Exploring the Wild Plants of our Gardens

Each morning I am greeted at the front gates of the Skip Garden by a curious friend. She is bright, alive and delightfully welcoming. Valerian (Valerian Officinalis) grows proudly through the concrete, welcoming visitors.

Valerian.JPG

I’m Charlotte - the new Education and Community gardener for the Story Garden. I’ve been a part of Global Generation for about 2 months now and in between busily supporting the build of the Story Garden and facilitating workshops, I have been exploring the secret places of the garden and seeing whom is growing through the cracks and hidden away places of the gardens.

Wild plants have been my route into my work, finding fascination in our wild weeds that grow native to our lands. It is these ‘weeds’ that provide us with traditional food and medicine, they are to be celebrated and explored. I like to eat nettles regularly and follow the flow of the seasons, picking who is growing. How amazing it is that these ‘weeds’ that are both nutritional and medicinal grow in places that have been discarded by people, with our traditional plants growing in scrub lands, forgotten yards, by the canals and most places left untouched by people, even growing through the pavement! At the Story Garden we are greeted with St John’s Wort and Mugwort; both plants having an important place in traditional herbalism and folklore. Mugwort has long been thought of as an important women’s herb across Europe and America and St John’s Wort has been made well known for its qualities in supporting depression. One of my favourite plants is the lovely Californian poppy, it’s beautiful and gentle orange glow calling people into the Skip Garden to admire them.

Mugwort at the Story Garden

Mugwort at the Story Garden

St John’s Wort

St John’s Wort

I’m curious about these plants. I’m curious that they re-inhabit forgotten places and continue to find the earth and soil and grow through cement. I’m curious what their message is and what they are offering us people. I’m curious what Valerian has to say to visitors and workers and I’m curious how we as gardeners can grow cultivated plants alongside our native wild weeds.

Californian Poppy

Californian Poppy

Who are you curious about?

Have you met any plants that have stopped you as you walked, called you over to them? Did you stop to admire them or did they remind you of a memory or feeling. Perhaps you recognise them or perhaps they are introducing themselves to you, either way I’m sure they have something to say.


See you in the garden,

Charlotte