Viriditas in August con’t

It is August 20th, 2018

I am so grateful for all the Blogs I wrote, they are reminders of the perceiving and deepening reflections I have had over the last few years. Some re-appeared in The Biophilic Garden Connecting People, Plants and Inscape, a book published by ‘Viriditas’ last year, but on a re-read there is more, so much more. (The Biophilic Garden is available through my website

I realise that we perceive the world differently each year because we are different, so in a way I don’t want to read what I wrote last year or the year before but focus on what is happening today this moment this time, what I see NOW.

Today a quiet rain falls, it has a gentling energy on me and encourages me to re-visit a part of this land I seldom visit but wrote about it in ‘The Biophilic Garden’.

It is a rock garden, steep, south facing, even a little scary. I look into an abyss of rocks and Kanuka with an understory wild Comprosmas and Rosehips. There is so much more when we look more deeply into the Lichens but more amazingly how the wild nettles Urtica urens is finding its place on this land.

This post I am going to discuss the greens we find in winter.


This winter in Central Otago, while it has been cold and there have been a number of ‘inversion layer’ days, there hasn’t been the days of extreme hoar frost I experienced in my first winter here. Those frosts can be so damaging.  Greens, such as Rocket (Eruca sativa), Miners lettuce, (Claytonia perfoliata ), Chickweed (Stellaria media), Italian parsley (Petroselinum crispum ??? ssp?), French sorrel (likely Rumex acetosa), Puha – Sow thistles, (Sonchus oleracea), Land cress (Barbarea verna) and even Coriander (Coriandrum sativum)  have survived well. Sheeps Sorrel (Rumex acetosella) and Shepherd’s purse (Capsella bursa –pastoris ), the latter in its early growth, can also be found.



In the vegetable garden, the cabbage tree Kale (Cavalo nero) is spectacular and the Silver beet – OK. I planted Spinach in the tunnel house and Sprouting Broccoli both in that and outside. The spinach is great, the Sprouting Broccoli, yet to sprout. I also tried a few Brussel Sprouts and while they are dwarf variety I have had a few meals.

The local Thyme, Sage and Rosemary add to this range to prepare a fine ‘Winter Green Pesto’. I don’t use Yarrow (Achillea millefolium) much in food but a couple of leaves are included here.

The Winter Green Pesto…

One small bunch each of  Puha leaves (Sonchus oleracea), Dandelion leaves (Taraxacum officinalis), Rocket leaves (Eruca sativa) and  Italian parsley (Petroselinum crispum).

For the following, the important thing is to use a few sprigs or leaves of each.

  • 2 Yarrow leaves (Achillea millefolium)
  • A few Shepherd’s Purse leaves (Capsella bursa pastoris)
  • A few leaves of Sheeps Sorrel (Rumex acetosella) or French Sorrel (Rumex acetosa)
  • A small bunch of Chickweed (Stellaria media)
  • A couple of Silver beet or Kale leaves
  • A small amount of Thyme (Thymus vulgaris), Rosemary (Rosemarinus off.) and Sage (Salvia off).
  • 1 clove of garlic.

To this I added approx ¼ cup each of organic apple cider vinegar and extra virgin olive oil and ½ cup lightly roasted sunflower seeds a little salt and pepper. Then process to a paste.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe above list can be added to or some of it can be left out. If you include another plant, taste it first. Start with a small amount.

This is a great addition to pasta dishes, to spreads, to crackers and cheese. No matter what I include I am always amazed at how it turns out.

The whole is not only more than the sum of its parts but each part (i.e. each taste) IS the whole”.

So I guess this is a holographic effect applied to taste.

It takes a long time to get to ‘know’ each of the above plants well. That is the focus of ‘The Traditions, Art and Science of Herbal Medicine’ course starting October. There are a couple of spaces left for this 6 month, one weekend a month course. For more info go to  and courses.

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