Ysbyti Cae Bodfach willow structure March 2018

The herb garden at Cae Bodfach is actually called ‘Cae Ysbyti’.

Cae Ysbyty means ‘hospital field’ and was a flower rich meadow field where sick animals would be taken to self medicate by grazing on the wild flowers.

Grace Maycock working with Sector 39 had a vision for Bodfach’s Cae Ysbyty two years ago and was granted a small amount of money from Kew Gardens Grow Wild project to create this wonderful feature at Cae Bodfach last year.

Using the willow coppice from on site and calling upon friends and leading willow experts from willowbank.com, Ysbyti Cae Bodfach was born! The diference in the two pictures is astounding.. what you can do in just one year!

Ysbyty Cae Bodfach May 2019 – what a difference!

Sowing seeds for future generations

Grace, with guidance from Kew Gardens, selected the seeds of indigenous plants that were once common place and have been in decline of recent years, these included a list of medicinal, dye and culinary plants, all with names that would not be out of place in those dark faery tales of auld! Wild pea, Woad, Weld, Horehound, Dark Mullien and Good King Henry.

Its important to preserve plants and seeds for now and the future generations for wildlife and people.

Grace is now working in Scotland as an apprentice in commercial scale organic horticulture at Fantasy Farm near Edinburgh. We all love her and miss her very much, so we would like to dedicate this little post to her.

As the torch had so kindly been handed over to us we thought we’d better get planting! So, we have continued Graces legacy by planting the seeds she had so so carefully sourced, ready to be transplanted out in the garden later this year. Then the idea is to collect the seeds from these every year.. a living seed bank.

Loki aged 9, is already a very keen conservationist and came along with his mum Sami Key to help us sow seeds for future generations.

Together so far we have planted:

  1. Sunflower – As well as evoking smiles and happiness the big faces of sunflowers provide tasty edible seeds, packed with nutrients, they are great for the birds too.
  2. Good King Henry – A very underused spinach like perennial great for salads and easy to grow which can be used as a cut and come again for the whole summer.
  3. Dark Mullien– A biennial plant that self sows readily, Dark Mullien has various medicinal purposes, and is most famously used for respiratory conditions such as asthma and coughs.
  4. Everlasting pea, Wild pea and Sweet peas – These delightful vines will be used to fix nitrogen to improve the soil and provide a great source of nectar for butterflies and bees. the flowers when picked will come again and again.
  5. Marigold – Superb performers that bloom reliably all summer, great companion plants in veg beds and as long as they are single varieties they provide food for pollinating insects.

The existing herbs at Cae Ysbyty include:

Yarrow, Fennel, Angelica, various Mint varieties, Oregano, Welsh Onions, Sage, Thyme, Woad, and more. Each have a culinary or medicinal purpose.

Feel free to come and pick some herbs for your dinner or take some cuttings for you own garden. After all that’s what the community garden is all about!

Leave a Comment