On this introductory day, you will have the opportunity to learn about types of bees and how they live and bee friendly flowers. You will see different types of beehives and their component parts and discuss where you can (and can’t) keep bees. There will be an introduction to honey bee management and the beekeeping year, including the issues of swarming, pests and diseases as well as the honey crop and other hive products. Also discussed will be the cost and time commitments as well as the risks and responsibilities to keeping bees, to enable you to make an informed decision as to whether this is a craft you wish to pursue. This day will not include visits to live bees, but will be supported by extensive pictorial material.Find out more Book now
The origins of the herbaceous border lie in growing herbs for home remedies in the past. Led by a medical herbalist, the course offers guidance on the most safe and useful herbs to grow and how to harvest and use or preserve them. A practical day ensures careful identification instruction on the individual herbs and experience in making a footbath, herbal honey syrups, herbal teas, an infused oil, a herb pillow and more.
Applications for bites and stings, bruises and irritated skin are taken from a selection of historical and modern recipes covering everyday problems from sore throats to diarrhoea. This will be a day illustrating effective traditional use of herbs. Some herbs featured: marshmallow, fennel, elder, chamomile, lemon balm, thyme, sage, pot marigold, chickweed, houseleek, ribwort plantain, lavender…
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Arabia supplied the precious spices and aromatic gums used in western medicine. However the Arabic influence on medical training and in particular the practice of the apothecary, was so much greater than sourcing drugs. We will be looking at contacts with the East from the pilgrimage of Alfred the Great to Jerusalem and his prescription from the Patriarch there, to the travels and translations of Arabic texts by Adelard of Bath. The fusion of Arabic, Greek and Roman medicine at the teaching hospital in Salerno where returning Crusaders were treated, ensured the use of ingredients, such as tamarind and liquorice, in the west. A day for the art of the apothecary to come to the fore with the works of Avicenna, Mesue and Rhazes giving us exciting recipes to make.
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A day to make real contact with the value of our native environment, looking at those plants available to our ancestors before the Romans came. Life in a Celtic round house has left only archaeology to enlighten us but we will be using the oldest surviving source of Celtic medicinal recipes from the Book of Howel the Physician. In gathering herbs and preparing salves, poultices and herb drinks we can explore the vital importance of native herbs in diet, medicine, dyes and other crafts. Betony, vervain, woad, mistletoe, yarrow, elder, hawthorn, nettle and chickweed are a sample of the herbs you will meet on the day in their widest uses.Find out more Book now
Using simple natural ingredients, learn how to make cosmetics including the tutor’s award-winning honey soap, beeswax moisture cream and a healing ointment. You will go home with recipe sheets and the products you have made.Find out more Book now
In this day we will explore the following topics: how our nerves and hormones function, understanding insomnia, anxiety, fatigue and headaches, plant actions, identifying the bean family food and herb knowhow kit and make remedies including an essential oils bath and pillow tinctureFind out more Book now
As far back as the Roman occupation of Britain we have evidence of writing with ink. From archaeological finds on the Roman Wall at Vindolanda come 50 substantial texts and an inventory of writing tablets that runs to around 1000. Ink recipes since have certainly been imaginative. Today we will be working to explore the amazing genius that has produced not only different coloured inks, but ink that does not freeze (add brandy), discourages mice from eating documents, (add wormwood), is self-destructive after a set time, is invisible without the application of another substance, is protected from going mouldy (add oil of cloves), is carried around in a powdered form to be made up as required, or even issues forth from an ink stand when water is poured into it.
Ingredients include juice of elderberries, wild privet berries, and sloe, logwood, brazilwood, oak galls, Persian berries and gum Arabic. A fun day to make the recipes for yellow, red, purple, black, green and blue inks and practise writing with them if wished.Find out more Book now
Over the past 20 years we have explored the many uses of herbs from the past Millennium using authentic recipes from each period. We have also examined our own native herbs and noted the benefits of plants introduced during the Roman occupation, from Arabic Medicine through the Crusades and those discovered by Settlers in America. Along the way through 48 different workshops we have made cookery, medicinal, cosmetic and craft recipes and projects. Recipes have played their part alongside herb cultivation and plant family recognition which has included trees.
This workshop is a celebration of those herbs which have dominated the scene throughout or remained steadfast in their main use for the past 2,000 years. As we look at why they have been so successful, we will be making a variety of recipes which will also recall workshops from the past. If requests are made before April 2019 [to my email], your favourite may be included. No doubt there will be some from the three most successful which ran for over 10 years. Likely herbs are rose, rosemary, elder, pot marigold, lavender, St John’s wort, marshmallow and mullein.Find out more Book now
The rebellion of Paracelsus, a Swiss physician, surgeon and alchemist against the orthodox medicine of the time in 1527, laid open the way for modern chemical medicine to develop. He burned Avicenna’s great Canon of Medicine based on Galen’s teachings in a bid to found his own new system. He supported giving small doses of poisons in order to cure and wrote the first treatise on industrial disease. We follow the theory of his hermetic-spagyric methods of extracting constituents from the whole herb and then re-combining the extractions for a ‘wholistic’ medicine. These methods are found also in the ancient cultures of China and India and from western history in Ancient Egypt.
As modern science gives us a deeper understanding of the relationships between plants and their environment, we look at the three principles making up each plant which correspond to the alchemical terms mercury, sulphur and salt. The day is not one of complex chemistry but of herbs being presented in an entirely new way. It will be an exploration of natural history and the craft of herbalism which also involves combining herbs for greater effect.
Rosemary, hyssop, oregano, motherwort, white dead nettle, marshmallow and burdock are some of the herbs in plant alchemy. We will look at the preparation of aromatic waters, essences, tinctures and elixirs.Find out more Book now
Keeping a diary of what flourishes in your garden and when is a useful pastime which has been popular for centuries. It is a particularly relevant activity as we experience the effects of climate change to record which plants suffer most from the extremes of temperature and moisture levels and which survive well. Additionally to make a note of actions taken to help them and how effective these are. A historical introduction ranges from early plant lists to diaries of ladies referring to their gardens and stillrooms. Gilbert Whites’ diary adds comments on wildlife and climate.
The historical introduction leads into guidance on making a vibrant personal record using pressed specimens, photography, sketches and notes. These can then be related to the environment in terms of soil, climate, moon phases etc. The inter-relationships of birds, insects and animals with the plants will be brought into focus as we turn the pages. Recording and encouraging butterflies in the garden is one aspect of ecological importance. These records as a whole add new interest and understanding of the ecology of the garden, not forgetting some companion planting for best results.Find out more Book now