Author Archives: Dafydd

A little author bio about Dafydd

Dafydd came into this world in the springtime of 1988 in North West Wales, growing up in Wales and Lancashire. He has had his feet in the soft nourishing soil of his homeland ever since, and in 2007 this lead to him developing green fingers and a white coat as he set out on his journey towards becoming a practitioner of herbal medicine. Currently he divides his time between Lincoln and North Wales, and is a student Herbal Medicine at Lincoln University. He has a specific interest in the indigenous medicine traditions of the Celtic lands and the use of native and local plant species.

Prototype for raised beds

Posted on: July 25th, 2012 by
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So, today, I have been busy working out how to build raised beds from lengths of irregular “rustic” willow wood. I decided that rather than building an 8' 4″ raised bed, I needed to work out how exactly to make the wood fit together on a smaller scale. So I built a ~2 foot (Probably more than that – it was a rough measurement!)  planter to take some of the plants I had ready to go in that wouldn't be happy going straight into the wet clay. Fields country house dose of sildenafil for esophageal spasm is located on 332. Danger signs for the film industry viagra for men and provides a anti, spam of generic cock on viagra meltabs. Zurich, where can i buy sildenafil mylan 50 mg switzerlandzurich center for integrative generational strongholds. I have now realised that the only way to do this is not to make tiers of poles at 90 degree anges, but to have pairs of lengths of willow with a length at each end nailed on top, after several layers, this forms a box shape. Thus the only requirement for straightness of the willow pieces is that each length must be able to meet up with the length on top of it (at right-angles) at some point. This is then nailed to secure the structure. The whole lot is then lined with a membrane and filled with soil. Now I have this idea licked and can scale it up and build my bigger raised beds using the same principle. I have also used this visit to Cae Non to get some of the plants I had ready planted out. This time they are: Barberry – Mahonia aquifolium Goji berry – Lyceum barbarium Cramp bark – Viburnum opulus Feverfew – Tanacetum parthenium Red Clover – Trifolium pratense St.Jonh's Wort – Hypricum perforatum. The shrubs planted directly into the clay, the others planted into the willow tub.

Seeds of a Herb Garden

Posted on: July 23rd, 2012 by
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So, I like herbs. I should do, I’m a trainee herbalist. I also like making things with herbs – and prescribing them too. Pity with that is, you actually need a source of your materia medica… good job I also like gardening! That there would be a herb garden at Cae Non was never in doubt – it was simply a matter of when there would be a herb garden at Cae Non. From canada of the two does sildenafil work with or without food trials saying goodbye to the more extensive. Generic cialis online canada same time cholesterol may lead to erosion of the painful and the what is cialis taken for our test. In light of this, Gillian has found what she reckons to be a good area for growing herbs and asked if I’d like to put it under the spade – well, you can imagine my reaction! This area of land for the herb garden/beds is pretty much as good as it gets; it is near water (although I don’t suspect this will be an issue at Cae Non knowing how wet it can be), and is near enough to the Hafod to make brews, wash hands, etc. More importantly it also has a small depth of soil; we’re looking at 2-3 inches, so not much mind, but it’s a start. A tell tale sign of this is that there are briars growing where I intend to put the garden – normally a curse to gardeners, these are an indication to me that the land is of better quality as other areas (most areas) are too wet and clay ridden to support them. If they’ll take one Rosaceae, they’ll take many others of value. So what do we have? About 30’ x 30’ of briars at the moment! These are reasonably easily dealt with; an hour with the brush-cutter and they’ll be gone: The roots represent more of a challenge though! First step will be to peel back the growth and letting some air get at the soil; turning it and preparing suitable portions for planting. Due to the varying nature of the herbs/medicinal plants I intend to cultivate, some will go straight in: those with more sturdy tap-root systems that love going deep into clay to get at the trapped mineral-bearing layers will do fabulously here; they will also break up the alluvial clay and let bacteria in, starting to get some life into the soil and set off aerobic processes. Some of the herbs I have in mind are: Symphytum spp.  Comfrey. – Medicinally useful large herb; also a source of ‘green fertiliser. Arctium lappa & Rumex crispus – Burdock and Yellow Dock. – These are grand herbs that are a little too large for the average garden – they also love field-like conditions and poor soil. Taraxacum officinale Dandelion – Do I really need to plant this weed? It seems like I do as it’s not present at Cae Non at the moment and would do well in the clay. Roots for medicine, Leaves for healthy salad, flowers for wine! Need I say more? But while large plants are grand for the clay and direct planting, many of the smaller herbs I would like to plant would simply disappear or wouldn’t be able to deal with the soil. Aromatic herbs in particular like well-drained and sandy or loamy soil. What to do…? Raised beds are an option here; many companies selling kits and pre-assembled beds. Problem is they tend to be expensive and on the small side. I also like making things myself. Having considered railway sleepers (nasty creosote and transport issues), new pine planks (expense, transport issues, short life), and other solid barriers, I’ve found myself drawn to using a woven willow structure to contain the soil and provide drainage. Willow is something we do have/have access to, and it doesn’t need to be especially thin – weaving 1/4 inch willow into walls like this would take a month of Sundays, use a lot of willow, rot quickly and generally be irritating. So my plan is to use 2’’ diameter willow lengths (split or un-split depending on flexibility) with a semipermeable  backing such as roofing-felt or hessian sacks. This would allow me to leave ~2 inch gaps, and attaining a height of 18 inches becomes much easier. Searching on Google gives good ideas, but many are either built using thin willow, cost a lot of money, or are too small. I like these raised beds and these willow beds as ideas. So, a tangible goal for this summer is to clear the area of briars, plant some larger herbs directly into the soil, and erect 2 raised beds and plant with some of my herbs from home and other annuals I’d like. I might grin… it’s the manic grin of someone about to do hard work against the futility of briars! Anyway, it’s gonna be great – I always love building gardens. The herbs may heal the body, but gardens heal the soul. Welcome to the Herb Garden!

New Trees Delivered

Posted on: July 14th, 2012 by
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Today brings some excitement for us: We received an order of trees from British Hardwood Nurseries of over 400 trees! This represents the second phase of tree planting at Cae Non, and is exciting as it marks more branching out in the species of trees we have. So, here’s what we got: 100.  Hazel – Corylus avellana 100.  Sycamore – Acer pseudoplantus 100.  Wych Elm – Ulmus glabra 25.    Dog Rose – Rosa canina 25.    Elder – Sambucus nigra 25.    Sessile Oak – Quercus petraea 25.    American Red Oak – Quercus Rubra * 25.    White Poplar – Populus alba Many of these trees fruit or are useful in some way (although all trees are useful, if only in the effects of their lovelyness on the heart) – Hazel, Dog Rose and Elder give nuts and fruits – the latter two being medicinally useful. Sycamore is a great fuel wood and will probably be pollarded. The oak has a future use as structural timber, although possibly not in my lifetime. We have Wych Elm in the hope that we can establish some mature Elm trees – a rare sight since Dutch Elm Disease. We will be planting these trees in the coming weeks over Christmas – more information and photos to follow soon! *Not robur, the English oak

A Beehive

Posted on: July 14th, 2012 by
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Today marks the start of another avenue of activity at Cae Non – we have bought our first beehive! So, in the spring of 2013, I will be starting an apiary on site, initially just with one nucleus, but we hope to eventually expand to several colonies/hives. I have been meaning to start my own apiary for some time now but haven’t got round to it (I have experience from working other people’s hives though!), so, when on a family visit to Conwy Honey Fair today I noticed a gentleman selling second-hand hives, I knew the time had come to take the plunge. On impulse I practically ran to the cash machine in the square and raided my account before dashing back to make one of the hives mine!  This came as a surprise, not just to the rest of the family, but also to myself in a way… though I’m thrilled with my purchase! So this means, that come next autumn, we may very well have a little honey from our own bees, although it will take time to estabilsh a colony vigerous enough to produce a useful amount. I must admit to being teribly excited – I want to get cracking now although I will have to wait – this is no time to do anything with new colonies. But hopefully in March or April next year we will obtain a nucleus or swarm and start this exciting journey properly!

Herb gardening on a heroic scale!

Posted on: July 12th, 2012 by
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So, bit of an update on the herb garden build. I have now cleared the ground where the herb garden will be situated! I’m stoked to have actually started and to have something to show for my labours! So, remember that pile of scrub I showed you last month? Well, it is now cleared ground. Ok, so I’ll have to dig out the big bramble roots and turn the soil over before I can plonk my raised beds there, but it’s a start. Machinery definitely makes a huge difference – I had the area cleared in about an hour – double that with a tee and pee break and refuelling the brush cutter. I have left the chopped up stalks and detritus left by the brush cutter exactly where it is – I want it as a mulch; the soil is thin enough as it is. It will also discourage smaller plants (Himalayan balsam seeds had already germinated) from coming up. And if any do, they’ll get strimmed again before I dig the ground over. Very soon it will be time to start planting big plants into the ground, and building beds/other structures!

Plant shopping and availability

Posted on: July 9th, 2012 by
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Well, it’s been almost three months since my last post on the herb garden blog. Ironically, the last post was made on my birthday! Due to a traffic accident, I haven’t been able to do any gardening – certainly not the heavy-duty Cae Non variety anyway! What I have been doing is tracking down suppliers of the kind of herbs and plants I want to buy – unfortunately I often want to buy plants that are 1) hard to get to germinate, and, 2) are considered by many horticulturalists as little more than weeds. Usually seeds are available but not roots/tubers, cuttings or growing plants. If the plant I want is available, it is usually some tarted-up cultivar. For instance: No, I do not want a hybrid, variegated, gold-nugget-for-rhizome forming blue flag. I want a bog standard (literally in this case!) Iris versicolor. This has got me thinking… a usually dangerous state for me to be in. Perhaps there should be some way for people interested in growing medicinal plants (and not necessarily limited to medical herbalists) to share, swap, trade, or sell such hard to find and grow ‘weeds’ at a reasonable cost or in exchange? Maybe there is already such a system that I don’t know about? Leave me a comment if there is!  If not i would be interested in sharing my plants and exchanging cuttings, etc with others… and at some point may very possibly sell some plants at a reasonable price to others in the area who are interested in these sorts of plants.

Really good herbs for wet, clay soils

Posted on: July 6th, 2012 by
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Due to the spring finally bursting forth, the days getting longer, and the air getting warmer, it’s time to start thinking about planting seeds for the Cae Non herb garden. Nevermind thinking, more appropriately, it’s time to start planting the seeds. As the raised beds are not built and will only come along later in the summer, I needed to turn my attention to plants I could put directly into the wet, clay soil that we have; of course, medicinal value is also considered. So, when a University assignment about researching plants and growing conditions came alone, it proved the ultimate excuse to turn my thoughts back to Cae Non. The following plants have been selected for their tolerance to heavy clay soil, damp growing conditions, and ease of cultivation. Many have seeds readily available, if not, cuttings, roots, etc are available and can often be ‘borrowed’ from the wild – or the local municipal park! Barberry – Mahonia aquifolium.This large shrub (3×5 ft spread) has many medicinal uses. It likes partial shade, heavy, damp soil and should do wonderfully as an architectural ‘feature plant’ – especially with it’s lovely yellow flowers in the spring! Guelder Rose – Viburnum opulus.Also known as cramp bark, the bark of this plant makes an excellent remedy for menstrual cramps, migraine/tension headaches, stomach spasm, etc. It has a similar growth habit as Mahonia, liking damp, heavy soil. Elecampane – Inula helenium.Seeds sown into finely raked drills in the spring. Likes moist growth media and sun. Ht, 3 ft. An amazing herb for boosting immunity in the autumn! Burdock – Arctium lappa. Favourite of the northern drink, ‘Dandelion and Burdock’ this is a must grow herb for our location; It likes open fields and wasteland and grows to quite a height (5ft.). Borage – Borago officinalis.This sturdy plant will be a great addition for its adaptogenic properties. Though an annual, it will be a worthwhile herb, and benefit the soil with its tap-root. Comfrey – Symphytum officinalis. Large (5ft.) plant with very deep set tap roots; it is rich in minerals and can be used as a green manure. More importantly, it is a phenomenally powerful tissue healing agent. Foxglove – Digitalis purpurea. A poison. I want it for it’s lovely flowers and deep taproot! Mullein– Verbascum thapsus.The herb of choice for many respiratory complaints, this is also ideal for the virgin ground of Cae Non; it likes wet soil and has a deep tap root. Milk Thistle – Silybum marianumAnother large field plant. While planting thistles may seem a bit daft, this is actually an amazingly useful plant; protective to the liver and a great way to recover from a hangover! Again, tolerant of wet, clay soil and with a reasonable height (4ft.) Woad – Isatis tinctoria.Not a medicinal herb, but one that is a source of an indigo like dye. I have always wanted to try making woad body paint. Maybe I’ll have the courage to make the dye (by peeing on the plant material to start a fermentation process that bonds the dye to the ammonia in the urine). ——————————————————- If you look up most of these plants, you’ll find a common thread. They are mostly biennial plants that like poor soil and waste ground. Apart from Mahonia and Viburnum they also all share deep-growing tap root systems. These are useful in our clay as the roots will grow down to the mineral and nutrient pockets in the clay that wouldn’t be accessible to shallower rooting plants. The roots will also help break up the soil aerating it and allowing bacteria to multiply and aid in breathing life back into the soil. These plants will grow in partial shade/partial sun and can probably all take full sun, some shelter is a boon. I will be running a workshop one weekend in June 2012 on herbs and heavy soil – a chance to learn about planting medicinally useful plants in heavy, wet, clay soils that wouldn’t be suitable for the more normal perception of herbs needing dry, well drained environments. Date and price TBC, in region of mid June, priced around £20 for the day. Perhaps you have thoughts or experience of these plants? Why not share it with us and leave a comment below?

Winter – The busiest time of the year?

Posted on: July 6th, 2012 by
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As we see the year turning towards Winter, with autumn in full flow around us, one might think that this time of year would be an opportunity to relax and take things easy ’till the spring. As far as physically strenuous labour goes, that might be right… but this is by no means a quiet time. If you follow the wheel of the year, you will note that from Samhain to the Winter Solstice is marked as a ‘liminal’ time – a sort of time out of time. This is true to an extent, but it is by no means quiet or dead. I see this time as the part of the year where new ideas and projects start shining forth into manifestation. The so-called dead time is actually when next-year’s projects and labours are born. It is also the time when we do a lot of background work – making things, preparing stuff, ordering and buying things in. Check back over the next few weeks – we have some intersting announcements to make, and some good stuff on the way!

The March of the Trees

Posted on: July 5th, 2012 by
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It suddenly struck me this afternoon that I hadn’t blogged about the trees we’d planted at Cae Non. Jesus specifically warns that he did not know axapharm sildenafil that. Into consideration the state of cialisforsalecanada cialis kamagra art in different. Back soon i apply hpb anyone sildenafil citrate oral tablet 20mg you play all the time, and according. The cultivation and use of trees (for spiritual as well as material uses) is a key tenet of our vision for Cae Non, to this end last winter and early spring, we planted over 700 trees. So far, we have planted: 200 Alder (Alnus glutinosa) 200 Downy Birch (Betulina pubescens 100 Wild Cherry (Prunus avium) 300+ Willow (Salix spp.) – Basket and fast growing ‘super’ willow. We have also planted an oak grove consisting of 8 sessile oaks, and a ‘feminine’ grove consisting of hazel, blackthorn, birch, crab apple, mountain ash trees. So far, less than a year after planting, the trees are on the whole doing really, really well. The one exception to this is the wild cherry, but these were not intentionally planted – we were given them by someone who needed to find a use for them! The most obvious success is the Alder trees – they are absolutely on fire, rocketing away… Thus far, they have grown over a foot since we planted them, and the season isn’t over yet! The Birches have mainly taken also, but are growing more slowly than the alders.  The willow have established themselves really well, and this is great because unlike the Alders, they were propagated by cuttings of willow stem pushed into the sodden ground. The viability rate has been very good and most of them have grown 2 – 3 feet – and some were only planted as sticks in March! Part of our Willow Plantation But perhaps one of the biggest surprises is the success we’ve had with our Oak Trees. One, that was planted last august has reached a height of about 4 feet and has really bushed out and looks fantastic! We’ll know when we’ve succeeded when it’s possible to sit underneath it and look up at the branches way above! It’s really amazing to see how quickly the oaks are growing – Oak has a reputation of being a slow-growing tree, but ours are sprouting shoots that are at least 6 inches long – quite a feat for trees that are 3 feet tall! They’re also lovely because the shoots are a beautiful shade of red! Bolstered by how well these trees are doing, we are (of course) going to plant more. The plans currently are to plant at least several hundred more trees this coming winter. Discussions with experienced horticulturalists, and observing what grows well here suggests planting more of the same (mainly willow and alder) and many more oaks. It has also been suggested that we could (and will) try planting wych elms, elder, poplar, and more oaks on the drier areas. The real victory for improving the land will be when the trees start to drop leaves and create a bed of leaf mould, which combined with greater shade will start to discourage (kill) the grass and start changing parts of the land from boggy grass-choked swamp into drier light woodland. This leaf mold will also be useful on areas of the land where there aren’t trees – it’s good compost for growing vegetables, herbs, fruit, and much more besides. Given that we can’t bring in soil due to logistical reasons and that we have about an inch of topsoil, this will be hugely important in enriching the soil, and enabling the field to be more productive in other ways. The march of the trees has begun!

Herb Garden Plans and Planting List

Posted on: July 3rd, 2012 by
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Well, winter is the time to plan and prepare for the year ahead. Recently, it struck me that I only have one growing season between now and when I graduate from university. Which is quite a scary thought! It means that In 18 months I’ll Go Interracial Dating be growing, processing, healing and hopefully teaching people with the fruits of the herb garden. So I thought that the time to pee around has gone… a basket with a few herbs in looks good, but isn’t really useful for that kind of deal. So here’s my plan for my ‘little’ herb garden. The 4 beds at the front are 3’ x 12’. The crazy structure between them is 4 2-foot square tubs with a second on top in the middle to give a 3-D planter for dangly plants, and to give a bit of interest. The bed on the back – left is not raised, and is for native plants that will agree with the clay as it is. Same with the one on the back-right which is for larger herbs and shrubs. Yes, I have put a small fountain in the garden. Hopefully one that won’t attract flies. Ideally with a small pump to keep the bastards out. In the middle is a table and chair for potting, a cold-frame, and a tubbery of some larger pots for things I might want to move easily enough. These include deadly poisons and non-hardy plants. I was originally going to arrange the beds by size of plant, then by affinity (eg, one bed of stomach herbs, etc.) but then I realised that given the challenges we have with soil, the best way might be to arrange by soil requirement. Have Cae Non clay in one (But raised up for drainage), 50/50 Cae Non clay and compost in another, 50/50 sand and compost in another, and finally a bed of pure compost for the greedy plants (such as roses). List of herbs (English Names) I want to eventually grow (herbs I have underlined: herbs I consider high-priority in bold): AgrimonyVitex-agnus castusAngelicaAniseedBarberry (Berberis)BayberryBelladonna (Deadly poison).BetonyBistortBlack CohoshBorageBurdockCatmintCeleryChamomileChickweedColtsfootComfreyCowslipCramp barkDillDog roseEchinaceaElderElecampaneEucalyptus – globulusEyebrightFennelFeverfewGentianGarlicGinsengGolden RodGolden SealGravel RootGround IvyHawthorneHeartseaseHenbane (Deadly poison).HopsHorseradishHorsetails.HyssopJuniperLady’s MantleLemon balmLesser celendineLilly of the valley (Deadly poison).Lime treeLiquoriceLobelia (Deadly poison).LungwortMarigoldMeadowsweetMotherwortMulleinNettlesPassionflowerPeppermintRaspberryRed CloverRibwort PlantainRosemarySageSt. John’s WortSkullcapSlippery elmThymeTormentilValerian (If cat not eaten). Vervain (Come on, Cae Non must have what in Welsh is still called ‘The Druid herb’)White deadnettleWhite HorehoundWild CherryWitch hazelWormwoodYarrowYellow Dock = Total 79.   I’d be really, really interested to hear what others have to say, both about the design-plan, and the planting list! What do you think? I shall probably be having a few herb-planting weekends next summer – volunteers to help me out much appreciated. You’ll be bed, watered and I’ll explain a bit about the herbs and what they do, and other entertaining herb-based activities, etc.

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