seedlings and self-portraits: Plant & Artistic Updates

seedlings and self-portraits: Plant & Artistic Updates

First Foraging Foray!

Well, technically. I sort of foraged with two friends a few months back but it was less about foraging and more about learning/experiencing the woods that day. But today, thanks to my city’s lovely parks program putting together guided walks with an herbalist, I did my first foraging and flower-eating!

Well, okay, I’ve eaten flowers before. But not flowers I’d picked myself.

So today I learned about:

  • motherwort
  • stinging nettle
  • wineberry
  • garlic mustard (*see my upcoming post on invasive species!*)
  • knotweed (my friend actually taught me about this on aforementioned woods trip prior)
  • bittercress
  • dandelion (the same friend has also taught me some tricks with dandelions)
  • violet
  • plantain (not the plantain you’re thinking of)

I really enjoyed the taste of bittercress; I had to stop myself from eating a piece that I’d picked to press in order to remember it’s shape (I ended up losing the piece along the journey home, ugh). Violet flowers also tasted alright. Motherwort was bitter but not so bitter that I was unhappy, and I was told it’s good for cardiovascular support and it’s a nervine.

I think my biggest excitement is stinging nettle. Apparently there are histamines that give you the “stinging” reaction if you handle stinging nettle for too long or without being gentle – and it turns out the stinging can be medicinal! It can promote circulation which, if you have a sac of fluid in your knee six years post-op and numbness, which I do, is nice to know because it can help reduce my swelling! I was quite literally told that I could tap myself in the knee with the leaves and let it sting me. I’m looking forward to this.

And as someone who wants to forage responsibly and for others to do the same, here’s a tip I learned: When plucking nettle, [gently] pluck just above the next leaf layer the same way you would pick basil to make it bushier.

Now, I don’t feel even remotely experienced enough yet to share much about these plants; rather I just want to share my excitement that these things grow in my very own local park! Where there are no pesticides sprayed! And where I may or may not know spots where people don’t walk their dogs where plants are pee-free…

I will share what I made with what I foraged today, though!

I saved two entire plants of garlic mustard in airtight jars to cook with. Jars were like $2 in the Target cheapo section!
motherwort tincture
Stinging nettle tea – I was told to let this steep overnight and that the tea is so minerally it can taste salty, like broth – and I LOVE salty. I think I’m falling in love with stinging nettle!

New Planties: Crispy Wave Fern, Willow (yes, a whole-ass tree), Zinnia, another Friendship Plant

Seedlings! Both Indoor & Outdoor

Here I have a couple of pollinator see packs. The tiny one is a strawberry plant, and that will be staying inside simply because I don’t have any outdoor space where I teenie weenie pot like that would stay safe. The other two are sunflowers and daisies; I actually have some other sunflower seeds that are going directly in the ground outside tomorrow!

As for these two medium-sized seed potting kits, there’s also not anywhere outside I’d feel super safe keeping them – except for doing exactly what I plan to do, which is creating a way for these little dudes to hang from our big strong maple out front. I’m hoping to make some hemp string hangers for them!

I’m not into bombing – unless it’s seed bombing. These little seed bombs (clay + compost/dirt + local native plant seeds + water) starting to actually sprout while still in the container!

Making them was a blast, and throwing them about has been a blast as well. Hopefully I’m blessed with a beautiful alleyway full of wildflowers this season.

Last but not least for the seedlings – some basil seeds have been laid beneath their elder basil brother!

No sprouts yet, but peep my new yoga gnome thanks to my absolute favorite Pittsburgh nursery (Cavacini’s) – who sort of offered me a part-time position, by the way.

The folk at the counter overheard me talking plants to my family and said “ah you brought your own plant lady!” And later they said “I’m so glad you’re gnome people.” I’m very into gnomes and so is my dad, honestly.

An Artistic Endeavor

This isn’t the artistic endeavor I came here to talk about, but: if I made tee shirts that said “I’m just foraging” or something for people to wear like at the park or something… I don’t know. That’s just in my head.

Anyway – a while ago I started working on a self-portrait based on one of my favorite photos of myself. I didn’t finish it but I’ve decided to scale up and do a canvas painting alla the Andy Warhol fingerpaint of late. I’m feeling the Sunday depressies today (even though it’s Saturday) but I hope my energy’ll be up later and I’ll work on it.

A Curly Girl Success Story

I wanted to be sure to drop this here because (a) I want to be able to replicate it and (b) it took me F O R E V E R to find something that worked to return my hair to how I remember it being at it’s healthiest, so maybe this could work for you if you’re struggling to find a routine for your curls!

So, the morning curl post-cowash* refresh:

  • Filtered water spray soak – like, I got it basically dripping with a spray bottle full of Brita water
  • Mielle Hawaiin Ginger organic leave-in conditioner squished in, up to the roots
  • Denman brush – first just a regular brushing, then brushing from under the roots for volume
  • Let air dry in the warm weather!

*I had cowashed the day before; this routing was done on none-shampooed, non-apple-cider-vinegared, dry hair.

I’ve been using SheaMoisture intensive hydration conditioner with manuka honey and mafura oil to cowash lately. Occassionally when my hair is super dry I use I AM hydration elation instead. I have not shampooed in weeks, I use a 1:3-ish ratio of apple cider vinegar to filtered water to wash/clarify. My hair is also cut into relatively short layers.


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