Elder – medicine chest of the people

Elder, Sambucus nigra is flowering now, although it is not common north of the Volcanic Plateau in New Zealand.  But it is very common south of the Plateau and in the South Island.  I wanted an elder bush because all parts of it are so healing.   When I saw plants in Northland, I took cuttings […] Read more

Working Holiday on Aotea (Great Barrier)

Every year the Great Barrier Island Community Art Gallery runs a winter lecture series.  I had the good fortune to be invited to run workshops last year and again this year September 2nd and 3rd.  I love going to Aotea (Great Barrier). I flew directly from Tauranga with Sunair, known for tiny planes and changing […] Read more

Starting a new garden

 I’m into my fifth week at my new home in Greerton.  I moved July 20th and it is starting to feel more familiar. It does take a while to transition from one place to another.  I do miss the farm hugely.  Luckily this section is large at 840 Square metres, sunny, north facing and flat. […] Read more

How Healthy is our Environment? Winter Musings

I recently attended a Tree Croppers field trip to Puketoki Reserve on Whakamarama Road, Bay of Plenty.  We were treated to a wonderful talk by Colin Hewens who is the spokesman for the team of volunteers who have done an epic job of controlling the rats, stoats and possoms.  We were then further treated to […] Read more


Cudweed – Gamochaeta coarctata (formaly Gamochaetata spicata) I’ve seen and known about Cudweed in my foraging for some time, but this is the first time I’ve ever written about it.  Cudweed’s unusual feature is the dual colour of the leaves which are bright green and smooth on the upper surface and white underneath.   The white […] Read more

Hawthorn – Heart Tonic

I’ve recently enjoyed a visit to the Nelson area in the South Island where my friend Jasmin and I went searching for Hawthorn shrubs Craetagus monogyna .  Its autumn and time to harvest the small red fruits (called haws).  We found some bushes along roadside farm fences abundant with haws.  Hawthorn is native to Europe […] Read more

Honouring Hawkbit

In my travels around the country I have been enjoying seeing the bright yellow faces of Hawkbit (Leontodon taraxacoides) in the ditches like a yellow continuous ribbon to look at along the side of the roads. They are about the only flower you see (now they’ve stopped sowing wild flowers) along the miles of motorway […] Read more

Deadly or delicious? Black Nightshade

Happy New Year everyone! This is the first blog for 2017 and I thought I’d start the year with a plant that receives a bad rap.  I’m sure you’ll be surprised to know that Black Nightshade (Solanum nigrum)   is an edible weed!  It is commonly and mistakenly called ‘Deadly nightshade’ which is a completely different […] Read more

Plentiful Puha

Puha (Sonchus oleraceus) or (Sonchus asper) are lushly going up to flower now in September/October. I notice that the pony is seeking Puha out to eat and spring is the time many indigenous people including Māori gather it for making their boil ups. It is a well known spring tonic. What does Puha look like? […] Read more

Great Barrier Island adventure

August 30th 2016 saw me flying in a tiny FlyMySky plane across the clear, blue sky to Great Barrier Island from Auckland. The smooth flight gave panoramic views of the Island’s bays and inlets and bush clad peaks and valleys and the flat land, much of which looked like wetland.   I was met by […] Read more