On Saturday 15th August, 21 adults and 5 children walked from Wyck Gardens on Loughborough road, by Woolley House, to Loughborough Park, then back to the wild and wonderful herb garden between Loughborough and Angell Town estates.
Ceri Buck introduced the project and outlined the history to Invisible Food, as a project that researched an approach to play and different play types, and how the idea behind Invisible Food was to create an autonomous space in which the daily demands of time and business were ruptured by contact with nature , through conversation and with the task of the game, which was to identify and where possible, gather wild food.
In Loughborough Park, as well as the beautiful mulberry tree there is a mound with an elder tree surrounded by nettles. The elder is in the berry stage now and good for jellies, chutneys, cordials and even ink! Between the elder and the mulberry tree is a stretch of grass full of yarrow, ribwort plantain ( a natural anti-histimine and good for insect bites), clover leaves and dandelion.
Back on the Loughborough Estate, the walking group walked further into Wyck Gardens, the 1950s blocks above our heads. Blackberries are hidden in the borders, and the wild spaces are full of yarrow, nettles, dandelion, mallow. There’s a rowan tree at the entrance to the gardens but this year it hasn’t berried and last year, it did have berries but they didn’t look good.
We took the path heading North from Wyck Gardens, after looking at all the mugwort that was used in former times to smoke, or for strong dreams , place some under the pillow. We moved onto the herb garden between Loughborough and Angell Town estates. A marvellous open space, the herb garden itself, overgrown. its treasures almost hidden, a rampant curry plant. But there’s plenty of sage, rosemary, mint and lemon balm for everyone.
We gathered mint, lemon balm, sage, thyme, rosemary, washed them and boiled up some water in the storm kettle to accompany the jams (mulberry & apples 2008, blackberry & apple 2009) and oat cakes.
So we had a little picnic sharing the food we had gathered and relaxing on the grass. Sharing food is one way of breaking down cultural barriers. Sharing food is what friends do together.
Didn’t come on this one? Come on the next one.
And come again, if you did come! See you on the 19th September for more berry harvesting. The hawthorns will be fully out then.