Tuesday, 7 June 2011

A Lesson with Duncan Ross

Duncan Ross from Poyntzfield Herb Nursery joined us today.

In the afternoon, we trudged through the wet, miserable Scottish weather to the nursery and up to our student plots. We wanted to check our seeds as well, the ones we'd sown in November last year, and Duncan wanted to go through seed planting with us again in the comfort of the potting shed.

Both of these didn't go exactly to plan. Our seeds from November were all covered in what looked like a soft green moss, which Duncan blamed on the compost mixture we used. As for the seeds, well... most of them hadn't really done anything, only the fairly easy to germinate ones had thought about doing anything.

As for the seed planting, by the time we'd finished with our student plots, the nursery staff were getting ready to close up and lock the potting shed, so we were moved, swiftly, with a foldable table, into the poly-tunnel. So, we began planting some more seeds, this time in only a pro-seed-germinating compost. With an array of pots and seeds, we were quick, having known the planting technique from our last class, plus we were so cold, wet and muddy we wanted to get back to the classroom asap!
Leaving the seeds with our other, failed, attempts, we gave them a quick water, before collecting up the rest of the seeds, sheltering them from the rain... in pockets and such, and headed back to the classroom.

As I said, we also pottered around our student plots today. In the never-ending drizzle, we stomped around in the mud, removing the plants the previous students had left, moving some to the "stock" bed, if they weren't wanted by any other students. As I'd missed the previous lesson with Duncan that had been focused on the student plots.



Catherine re-joined us at this point, and after several cups of tea, for the rest of the group, we sat down, in our sodden, mud-covered (in my point of view) clothes and watched a video on traditional Tibetan medicine. It followed the story of the traditional culture, and the traditional ways in which the fresh flowers were chosen and protected, it also followed the journey of two young training doctors as they travelled to Edinburgh, to study conservation at RBGE. The problem in the Tibetan culture, there is no knowledge of cultivation and conservation to help maintain the variety of botanicals they pick and use. So, this scheme was designed to train and send back this knowledge, so it can be passed on and, in theory, help to maintain the traditional Tibetan medicine practice.

After the video, we trudged back out into the miserable weather, home time!

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