Sloe – Prunus spinosa

The bush that bears the sloe is called the blackthorn. This shrubby tree can reach a height of 4m and has very spiny thorns and shiny black berries. Tiny white blossoms appear on the tree from May onwards and the black sloes are the great-grandmothers of our cultivated garden plums. Most of you will know …

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Pelargonium ‘Attar of Roses’

These wonderful plants are often mistakenly called geraniums.  They are all part of the same family but whilst geraniums are hardy garden plants, pelargoniums originate from South Africa and are therefore not frost hardy. I adore scented leaf pelargoniums and this is one of my favourites!  Pelargonium ‘Attar of Roses’ has light green, hairy leaves …

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Pelargonium Attar of Roses

Nettles – Urtica dioica

As I think, we can all testify, nettles grow all over the UK.  They prefer damp soil but will take up residence anywhere and they have a particularly nasty sting, especially at this time of year when the sap is rising. But they do have their uses: During the First World War, nettle fibres were …

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Lady’s Smock – Cardamine pratensis

Lady’s Smock is a very pretty, delicate meadow flower, also known as the cuckooflower as it blossoms in April and May, at about the same time that cuckoos are heard.  It has a special place in my heart as it was the first flower to blossom after we moved into our present house, 10 years …

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Lady’s Smock

Honeysuckle – Lonicera periclymenum

The gorgeous scent of this plant is stronger in the evening than during the day and it is said that moths can smell it from a quarter of a mile away.  Its flowers are edible and absolutely delicious – great thrown into salads or used to decorate deserts.  They also contain salicylic acid which is …

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Hawthorn – Crataegus monogyna

Your grandparents may have eaten the leaves of the young hawthorn.  They were so filling that they were commonly known as ‘bread and cheese’.  These leaves have the extra advantage of lowering cholesterol. They can also be added to salads or used in sandwiches.  Be aware that the young, fresh leaves are the tastiest!  Try adding them to …

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