Cow parsley is the predominant roadside plant from March through to June, when its delicate, nodding white flowers adorn nearly every rural roadside in the country – hence the old name of Queen Anne’s Lace.
Elderflowers are one of natures finest edible treasures and for me, the signature wild food of early summer. In autumn elder berries offer quite different, but equally rich delights for hedgerow preservers.
I have a love-hate relationship with marsh samphire. Mostly its love – the wide open seascapes where it thrives, its odd cactus-like appearance and its wonderful salty-fresh succulence. Even the silty, squelchy estuarine habitat where it grows has a “mud-glorious-mud” gooeyness that appeals to the filthy schoolboy in me.
These delicate and beautiful little “weeds” (gardeners loathe them) are a very tasty addition to any salad, though they lose their charm when cooked. They have overtones of rocket and watercress and come in lovely little garnish sized rosettes…
Even if it wasn’t edible sea kale would still be my favourite plant. Its alien-looking purple shoots, sculpturesque leaves and clouds of nodding flowers are works of high art to intoxicate the senses and marvel the mind. As luck would have it, it also happens to be absolutely delicious, providing some sort of food for most of the year.