Monday, July 6, 2009

Off The Beaten Path: Wild Ginseng & Bergamot

You can walk the same trail 100 times and always find something new, but every once in a while it's a good idea to get off your regular path and go into the unknown (in life, in your 'hood and when hiking around the woods.) Yesterday me and my nature BFF Bort found an animal path we never saw before and decided to follow it- part way through it was obvious a small critter had made the new trail (not a deer) since a few things needed to be crawled over, under and gently pushed back to get through (plus it had left a feline/weasel/small animal track in the wet mud).While following a 'smell trail' of a dead animal towards some big rocks, the first amazing plant we found was wild white flowered Bee Balm also known as Bergamot. It has a smell similar to the herb lemon balm, except it's a lighter less astringent scent. We picked a few leaves to make some tea!
The flowers of the wild bergamot seem more delicate then the cultivated types, but no less beautiful - these things have a strong striking presence amongst the sea of green in the forest. There are several other colors this flower grows in - pink, red and magenta also grow in the woods.Once we got closer to the rocks we had moved away from the mysterious dead animal smell and found another awesome plant - wild ginseng! Apparently people hunted and stole tons of it off this property a while back, but the plant is now re-establishing itself. (If you come try to hunt it ova' here I will most likely be hiding in the woods with my big knife and will scare you so bad you'll have nightmares for all your life & I will call the Po Po's on you.... so don't do it...!!)
We didn't harvest anything from these plants since it needs a chance to spread - but we do plan to go back to both the ginseng and bergamot to collect a few seeds to cultivate.
After all that exploring, I took a big rest on some rocks and relaxed. You can see I don't have special hiking gear, shoes, clothes, or anything else for that matter. NOTE: Expensive outdoors equipment not required for major fun. XoXOooo


Colleen said...

The bergamot is beautiful! So are you, nature girl!

Leslie @ the oko box said...

Hey Colleen!
Not as beautiful as you in that vintage wedding dress- that rocked! I can't believe I gave my (what's her designer name I forgot all of a sudden) away to a stripper, it could have been in a museum it was so ornate!