I spent part of my week bemoaning the haggard look of my yard. With the warmer weather and more sunshine, my grass has been flourishing… And so have my “weeds”.
I’m inclined to quickly schedule someone to tend to the yard but, as a baby herbalist, I know that the new growth cropping up in my yard has a purpose. I also know that it’s to my benefit to be very familiar with local “weeds”, especially the ones in my own yard. So, before I get the first lawn mowing of the season, I decided to learn more about these early spring weeds.
I have a ton of purple dead nettle in my yard. These pretty little plants are among the first to shoot up when the seasons change. I harvested some and dried them, and I plan to try making a tea with them. These are purported to help with seasonal allergies and are also supposedly anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, diuretic, purgative, etc.,. Luckily, these plants – and their lookalike, henbit – are edible. Unluckily, I dislike the flavor of fresh purple dead nettle. I’m hoping that the dried leaves can be combined with another herb to make a pleasant tea.
I found a narrow leaf plantain coming up near my driveway. I don’t plan on doing anything that requires me to use plantain, as this is commonly used to numb the sting from stinging nettle and from insect bites and stings. But, it’s good to have it nearby, just in case I get a bug bite that needs attention.
My yard also gets quite a few mock strawberries (snake berries) later in the season. These little devils are harmless and edible but they have no flavor. For now, I’m seeing their pretty flowers and sighing about how those little tasteless berries will be popping up soon. Though the resulting fruit tastes like water, the blooms are sunny spots in my yard.
Finally, my favorite weed has appeared! Violets are all over one particular patch of grass, and I love it! These delicate blooms add such pretty colors to my yard. I have “confederate violets) a cultivated subgroup of the larger blue violet family. These are edible but I’m not interested in consuming them: I just love to look at them.
I’m looking forward to seeing what will bloom at the end of this month, and in May. I planted a few seeds, so I’m hoping that those flowers will be blooming in a few weeks.
Did you do any planting or foraging yet? I’d love to hear all about it!