Bridget

Wild Herbs and Birch trees.

In Gardening, Herbs, sustainable living on July 3, 2011 at 8:58 pm

Rosebay Willowherb has come into flower overnight. I noticed it on this morning’s walk with the dogs. I suppose you could’nt really miss those pinky/magenta flowers. To me they are as pretty as any garden plant.  It has to be kept under a careful eye in the garden as it spreads rapidly. Each plant has about 80,000 seeds, these have silky hairs which aid dispersal by the wind. In North America it is called Fireweed and was used medicinally by the native peoples.

The plant became known as Bombweed because of it’s rapid colonization of bomb craters in the Second World War. It needs space and light to thrive and dies out where there are trees and shrubs. In Alaska candies, syrup and even ice cream are made from the plant. Russians use it as a tea.

On the return from the short walk I picked a big bunch of Equisetum, Horsetail or Mare’s Tail are it common names, this will go in the liquid feed brew. Equisetum is said to be a good preventative against fungal diseases in all crops. Mixing it into the liquid feed is a good way to apply it.

This is the view from the bathroom window onto the first flower bed we made here. It has filled out nicely now. The stone was brought from an old building in the back field and most of the plants were grown from cuttings, or slips as they say in Ireland.

From the same window I can also look into the canopy of this Birch, one of my favourite trees.

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  1. lovely pictures, my pony like to eat the willow herb.

  2. You have a beautiful flower bed and stone wall. I like the fireweed, too …

  3. I like your flower bed…so beautiful with the stone wall to frame it. Your garden is lovely and functional!

  4. I simply adore Willow herb with such varying heights and colours. Nowadays we still underestimate the beauty and usefulness of ‘weeds’.

    Epilobium angustifolium [Rosebay Willowherb] is used in Alaska to help sweeten syrups, jellies, and ice cream. Honey can be made made primarily from it’s nectar which has a distinctive, spicy flavour. Some years ago I had a Russian guy in my horticultural class who told me that it’s leaves are used as a tea substitute [Kapor tea].

    For your Fungal spray, be sure you’re using the right mare’s tail for your receipe as the concoction is only viable when using Equisetum arvense [Field Horsetail]! It’s high silca content is said to help with potato blight most especially and the Irish Seedsavers swear by it!

    This ‘living fossil’ is rampant in my clients’ 4 acre garden which is going to be a challenge to try (note I say try) to remove it. I take great pleasure in reading that although a pain to remove it does have some brilliant properties.

    For the fungal receipe check out my FB page

    Ena Ronayne
    http://www.thegardendesignco.ie

  5. I don’t know rosebay, but found this information so interesting. I will definitely be on the lookout for it now.

  6. I hadn’t realised Rose Bay Willow Herb had any uses beyond looking lovely. How glad I am someone else likes it!

    The Horse Tails – Until recently, I called them Mares Tails but now I think Mares Tails are a water plant. Did you see my Horse Tail post?

    http://looseandleafy.blogspot.com/search?q=horsetail

    Lucy

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