May Wild Year Calendar

May Wild Year Calendar

It’s hard to imagine that May is nearly half way through the year, but as the days grow longer and the heat begins to spread across the land we know that summer is on its way! There’s only one word for the hedgerows, pastures and woodlands at this time of year and it’s ‘bonkers’!!! The forager’s larder is bulging and the meadows are packed with early summer flowers (see our DIY recipe for Self Heal & Plantain salve).

This month’s celebration, ‘May Day’ is uber traditional and steeped in history. There’s nothing more beautiful than a maypole with ribbons fluttering and nothing more fun than the loud cries of morris dancers clacking their batons (oooh er)…The origin of May Day apparently lies in the Roman festival of ‘Flora’, the goddess of fruit and flowers, who signifies the beginning of summer.

Our easily identifiable wild edible plants in May are: common sorrel – common chickweed – beech leaves – wild garlic – garlic mustard – stinging nettles – sweet violets – hairy bittercress – hawthorne leaves – spearmint – fat hen – sea beet – lime leaf.

Our May flower is Self Heal.  On close inspection she’s an unusual looking flower but greatly adored by bees and wasps for her nectar, and she’s long been respected for her medicine. John Gerard, a 16th century herbalist once said that ‘there is not a better wounde herbe in the world’. And a century later, the botanist Nicholas Culpeper wrote that selfheal gained her name because ‘when you are hurt, you may heal yourself’.

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