Happy New Year to everyone!
I hope your holiday period was suitably enjoyable and festive.
When winter is at its keenest it may feel really difficult to connect with living plants or remember the colour and warmth of the previous summer. I've been clearing out my shelves and wrote about it as my first blog post of the yearhttp://kitchenherbwife.blogspot.com/2011/01/clearing-decks.html
Yesterday I was making salves for various people. Last year the calendula oil was the deepest orange it has ever been and the salves were correspondingly deep gold after mixing with either solomon's seal and meadowsweet (for RSI), chickweed (for statin induced eczema)and horsechestnut oil (for vein health). Tonight I may make some more as I hate to be without it.
I've also been setting my apprentices their first tasks of the year. They're going to be looking at tree barks and making their own remedies. Another task is to choose a herbal ally for the year and get to know it more closely. This is a really exciting project as it doesn't matter how much you think you know about a herb and its properties, there is always more to learn.
I've chosen violet (viola odorata) as it's a plant I've been meaning to use more for several years. It was fascinating to think about the provenance of each of my violet patches last night and wonder how soon I can make myself some fresh tea from their leaves. I'm hoping the leaves I dried last year haven't been too badly damaged by the cold as they are still in my garden summerhouse in a paperbag along with several other dried herbs.
Now I need to plan for Saturday's workshop - we're going to be playing with spices, ginger, fennel, angelica and chillies whilst considering how herbs keep us warm during cold weather.
What herbs are you working with at the moment and are there any you are expecting to pay particular attention to over the coming year?
[Edited to make broken link work]