Welcome to Holt Wood Herbs News, our occasional newsletter round-up on Holt Wood and the Medicinal Forest Garden Trust

Medicinal Herbs in Historical Practice – Thursday 6th June 2019

Medicinal Herbs in Historical Practice course – and our copper still – at Holt Wood Herbs

An exciting new day course is planned at Holt Wood where you can learn about medicinal herbs in historical practice. From medieval folklore to seventeenth-century recipes – join us on this one-day course to explore the plants of field, hedgerow and woodland which our ancestors may have used to treat wounds and disease. During this day we will discuss historical views of health and illness, see a variety of medicinal plants growing wild and in cultivation, and hear about their use in folklore and historical recipes. You will also see how to make a variety of traditional preparations such as poultices and distilled waters. Cost is £68 inclusive of refreshments, and you can book online.

Medicinal Forest Garden Trust at ORFC

We took information about the Medicinal Forest Garden Trust and Holt Wood Herbs fundraising products along to the Oxford Real Farming Conference in early January 2019. This is a yearly event which started as a side show to the farmers conference held in Oxford, and has now become a significant coming together of people involved in progressive agriculture based on ethical production, sustainability and care for the environment. A fantastic range of topics covered in the sessions including one on developing herb cultivation.

New Organic Herb Growers Co-op!

Following the session about UK herb cultivation at the Organic Real Farming Conference in 2018, there have been several meetings of growers and others keen to form a network and support in response to rising demand. The Organic Herb Growers Co-op has recently been formed for this purpose, and was announced at ORFC 2019, and further details are soon to be available.

Holt Wood Herbs

We had a welcome visitor from Germany as a WWOOFer in November and made good progress on a project widening/clearing paths and clearing/mulching around trees. Willing Workers On Organic Farms can provide a great way to gain experience of many types of growing. We tend to offer just a week placement at a time due to our other commitments!

Mulching happy fruit trees from the Agroforestry Research Trust

Mad about seeds!!

Kay has been cleverly working out how to photograph seeds close up. These amazing packets of genetic code are delightfully different, varying in shape and surface. Here is the seed of mullein (Verbascum thapsus), prolifically borne and one to try for some rosettes of leaves as ground cover at Holt Wood.

Mullein (Verbascum thapsus) seeds
Rosette of Mullein leaves

Forde Abbey and Buckfast Abbey Fairs in 2019

This year we will be at the Plant and Garden Fair at Forde Abbey on Sunday 3rd March 2019, from 10-4. This is a very popular outdoor event with a range of stalls offering plants and other sundries. Reduced entry is £3 and parking is free. There is a tearoom and the garden will be at the beginning of their Crocus Week.

We will be back at Buckfast Abbey on Saturday 1st June 2019 – lots of brilliant stalls (including ours!) were there last year for the Millennium Fete, ranging from organic vegetable plants to  fabulous talks (including one by Anne on herbal medicines in the garden). Worth a visit, free entry to the gardens including a superb lavender garden, and they do guided tours which can be booked.

Future events

Sat 13 April 2019 is our next working day, a chance to get involved in caring for Holt Wood, come and help clear paths and rides, or just help make tea. Must be booked in advance, email us at info@holtwoodherbs.com. See our calendar of events in 2019.

Exciting book prospects

Finally, you may know that Anne has been collecting material for a book on medicinal trees and shrubs. She is delighted that it will be published with Permanent Publications early in 2020. The Medicinal Forest Garden Handbook will be aimed at providing key information about a wide range of trees, shrubs and other plants suitable for a temperate climate. There will be chapters on designing and establishing a medicinal forest garden project as well as details of cultivation and harvesting of key trees and shrubs. Can’t wait – sign up for the newsletter at Permaculture Publications to hear about a range of other permaculture-style books.

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