lovage leaf, branch, sprig, like a tree unto itself

smell of celery and spice
huge bush
use a little not a lot

Hildegard of Bingen in the 12th Century said: eaten raw, it breaks down a person’s nature and makes it worse
also for a chest cough soak it in wine with sage and fennel, strain, and serve it warm
also for a horse’s cough


A few days ago rain set in, welcome rain, but too wet to go to the allotment. I began drawing my tools. Made me remember Jim Dine and his drawings of scissors and hammers. Hammers next. Years ago I made papier mache models of my spade and fork and axe. I have them still.


Two Mints on my allotment presently. How many mints are there? 7,500. Yes. The Mint Family Lamiaceae includes mints, sage, lavender, basil, thymes. Mints alone have 600 varieties including peppermint, spearmint, chocolate, orange, apple, liquorice, ginger etc.

Mint the herb of hospitality. Makes a good tea. Peppermint is good for the digestion. And anti-inflammatory for the lungs. Topical.

And the wonderful smell. Mint sauce. Mint on potatoes.


Fifteen allotment food parcels delivered so far and more to go. Amazing how much harvest can come off the allotment in March and April, traditionally the hungry gap.

Nothing in the parcels has been planted this year, that is all to come, seeds are in and beginning to emerge. All the harvest is from perennial herbs, or spinach and chard and kale that I have left to overwinter and has continued to produce new leaves. And of course the rhubarb comes up year on year.

More perennial plants will be needed as the climate changes, plants that work together with other plants in layers, forest gardens that look after themselves and give a continuing crop.

I saw my first two ladybirds today. And a Small Blue butterfly, and a Brimstone.


Yesterday I harvested nettle tops from behind the allotment shop with scissors and gloves.  First ones had greenfly on so had to go further up and luckily the fly had not spread that far.  Collected a carrier bag full and took them home to make soup.

My Culpeper herbal says nettles are dominated by Mars which means they are hot and dry.  As Winter is cold and moist, eating nettles in Spring will ‘consume the flegmatic superfluities in the body of man’ (and I hope woman too).  He continues to say that they ‘open up the pipes and passages of the lungs which is the cause of wheezing and shortness of breath, and helpeth to expectorate tough flegm, as also to raise the imposthumed pleurisy, and spend it by spitting.’  Hildegard agrees nettles are warming and that they purge and remove mucus from the stomach, and are good for a coughing horse.

Sounds like we should all be eating nettles during this pandemic.