I decided last week to go on a scout about to see what plants had started to re-emerge, so I started off in the woods and walked upstream towards home. Underfoot, in the woods, the Lesser Celandines are just beginning to flower. These have small, pea-sized tubers which can be harvested in large quantities, and can provide a good carbohydrate source if necessary.
The next little plant I noticed was some Bittercress (Cardamine hirsuta) - this has a peppery, sharp flavour, (which promotes gastric well-being), lovely in salads, or as pesto.
As I was heading off upstream, the river was going to get smaller, but, as it was full of storm water, it was foaming and roaring as I walked beside it.
The next plant I spotted was at the confluence of two rivers. This was Yarrow (Achillea millefolium). On another day, I would have stopped and brewed up some Yarrow tea (once drunk by Anglo-Saxon warriors before battle to give them luck). Crush some Yarrow for the juices to provide a superb blood clotting agent.
On the banks of the river, early leaves of Ramsoms, or Wild Garlic (Allium ursinum) are starting to emerge into the light. These are excellent substitutes for garlic in all sorts of cooking: pesto, stir-fry, kimchee, salads.
Looking up, I found a small Elder tree (Sambucus nigra) with some lovely Wood ear (Auricularia auricula-judae) mushrooms. The Elder, of course, has many uses, including the edible berries, Elderflower champagne, and the uses of the hollow branches.
Part 2 to this walk will come next!