Wetlands, Grasslands, Woodlands, Moorland & Mountains, and Human Habitats. A selection that celebrates the rich variety of habitat we enjoy in Scotland. Kenicer’s writing is amusing, accessible and interesting, drawing on epistemology and ethnobotany to debate the origins of specific plant uses. As he reflects: almost all human communities continue to rely on plants for their existence. Plants also enrich our lives. Perhaps during the recent months of this pandemic, we have all appreciated that sense of the plant world carrying on around us, providing nurture and hope. In this book, the rich tradition and folklore of plant uses in Scotland is outlined and referenced. And those uses are many and various— from medicine and dyes, through to baskets, ropes, mattresses, clothes and traps. Kenicer tells tales of the Burry Man parade in South Queensferry, featuring Burdock (Arctium minus), first recorded in the mid-1600s; of the use of a poultice of Hemlock (Conium maculatum) to treat a cancer sore in the 19th century; and of a children’s game called

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x: Book Club

For the Love of Trees: A Celebration of People and Trees (Allan, V. & Deacon, A.; Black & White Publishing, Edinburgh, 2020) Reviewer: Kyra Pollitt Back when I was a Herbology student at RBGE, I invited a local community folk choir— Castle Chorus —to sing to my little plot. They took to the task wholeheartedly, even creating bespoke songs for the plant list I had given them. So, I was delighted to discover that the gorgeous photography in this volume is the work of the daughter of one of those singers. Residents of Edinburgh might well recognise some of the trees and locations in these stunning images. Such recognition elicits a warm tingle, and that brings us to the central theme of this book. As its author Vicky Allen observes, this is a book about: …love— and it’s also partly, perhaps, an acknowledgement of need and dependency. The book addresses all kinds of relationships with trees. Although it is divided into fifteen sections— covering aspects such as grief, constancy, ecology, connection, time, childhood, spirituality, belief, and activity —the voices of the many contributors are allowed to mingle even to the point of entanglement, like many leaves in a canopy. And there is a cornucopia of contributors here— from the ever-wonderful Jackie Kay, to RBGE’s own David Knott, pictured mid one of the 350 tree hugs of his fundraising initiative to save the Sequoiadendrons at Benmore. There are plenty more famous faces; Chris Packham, Dame Judi Dench, Kirsty Wark, India Knight, Miranda Hart, Alastair Campbell, Isabella Tree, Tom Kitchin… I recognised others, too. Vroni Holzmann talks of the piano compositions she has created in response to trees. She once taught piano to my daughter— the daughter who is now a climate activist. I’m sure I met Katie Smith when I took part in a performed reading of the IPCC’s Report on Global Warming. René Sommer Lindsay is a family friend. These are not vainglorious claims. Rather, they speak to human interconnectedness, to our own society.

And this book invites us not just to consider trees, but trees’ relationships to each other, our relationships to trees and, inevitably, our relationships to each other. Reading it left me happily contemplating all sorts of questions about why we find comfort in trees, whether we reflect trees in some way, whether— when we took that evolutionary climb down from their branches —we carried their sense of society down with us… The other humans in this book made me grow. I was drawn to Yu Zhang, a student, whose short entry records her dream to: be a tree in my next life, so I could stand in a forest and see how the world changes. The entries from even younger people were also particularly inspiring. Eleven-year-old Elian’s simple instructions on how to climb trees reignited some long-ignored ember in a forgotten corner of my ageing soul. So, I’ve finished reading this book and yet I haven’t. In these strange times, I know I’ll return to it again and again as a source of beauty and nourishment— much like we return to trees. In the meantime, I’m taking a friend to our local woodland for a spot of tree-hugging and perhaps a climb or two. Thanks, Elian.

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x: Book Club

Are you reading something you would recommend to others? We’re always interested in reviews of books to share with fellow herbal folk. Please simply send us a review, or get in touch: herbologynews@gmail.com

Do you have a book you’d like to submit for potential review? Post to: The Editor Herbology News Glen House, 3 Reinigeadal, Isle of Harris. HS3 3BD

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xi: Herbologist’s Diary

Poster with a Cause Grass Roots Remedies are an Edinburgh-based Workers' Co-operative aiming to make community herbal healthcare accessible to all. They run a low-cost community clinic in Wester Hailes, in Edinburgh, which provides professional herbal support to people living in poverty. They've teamed up with artist Sandra Nussbaum to create a beautiful poster on the 'Herbs of Scotland', delicately illustrating the traditional names and uses of 11 native species. 100% of the proceeds of sales of this poster sale will go supporting their clinic in Wester Hailes. The posters can be posted to UK & EU, and cost ÂŁ13.50 each. To order yours, visit their online shop at www.grassrootsremedies.co.uk/shop Or email them at hello@grassrootsremedies.co.uk

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ADVERTISE HERE We’d like to offer a space to advertise products and paid events and for a ridiculously small fee. The funds raised would help us upgrade to a cleaner version of this platform without the imposed side adverts, and with additional useful features. If you have an event, a product, or a service you’d like to advertise, get in touch. We can embed a link to take our readers directly to your website, Etsy shop, or platform of your choice.

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xii: Contributors

Ramsey Affifi is Lecturer in Science (Biology) Education and Environmental Philosophy at the University of Edinburgh. http://ramseyaffifi.org

Senga Bate started her RBGE Herbology journey around 2007, at first attending evening classes, then any and all classes offered by Catherine Conway-Payne, and eventually graduating from the Dip. Herbology in 2015. Since 2016/7 Senga has tutored in herb horticulture on both the attended and blended RBGE Diplomas. She has been a volunteer in the Physic garden areas in RGBE since 2013. A huge advocate for kitchen pharmacy, she uses herbs, spices, mushrooms, wild plants and sea vegetables as daily preventative medicine. Hazel Brady’s background is in IT, but she has always loved plants and since retiring has expanded her knowledge, especially around herbs. She completed the Diploma in Herbology at RBGE under Catherine ConwayPayne. Retirement has also given her the opportunity to develop another of her interests— an artistic practice centred in drawing and painting.

Ruth Crighton-Ward has had a long interest in plants and nature, although her first career was in Stage Management. After 18 years working in a variety of Scottish theatres, she decided to go into gardening. She took her RHS Level 2 in Horticulture, as well as a Certificate in Practical Horticulture at RBGE. In 2014 she started her own gardening business, which has proved successful. In 2018, alongside her full- time work as a gardener, she returned to the RBGE for a Diploma in Herbology.

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xii: Contributors Anne Dalziel qualified as a Bach Foundation Registered Practitioner (BFRP) in 2006, later becoming a licensed teacher for the Bach International Education Programme (BIEP) and for the Bach Foundation. Anne has facilitated many workshops in community education, and for several commercial organisations. IG: @bachflowertraining

Sara Dodd grew up in northern California. She first came to Scotland as a dancer, but then established a career in IT. Between roles, she completed the Herbology course in 2011— which evolved into a professional practice of pressing seaweeds. An annual highlight is sharing this knowledge with Catherine Conway-Payne’s Herbology Diploma students, and watching them fall in love with it too.

Amanda Edmiston was raised in stories; her mother is a professional storyteller, her dad was a toymaker, her grandfather a sculptor, her gran a repository of traditional remedies and folklore. After studying law, then herbal medicine, Amanda began to blend facts, folklore, traditional tales, history and herbal remedies into unique works. Based in rural Stirlingshire, you can follow her on Facebook, @HerbalStorytell, and find more of her works at www.botanicafabula.co.uk

Sinéad Fortune is the Manager of the Seed Sovereignty UK and Ireland Programme. She is a proud graduate of RBGE’s Herbology Certificate course and, when she isn’t chatting about seeds, she can be found growing, foraging and making a mess in the kitchen. You can email her at sinead@gaianet.org

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xii: Contributors

Diane Gardner's life has taken her from rural Lancashire to the Angel Islington, via 1970s Paris. An artist by nature she has dabbled in theatre design, antique furniture, books and bric-a-brac. She is currently sketching, painting and embroidering her way through lockdown.

David Hughes is an organic gardener, fruit and veg enthusiast, plant nutritionist, terpine whisperer, seed collector, green librarian and half decent in the kitchen. Most often found disturbing the peace in the woods of East Lothian, or more occasionally wandering in unimproved pastures looking quizzically at things, David looks to explore people and their relationships with the plants that surround them by examining the esoteric sides of herbology through conversation, experience and silly wee stories. Marianne Hughes began following her interest in complementary medicine after a career in Social Work Education and voluntary work in Fair Trade. Starting with Reflexology & Reiki, she progressed into Herbal Medicine. The evening classes at the RBGE got her hooked and she completed the Certificate in Herbology and, more recently, the Diploma in Herbology. Her current interest and joy is experimenting with herb growing in her own garden, in a local park and alongside other volunteers in the RBGE Physic Garden marianne@commonfuture.co.uk

Collete Jones, a graduate of RBGE Dip. Herbology 2014, is a retired medical researcher living in Aberdeen, where she tends a herb allotment and walks along the seafront.

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xii: Contributors

Dr. Ella Leith is an ethnologist and folklorist who studied in Scotland and now lives in Malta. She particularly loves folktales and the storytelling traditions of linguistic and cultural minorities. @leithyface

Nathalie Moriarty is an Accredited Practitioner with the Institute for Outdoor Learning, and a graduate of the RBGE Diploma in Herbology. She works full-time for Scottish Forestry, coordinating the ‘Branching Out - Positive Mental Health through Nature’ programme. She is passionate about working with nature to help people lead happier and healthier lives.

Maddy Mould is an illustrator from Lancashire, who recently escaped city life in Edinburgh for the Scottish Borders. Her work is heavily influenced by the surrounding natural landscape, folklore & history. She likes to illuminate the magic of everyday things, through her art and some simple kitchen witchery, with what will hopefully soon be home-grown produce @maddymould

Kyra Pollitt is a graduate of the Diploma in Herbology at the RBGE. When not editing Herbology News, she works as a translator, interpreter, writer and artist. She lives on the Isle of Harris, where she is busily planning and growing a garden. www.actsoftranslation.com

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xii: Contributors

Dora Wagner is a graduate of the RBGE Diploma in Herbology, and a Didactician in Natural Science. She also works as a Naturopath for Psychotherapy, and as a Horticultural Therapist. She currently lectures in Medical Herbalism at the University of Witten/Herdecke, and is leading a project reconstructing the medicinal herb garden of an Anthroposophic Hospital in Germany.

Milly Watson Brown is the creatress of Moon Time Chocolate— hand-made, herbal chocolate truffles to support the menstrual cycle. She loves foraging and alchemising wild herbs and plants. It was this, and her combination of passions— for great food, herbs, womb health, and empowerment — that launched the business four years ago. Moon Time Chocolate sells online at www.moontimechocolate.co.uk, and can be followed on Instagram @moontimechocolate.

Lucy Wood is the Adult Learning Programme Co-ordinator at the Palace of Holyroodhouse, Edinburgh. She has worked in learning and public engagement for a number of organisations including The Abbotsford Trust, The Mavisbank Trust, and the University of Edinburgh.

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Herbology News has grown from the Herbology courses taught at the Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh, under the careful eye of Catherine Conway-Payne. A suite of Herbology course options are available, as part of the broad range of education courses offered by RBGE.

Herbology News has grown from the Herbology courses taught at the Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh, under the careful eye of Catherine Conway-Payne. A suite of Herbology course options are available, as part of the broad range of education courses offered by RBGE.

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xii: Looking Forward

12//20: The Festive Issue     

Your usual columnists Plus Artist of the Month: Marissa Stoffer Plus Our Man in the Field interviews Catherine Conway-Payne Plus your Book Reviews And we draw our Grand Raffle Prizes

And more…. With season’s greetings and festive wishes from all at Herbology News

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