It may be mid-winter here at Wychmoss. with cold, crisp frosty days the norm, but Coltsfoot buds are appearing in warmer, sheltered spots on the edge of my woodland to cheer the heart and soothe the throat! Coltsfoot is one of my all-time favourite herbs for sore throats although my son tells me it makes a good tobacco replacement now he’s trying to give up… again!
My humble polythene and scrap wood greenhouse, although rather ravaged by the Scottish hurricane, is managing to keep above 0 degrees C most days and the Chamomile bed I propagated from the mother plant in November is settling in. I also have a propagation beds of Scullcap Scutellaria laterifolia, Ashwaganda Withania somnifera and Coltsfoot Tussilago farfara and seed flats of Echinacea Echinacea purpurea, Meadowsweet Filipendula ulmaria and Evening Primrose Oenothera biennis.
The Meadowsweet I will transplant into the woodland garden I am making along the stream. Last year, I planted it with Wild Garlic Allium ursinum, Skunk Cabbage Symplocarpus foetidus, Blue Flag Iris versicolor, Singer’s Root Acorus calamus, Marsh Marigold Caltha palustris, and also transplanted some Wood Anemone Anemone nemorosa and Lesser Celandine Ranunculus ficaria.
In the clearing below went Starflower Borago officinalis, Primrose Primula vulgaris and Cowslip Primula veris which I am hoping will reappear this Spring. In the lower stream, near the Witch Hazel Hamamelis virginiana sapling, I planted a bed of Watercress Nasturtium officinale which is still perfectly edible despite the frosts and trying to get out of the stream with vigour and abundance!
I’ve noticed the buds of the Horse Chestnut Aesculus hippocastanum are already sticky – a promise of leaves to come – although, alas we lost two large Horse Chestnuts to the hurricane. During the last few years they have both yielded excellent crops of Oyster Mushrooms Pleurotus ostreatus so I guess their time had come.
The weekend’s project is to start planting a new traditional hedge from bare root stock. The plan is a mixture of Beech Fagus sylvatica, Hawthorn Crataegus monogyna, Guelder Rose (aka Cramp Bark) Viburnum opulus mixed through with Dog Rose Rosa canina, Honeysuckle Lonicera japonica and Woodbine Lonicera periclymenum.