donderdag 26 mei 2011

Flora Celtica - plants and people in Scotland

This book is a wealth of information. And a source of inspiration for me. The evolving relation between humans and plants. In my continuing research for crafts and lifestyle in the remote Western Isles of Scotland I encountered many of the issues described in this book.
Weaving with twigs, dying wool with leaves, flower buds and roots, insulating and thatching with grasses, enriching nutrition value with seaweeds, ropes made from heather etcetera. The use of plants has a rich history and a wide variety of uses.
The book is clearly divided into chapters about the elements in the ongoing relation with plants and trees. Food and drink, homes, transport, health, culture, farming, economy, crafts and environment. lavishly illustrated. It's also a treasure, for much is in decay.
The authors are William Milliken and Sam Bridgewater; both (ethno)botanical specialists.

Which type of lichen makes the best orange dye?
• What plants did our ancestors use for healing wounds?
• How do you make a traditional dish from carrageen seaweed?
• Why is it still considered unlucky to cut down a rowan tree?
• When is the best time to cut heather for thatching a house?

With books such as this some of the knowledge and skills may be kept for the future. And will hopefully get back into bloom. Not for being nostalgic but for being aware of the richness around us, and the need to take good care of our planet.

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