Recently ( a couple of weeks ago, now) I spent a few days down in Bury st Edmunds, old stomping grounds of mine, visiting my mother. I always love visiting other parts of the country – it’s wonderful seeing what different herbs there are growing that I don’t have locally! This time, we visited West Stow Anglo Saxon village, and the timing couldn’t have been more perfect – there were some Viking re-enactors there, including an absolutely fantastic Viking herbalist! I stupidly enough didn’t ask her name, but she was truly wonderful – with pots of different herbs, including dye herbs, swatches of naturally coloured wool, stones with runes on, and she was wearing a dress coloured with plant dyes as well – I think it was Woad, this time. Spending time talking to her was an utter delight – she was bright, lively and knowledgeable, and told my mum and I all about herbs for various health conditions as they were used back then. Talking to her was the high point of my visit (spending time with mother aside, of course!) If you’re reading this, lovely Viking herbalist lady, please do get in touch – it would be great to chat with you further about plants!
There were loads of wild flowers growing there that we don’t get much around here – including Houndstongue, and Stonecrop, plus Bittersweet, which we do have a little of around here, but not that much.
To continue on the Borage family mutterings, there are a few other members of the Borage family – most notably Alkanet (Alkanna tinctoria) and Green Alkanet (Pentaglottis sempervirens) which are both dye plants. I don’t have any pictures of Alkanet (yet – I’m working on it!) but we do have a lot of Green Alkanet growing near us!