April – May in the orchards

A short summary of what the River of Herbs volunteers are doing at the moment in the Orchards behind Huize Frankendael / Restaurant Merkelbach, on Monday mornings:

The plants are growing incredibly well and spring has certainly sprung!

Daslook – Wild garlic – Allium ursinum, is being removed from the paths and from directly around some of the special herbs in the beds. Here, it was clogging up one of the Acanthus plants, so that one now has more space to grow.

And here is was clogging up the pretty Pulmonaria – Lungwort. So that also has some breathing space again.

Pulmonaria officinalis

If you come to pluck Daslook from the orchards, you can help by taking individual leaves or flower/seed spikes from close to the edge of the paths. This helps to stop the Daslook spreading seed all over the paths.

Daslook spreading into a path

We took a lot of weeded-out Daslook home today ave I made a tasty batch of Daslook & walnut pesto.

Daslook Allium ursinum pesto

Labels – We have been adding small name boards on metal spikes, at strategic points around the orchards. They show the scientific binomials, Dutch and English names of the plants. Not all of the plants are labelled as it would look too busy but you can find your way around more easily and build your local plant knowledge by reading the boards.

Esdoorn – Sycamore seedlings – These spring up all over the place at the moment and would become a Sycamore tree forest, if we didn’t take action. Whilst we are working in the gardens or visiting to forage herbs, we pull up any sycamore seedlings that we see. They are quite easy to spot at the moment. If in doubt, we leave the seedlings in place.

New plants
Allium triquetrum – Three cornered garlic – Driekantig look. This is a spreading Allium which was donated by a volunteer. We are looking forward to the taste of this plant next year. It has been added to the Mint triangle.

We also asked Chris, the head gardener of Park Frankendael for a cutting of Guelderseroos – Cramp bark – Viburnum opulus. He generously helped and we are now nurturing a cutting in the Mushroom orchard, just inside the gate, near the Wormwood plants and the hedgehog stick-pile.

A fine onion- garlic taste
Planting Allium triquetrum

Herb spiral – We are working on a rustic herb spiral, in the nettle orchard. We plan to complete this project before the summer and need to:

  • Level the ground
  • Place slabs on the base
  • Build up the soil and stones in a spiral fashion
  • Plant with interesting herbs

Moving and placing the base slabs will take some strength so if you are willing and able, let us know!

Barefoot path – It’s time for us to tidy the edges and refill this steps! If you have any pinecones hanging around, feel free to drop them off at the barefoot path, in the Geranium orchard, or at one of the orchard gates. We will use other materials to full the steps. Previously they have been filled with chamomile plants, sand and other interesting materials.

Membership – We are hugely grateful to everyone who has joined our new membership scheme. After only two days, we have seven paying members and have raised enough funds to buy a new spade and other essential tools! We are looking forward to the first members only event! For information about how to become a Member and supporter of the River of Herbs, please see this page.

Volunteers welcome – We are a friendly group of Dutch and international gardeners. We meet at the orchards, behind Resataurant Merkelbach (Middenweg 72, Amsterdam), on Monday mornings (11am is a good time to find us) and we work with permaculture principles. If you would like to join us or find out more, please come along one Monday morning or email riverofherbs@gmail.com

Author: Lynn


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