I happened upon an entry from my journal that made me smile. I’d been writing about plants late one night in February and then wrote: “Thinking about all these pink and yellow blossoms in February is so much fun, such a promise of life to come when these mountains of snow melt away. There will be dandelion flowers and cherry blossoms and violet flowers again! To think!
And now the snow is melted, it’s spring, and they’re all here...
We can put away the snow shovels. It is glorious.
The other day I finally had enough yellow coltsfoot flowers after about a week of gathering them to finish making my annual pint or two of coltsfoot flower brandy. I use this brandy to add a lovely tasting additional cough medicine in cough syrups such as pine needle and rose hips. The sunny, furry flowers pop up out of the earth before the leaves do, earning them the nickname, ‘daughter before mother’, or ‘son before father’. I also love the botanical name of coltsfoot, Tussilago farfara. It can be loosely translated as “Cough, go far, far away!” The flowers taste and smell much sweeter when they are picked on a sunny afternoon than if they are picked early or late, or on a grey day.
Now I am eating every wild green I can gather such as nettles, Pennsylvania bittercress (which is covering my land), violets (and these have just begun flowering their lovely viola flowers), dandelion leaves, onion grass, garlic mustard and more.
But the piece de resistance of early spring for me is my flowing cherry tree. This tree is generally known as a weeping cherry, but she told me she is definitely not weeping, she is flowing. I love this tree more than words can say. She tells me her great gift is to help when someone has habits of sadness, areas where they habitually, and continuously get stuck in sadness leading to draining away one’s vital life force energy and feeling disempowered. She helps us open ourselves to move from sadness to joy. It is an exquisite medicine. She blooms all white and then turns pink. She turned pink today. The Kwanzaan cherry (the one with the pouffy pink blossoms, called Sakura, in Japan) is soon to follow and her gift is pure joy. Flowing cherry helps us to be ready for that, whether used as a tincture, flower essence or honey!
I have a weed walk in Central Park on Sunday, May 1st, from 2-4 PM. Come meet the plants of early spring!
If you're in NYC, I highly recommend Kate Temple West's Beltane class on Herbal Aphrodisiacs! http://www.friendlyherbalist.com/ Saturday, April 30th.