Yesterday was a lovely day, warm and sunny. I had breakfast at Edinburgh's Botanic Gardens at a lively event organised by the Garden's Edible Gardening Project.
Breakfast was delicious with elderflower cordial, muffins made with herbs foraged from the Garden's herb garden, veggie sausages with foraged salad and red clover tea!
Then I joined a short foraging walk round the herb garden with the Garden's Education Officer, Greg Kenicer. He showed us a variety of plants that are either edible or can be used for medical or household purposes. We smelt a lot of herbs (including the vile smelling woundwort which used to be used to dress wounds), tasted a few of them (including pignuts, which are difficult to dig up and taste like water chestnut, and the leaves of various species of vetch, which taste a bit like peas, not surprisingly as they're from the pea family) and were warned off several others that are inedible or toxic.It really did inspire me to read through my copy of Food for Free and decide on things I could forage while I'm on my weekly walk along the Water of Leith. Though in reality I know I'm unlikely to ever forage anything more than the occasional blackberry and raspberry or even wild strawberry!
It was a such a lovely way to start the day that I returned to the Botanics in the evening for a fascinating presentation about the Garden's resident sparrowhawks from the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) and Lothian and Borders Raptor Study Group. There are apparently about 27 pairs of sparrowhawks nesting in Edinburgh, two of them in the Botanic Gardens. This year one of the breeding pairs gave up on their nest even before they'd built it while the second have just hatched their fourth chick. The birds are now filmed 24 hours a day and you can watch them live here. RSPB staff and volunteers are at hand at the Botanics John Hope Gateway between 1and 4pm Wednesday to Sunday to discuss the birds.
As ever, red text contains hyperlinks that take you to other webpages where you can find out more.