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Posts Tagged ‘England’

When we were in England this past summer I took many photos of flowers. I used one of them for a Sunday Photos post, but could not seem to identify it.

I though it looked like it came from the aster family, but an internet search didn’t get me anywhere and I sort of gave up. It was pretty and that was enough.

A few days ago I was going through a stack of herb books reading and studying bits about Elderberry in preparation for a presentation in January (elderberry is herb of the year for 2012.) I was reading through the cold and flu section and ended up turning the page, making my way through hay fever and into lung congestion. Each page has a drawing of a different herb relevant to the topic.  I glanced at the drawing, went on to read a few words and went back to the drawing. That’s it! That was the flower!

Elecampane (Inula helenium)

Family: Asteraceae (formerly Comporitea)

Also known as: Yellow Starwort, Elfdock, Elfwort, Horse-elder, Horseheal, Scabwort,  Velvet Dock, Wild Sunflower, Indian Elecampane, Aster helenium, Anee, Helenium grandiflorum

  • Zones: 6-9
  • Perennial
  • Height: 3′ – 6′, but I have also seen references claiming 8′-10′
  • Bloom: will start blooming the second year
  • Prefers fairly rich, moist clay loam with an acid pH, full sun or partial shade (I’m going to guess that it would prefer some afternoon shade here in S. Texas)
  • Herb  -parts used: root/rhizomes
  • Native to: Southeastern Europe and western Asia, the herb has since been introduced to many temperate regions, including parts of North America

According to Herbs for Health and Healing by Kathi Keville, elecampane was used, up until, 1920, as a common flavoring in English sugar cakes and was itself sold as a candied treat. The book goes onto say that people with asthma would chew a piece every morning and evening, and people passing  by a polluted waterway would chew a piece of the root to keep their lungs from becoming irritates or infected.

I remember this beautiful flower (and now I know it is an herb) growing up against one of the walls at Sudeley Castle in England. I loved the contrast of its lush green leaves and bright yellow flowers against the beautiful old stone wall. Now that I have identified it, I will be looking for some seeds to plant some in my gardens.

Do you grow elecampane in your garden?

Sincerely, Emily

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I know that our REAL Local series has come to an end, but I still wanted to share a few more things that I found while traveling in England.

We bought a book at one of the castles we stopped and I loved the bag it was packaged it – love the words. I have no idea if it was made locally, or even made in England, it was just nice to see the words on the bag. They weren’t an after thought, the words were the bag.

I found some cookies that hit the spot one day…. and had to pack some to eat on the plane, right?! They only fit the “L” in S.O.L.E.(Sustainable, Organic, Local,  Ethical), but they are made in England.

Ginger Nuts cookies – England

I knew I must bring home some tea. While I know the tea was not grown in England, I tried to buy from a company with good ethics (and a pretty box too!) After reading about them on their website, I think I made a good choice.

I was really amazed when I was looking at some the packages in the little markets I went into. I was mainly looking to buy a few food items to snack on along the way and a few things to bring home with us. Many things in the cookie and cracker sections (or at least most of the ones I looked at) were made in England. Many others said made in the U.K. also. Now, I know the “U.K.” covers are larger area, my point it that it wasn’t imported from some other far, far away place.  That was refreshing to see.

I also am in the habit of picking up tea towels with I travel. They are a great souvenir, easy to pack and useable. This one (and a few others were made in England!) Yippee!

REAL Local – Made in England!

One more item that I purchased to bring home as a souvenir of our trip. We went into an antique shop in Chipping Campden and just wandered around. I would have loved to have loaded a suitcase with all sorts of wonderful finds and I did warn my husband that if I found a wonderful old candelabra that it was coming home with us some way, some how. Instead I picked out a simple (and inexpensive) silver-plated serving spoon.

I completely forgot to as the women what she knew about the pattern. I am under no false illusion that it is valuable or rare; it was the right price and it packs easily. It has a bunch of markings on the back, symbols really, no words. One day I will find out more about it. Until then, I will just use it and enjoy it and remember our trip.

Sincerely, Emily

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We just came back from a wonderful two weeks in England. While the rest of the contributors here at Not Dabbling in Normal have been focusing on what they are finding local where they live, I decided to look at what I found local where we were traveling and mainly focusing on the local food I found.

Home Farm B&B – Full English Breakfast

We started our trip in London. Our breakfast was at the hotel every day and the girls that waited on us had no idea what I was asking when I asked where the food came from. Even revising my question didn’t help, you see, these girls were Italian and seemed to speak very little English. Dinner didn’t go any better while we were in London. The food we had was great, but the main issue was a language barrier. At the Greek restaurant, it was Greek, at the Indian restaurant it was Indian and I don’t speak either of those languages.

As we moved away from London things improved greatly in terms of being able to find out where the food was coming from.

At a local pub in Elsenham called The Crown, the waitress and I had a nice long chat about where their food came from. The sausages that I ate were from a local farm and processed by a local butcher and the potatoes were local too. My initial question was, ” does any of your food come from the area from local farmers?”  I couldn’t stop smiling as she just waved her hand and said “oh ya” and continued name where everything came from.

Elsenham – The Crown

As I sat in the Old Thatched Tavern Stratford-upon-Avon eating wonderful onion rings, I learned that the chef grew them himself. Really!? That is so wonderful !

The Old Thatch Tavern – Onion Rings

In Ebrington at the Ebrington Arms pub I learned most things on my plate were local also. Sausages, mushrooms, potatoes, cabbage, all of it.

At Home Farm Bed & Breakfast I was thrilled to learn about where the owners bought the food for the beautiful breakfast we were served. It was just around the corner at a local farm; mushrooms and all! F A N T A S T I C !

One last place worth a mention was the lunch we had a Kiftsgate Court Garden near Hidcote.  We walked around Hidcote in the morning and then headed across the street to Kiftsgate Garden for a late afternoon lunch and a walk around their beautiful gardens.  Lunch was homemade and wonderful. I had a toasted cheese and tomato sandwich with two types of chutney; Piccadilly and another sweeter chutney with apples. I went back to ask about the second chutney and chatted with the lady that made it. M A D E   I T ! It had been seasoning for 1 ½ years and was ready to serve! She showed me the ½ gallon jar she preserved it in and we had a nice talk about it. I didn’t come home with her recipe (darn it!) but I was thrilled to eat all their homemade toasted sandwich and some fresh shortbread!

Kiftsgate – toasted sandwich & shortbread

The food we ate in London was really good, but I enjoyed our meals more once we left London and I as able to find out where the food was coming from. I was very impressed with the bar tenders and the waiter/waitresses and all they knew about the food they were serving. It felt good.

Sincerely, Emily

I have been posting about our trip to England along with photos. Stop by my personal blog if you are interested. Soon to come are some of the gardens (like Kiftsgate and Hidcote) along with more castles (like Warwick and Sudeley)

You can see what else I am up to over at Sincerely, Emily. The topics are varied, as I jump around from gardening to sewing to making bread or lotion and many things in between.

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