Monday, October 13, 2008

A secret garden

About 10 days ago, I pleaded for a friendly botanist to help me distinguish between different wild, edible Brassicaceae species. And lo and behold - one answered!

So late last week, my daughter and I headed across town to Julia Stace Brooke-White's house with a big bagful of plant specimens to show her. The minute we stepped onto the long, shaded path up to her house we were enchanted.

The path was lined with miners' lettuce, raspberry bushes and other tasty flora, and finally opened out onto her gorgeous front yard, which my daughter said was 'like a secret garden'. My photo above doesn't do full justice to its magical atmosphere.

We took our specimens inside, and Julia examined them. Her job was made harder by the fact that I had picked them too soon, and they had wilted ALOT. However, she made some tentative identifications on the spot, and suggested we leave them with her to research further.

On the way out, she showed us lots of her interesting garden edibles - and even pulled some out for me to take home (insisting, when I thanked her, that she was just doing a spot of weeding. :o)

I was also very inspired by her style of gardening, allowing plants plenty of freedom to self seed and thus adapt to suit their environment.

We headed back down the path and onto the street with a bucketful of blue borage, miners lettuce, mustard lettuce, feverfew, and 'parcel' - a cross between parsley and celery.

It was a lovely experience, and I thank Julia very much. And yes, soon after, she did email with more definite IDs for our different Brassicaceae, but that will have to be my next post!


Bron said...

How fantastic! Her garden looks heavenly!

Ruth said...

That is so cool that a friendly botanist responded to your plea! Was it through your blog too?

Johanna Knox said...

Bron - yeah, it was just lovely.

Ruth - it was mainly through our wild foraging email group. (Wanna join? :o)

Sandra said...

Sounds like a perfect day. What a beautiful garden.

free said...

Looking forward to your post about the brassicas - it's a spot of confusion for me too, hopefully you can educate me!