RoH membership

River of Herbs is about creating and maintaining green urban spaces for the benefit of people, plants and wildlife. We garden in a way that hugely minimises costs but maximises benefits for the people and other creatures who enjoy and use the spaces. RoH was established and registered in 2012 as a way to bring free food and the ability to learn about herbs to whoever needs to learn. Our main focus since 2014 has been managing the Frankendael Orchards as a nature-centred permaculture foraging garden.

River of Herbs Orchards in Spring

Why membership?
We are a very resourceful group of volunteers from all around the globe. Throughout the year, we gather weekly in Park Frankendael to manage the public space. We use our own tools, make tea and snacks from the plants we weed out. We share, borrow, and sometimes even make our own tools, but there are some costs involved in keeping the River of Herbs spaces looking so beautiful.

Funds are needed for the occasional replacement of tools and the purchase of special plants or other specific materials. An example: we have begun labelling the edible and medicinal herbs in the Orchards. In this way, visitors gain more from their visits. We have chosen a low cost and pretty stylish option but we are paying for the labels from our own pockets. Another example: we are building a beautiful herb spiral and need to transport the necessary stones across town. Such actions cost money, and as much as we do this for love and from a belief that this is the right thing to do, we have decided that it is time to ask for your help.

A place to rest – Bench crafted by a RoH volunteer, from a tree that fell next to the orchards.

Affordable Membership
To help us move onward and have a greater impact, we have decided to open up membership to the River of Herbs. We aim to generate a regular trickle of income for the group’s activities.

Annual River of Herbs Membership costs just €5 and all funds go to running the River of Herbs Orchards in Park Frankendael. And, when funds permit, other similar spaces will be established and run by the River of Herbs group.

Wormwood – New plants to learn from -Planted in 2020

Where are the River of Herbs Orchards?
If you don’t yet know the River of Herbs Orchards, they are a wildlife haven and foraging mecca for ecologically-minded city people, in Amsterdam Oost. Situated behind Huize Frankendael and Restaurant Merkelbach, near the main old entrance of the park. The orchards are open to the public 24/7 and are a part of the park. They are neatly hedged and have wooden gates so that dogs do not enter. Mentioned in articles and interviews as the secret gardens of Amsterdam East, many foragers from Amsterdam and far afield visit to harvest and learn about local plants in a quiet, friendly space.


Member Benefits

  • Exclusive Events
  • Quarterly Newsletter
  • Consultation about New Project Ideas

We will add more incentives as time goes on but from the start:
As an RoH member, you will be invited each year to sign up for exclusive events, such as an Orchard tour, to learn the secrets and tastes of the gardens.

Additionally, you will be kept informed of new developments, via a quarterly newsletter. So you will be kept up to date on what is happening in the Orchards and other River of Herbs projects. As a RoH member, you will also be consulted about potential projects for River of Herbs to get involved with.

What else can we offer you as a thank you for supporting the project financially? Please let us know what you would value, as we are new to this and really want our supporters to feel appreciated as part of the project. Please email riverofherbs@gmail.com with your ideas.

Join Us Now
To become a member of the River of Herbs, please complete this short form and transfer your payment via Bank transfer (NL67 ABNA 0469 1075 53 – LM SHORE). Membership costs €5 per year (1 year membership, starting on the date you make your payment). You are very welcome to gift more to the project if you would like to or to gift membership to a friend. Please mention this on the form, if so.

The information which you complete on the form will be connected with your payment, when it is received. We will not share it with anyone else or any other party. We will send you a “River of Herbs: Thank you and Welcome!” email when we process your payment. Please allow 7 days for this process to happen. If you don’t hear from us by then, please email riverofherbs@gmail.com or call Lynn on 0627596930.

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Happy Birthday Park Frankendael!

It was very exciting to be part of the beautiful celebration for Park Frankendael’s Jubilee. The park has been in existence for 30 years and in spite of COVID-19, there was a lovely socially distanced celebration, organised by the Friends of Frankendael. To mark this occasion a special jubilee magazine was created by the Friends and Lynn was interviewed about the River of Herbs Orchards. The River of Herbs project is featured in the lead Edible Park article, of the magazine along with the top restaurants and school gardens which we share the park with. The article is in Dutch, naturally, and features Lynn’s recipe for magic gin, using the flowers of the invasive week Himalayan Balsam. Let us know if you try it!

The magazine is well worth a read and can be purchased locally or directly from the Friends of Frankendael association (Vreinden van Frankendael).


More orchard videos

Have been removing creeping grass from the Geranium Orchard today. Nice to have a couple of visitors and enough green space so we could each forage or work in seperate orchards!
The Geranium Orchard today. Before the grass came out.
Grape hyacinth and Lungwort in flower.
Fairy Orchard – Looking for Sweet Cicely amongst the Wild garlic. Third time lucky in this clip. Sweet Cicely smells and tastes of aniseed. It also has soft delicate leaves.

Spring time

I’ve been spending a lot more time than usual in the River of Herbs Orchards – have been squeezing in some weeding and fresh air time between online teaching for my school. The regular RoH team have been doing beautiful things there as you’ll see. The woodchip paths were refreshed over the past couple of weeks and the nettle orchard has a new path and the beginnings of a herb spiral.

Here are a few photos and  video clips to share the green urban vibe.

New path and the beginnings of a herb spiral in the Nettle Orchard

Zen hedge trimming

Tomorrow morning in the Park Frankendael Orchards from about 9.30am, we’ll be continuing hand-pruning the massive hedges that wrap around the herb gardens. It seems to be off the Donkergroen work list and off the gemente/council list but they desperately need cutting.. and we don’t want them hacked into oblivion so last week we began plodding around them and will do this week by week, pruning the lot by hand.

Fancy helping for half an hour or so? Then join us in the morning, please bring along a pair of secateurs and a zen mentality 🙂 It’s certainly not a difficult job but it’s a big job!
It’s behind Huize Frankendael (restaurant Merkelbach). Call Lynn on 0627596930 if you’re not sure. But she’ll be communing with the hedges through the morning so won’t be checking messages much.

Join the team!

lungwort.jpg

We are urgently looking for volunteers to join the River of Herbs orchards team – would you like to join us?

Because our numbers have dropped recently due to changes in volunteer work days, we now have a tiny team and we need to expand!

Could you spare a couple of hours a week to help with light gardening with this friendly group?

We work organically, along Permaculture principles and in harmony with the local ecology and landuse partners

The orchards house old fruit trees and were set up as ethical foraging gardens in 2014 by Lynn and a fabulous team of enthusiastic nature lovers.

The four orchards are full of beautiful edible herbs, mushrooms, fruit trees and bushes and countless wildlife.

We like to experiment with interesting plants, share food from our foraged harvest and generally have a good time together.

Regular gardening restarts on

Monday 4th March,

10.00am.

If you need more information please email

Spring Planning Meeting

The days are getting longer. Before we know it, the world will be covered in a verdant carpet, spring flowers and buzzing friends will be everywhere!

It’s time to meet up and plan. To consider what we want to accomplish in the orchards and city this coming season.

On Sunday 10th February, we plan to meet at the Gardening Library in Transvaalbuurt. Time of gathering to be confirmed. 12.00 – 13.30

I’d love to see you there, if you want to get involved in any way with the River of Herbs project.

Seedbombs

Today we had mucky fun making seedbombs under the old cherry tree in the Park Frankendael orchards. We used our hands to mix gracefully aging seeds (collected, purchased and gifted over recent years) with terracotta clay powder, soil and just enough water. When the consistency felt right, we squeezed the mixture into small balls, just the right size to fit into egg cartons. When we ran out of egg cartons, we wrapped the rest of the seedbombs in newspaper strips.

These beautiful balls of latent life and colour are now drying out on my roof terrace. Once they have dried sufficiently, we will store them in our homes and then carry a few around, ready to launch into needy spaces at opportune moments. The intention is to launch them all by the end of October, spreading thousands of herb and flower seeds around the city, in pleasing spheres of goodness.

If you would like to make seeds bombs with us, feel free to come along to the orchards next Wednesday morning at about 11am. (Call me on 0627596930, if you want to join as the plan has changed, sorry for the late notice). If possible, bring along an empty egg carton and leave your best clothes at home.

If you know somewhere that could use some seed bomb enrichment, do let us know in the comments below. We will try to walk by and launch some love and seeds onto the location.

NL doet Compost heap building!

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I have organised another NL doet event this year, because the orchards needs a smart new compost heap and we need some help to make this happen.  Would you like to help?

10.00 – 11.30

Saturday 8th March 2018

River of Herbs orchards, behind Huise Frankendael, Park Frankendael.

We don’t add any food waste to our compost heap, simply green waste from cutting back the perennial herbs which grow in the orchards. Most often, our green waste is laid as a mulch beneath the growing plants but sometimes there is just too much to handle so we need a place to keep it tidy. Over time, the collected green waste rots down and makes great quality organic compost which we then use to enrich areas of the orchards soil.

A few years ago, the green team at Elsevier joined us for a morning and helped us to willow weave Continue reading “NL doet Compost heap building!”

Benefits of urban herb gardens

Whilst studying for her MSc in Spacial Planning at Wageningen University, Ioana-Cristina Musat became the first university intern at River of Herbs in Amsterdam.  It was an absolute pleasure to work with Ioana and the Spacial planning department at Wageningen.  As well as her full report, Ioana kindly created the following summary which outlines the main ideas and concepts resulting from her research. We hope that you find it inspiring and useful – we certainly have!

River of Herbs always welcomes enquiries from well motivated students who have ideas for internships or other forms of collaboration. Please contact Lynn at riverofherbs@gmail.com with ideas.  Continue reading “Benefits of urban herb gardens”