One of the nice things about autumn is that I no longer have to spend every spare moment weeding and watering (albeit admittedly I’m not quite free of these duties just yet). Instead, I can s
Us Social Botanists have also been busy these last few weeks in nature’s larder, foraging alexanders seeds, rowan berries, blackberries, elderberries, sloes, rosehips, and even water mint. Not only has this provided more ingredients for Alan and Luke to experiment with for upcoming, inevitably delicious drinks, but some of these are also used in our existing products as well. Rowan berries feature in the bottled Cosmo, as well as in our Distillers Edition Gin, and blackberries are a key ingredient in the Berrissimo aperitif. Additionally, visitors to our Academy Sessions have therefore been treated to seasonal and locally foraged botanicals over the past month to build the flavour of their unique spirit.
In the garden we’ve been harvesting blueberries, rhubarb, fennel seeds, potatoes, and nettle, as well as saving the seeds of our annual wildflowers (cornflowers, poppies, knapweed, yarrow, marigolds, burdock, oxeye daisy) to ensure that we get another striking wildflower patch for our pollinators next year. The seed harvest has been extensive, so we’ll be able to share some Stillgarden wildflower seeds throughout the community, further increasing Dublin’s biodiversity and broadening integral pollinator corridors. Shift my efforts onto harvesting the fruits of our labour in the community garden, indulging in autumn’s bounty of produce.
There is more harvesting still to be done, with our stevia, burdock, dandelion, community carrots, potatoes, squash, and corn needing a little more time before they’re ready to fledge their roots. Not all of our foraged treats are for consumption either, as I’ve collected some of the seeds from the elderberries, wild rose, cherries, and rowan to hopefully raise in the garden next year. Some water mint is (hopefully) rooting on our sunny windowsill, and we were kindly given some rosemary and spearmint cuttings by two members of our community that will set us off running next year.
Autumn’s harvest can sometimes feel like it’s all take, take, take from our wild spaces and gardens. Whilst this is perhaps a refreshing change from the seemingly perpetual energy expended on weeding and plant care over the summer, it’s important to prepare ourselves and our landscapes for the next season of growth once the frosts have passed. Gardening may be tiring at times, but is there a better focal point to direct your energy at than helping something to grow into a beautiful flower? Especially when that flower is delicious? I’m yet to be proven otherwise.
Don’t forget to give your sunflowers a hug goodbye.