Ground Elder and Honeysuckle

A milder day. A day to venture out into the garden to rescue the wind-damaged plants, and see what is still growing. I tied the feverfew bush to a cane as it was bent almost to the ground with the roots exposed. Disappointingly Emily’s pumpkin seed has not grown. More disappointing for me, I think, as I want so badly for things the children plant to be successful so the experience is enjoyable for them. She has since planted lettuce in a yoghurt pot on the kitchen windowsill, I am sure this will fare better. I cut back the chard, soiled up the potatoes, removed the long stalks and seed-heads of the columbine which were bent and broken from the storms.

Engaged in an ever continuing battle with the ground elder. The long edge of our garden runs parallel to a hedge and all manner of plants creep their way over to this side of the fence. Some, like the plums, elderflower, blackberries and wild honeysuckle are more welcome than others – ground elder in particular causes me a lot of headaches. It grows so fast, and spreads by underground rhizomes – a network of thin white roots which snake their way into every place – namely the vegetable patch. Every single piece of root can sprout a  leafy shoot wherever it fancies. Aside from resorting to weedkiller there is not a lot I can do about it. I periodically dig as much of it out as I can, but it is never enough.


I have recently found out that it is edible as a spring vegetable to be used like spinach. There is a recipe for Ground Elder Pancakes in The Hedgerow Handbook – Recipes, Remedies and Rituals (by Adele Nozedar) which I might just try. This book is wonderful by the way… just beautiful. The plants, the information, the gorgeous illustrations by Lizzie Harper, the recipes including ‘Red Clover Lemonade’, ‘Cleavers Soup’, ‘Spicy Pickled Ash Keys’, ‘Crab Apple Jelly’, ‘Feverfew Cake’ and many more. I made the honeysuckle tea a couple of days ago, a pan filled with honeysuckle blooms – pink and sweetly fragrant. I followed the recipe, but it was far too strong. The result was darkest green, bitter and pretty undrinkable even watered down. I made it with the cultivated honeysuckle which is creeping over from one of my neighbour’s gardens, I think perhaps the wild honeysuckle might have a more palatable taste – though this may be just wishful thinking.

Wild Honeysuckle

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