Oh my what a stunning morning! I had to do a detour to work today and head over to the Nature Reserve. There, sat in the middle of the lake was Mr Heron (Top image middle left) It is such a good start to the day when you see nature like this and I think even in bad weather it would still look as stunning!
FUN FACTS ABOUT NETTLES!
Stinging nettles (Urtica dioica) may not be the most beloved of wild flowers in the British Isles. Often written-off as the thugs of the hedgerow and the bane of the school playing field, the humble nettle actually has many unseen charms.
Here’s five amazing things you may not know:
1. They’re great for butterflies: many butterflies – among them the Peacock and Red Admiral – lay their eggs on stinging nettles. Once hatched, the caterpillars feast on the nutritious nettle leaves.
2. They helped the Romans keep warm! The nettle’s sting is a ‘counterirritant’: this means its chemicals can actually decrease an existing pain. Roman soldiers allegedly used this effect to adapt to the colder, harsher climate of Britain – rubbing nettles on their arms and legs to help them keep warm.
3. Jon Snow’s ancestor recommended them for stomach ache: or rather Sir John Harington, the 17th century ancestor of Game of Thrones actor Kit Harington, did. He advised: “The Nettles stinke, yet they make recompense, If your belly by the Collicke paine endures, Against Collicke Nettle-seed and honey, Is Physick: better none is had for the money”. Curiously enough, Sir John also invented the flush toilet!
4. They were used to make cloth: before the introduction of flax, nettle cloth was quite common and was used at least until the 18th century in Scotland. The Scottish poet Thomas Campbell, for example, wrote about sleeping in nettle sheets and eating off a nettle table-cloth.
Although Nettles have a bad reputation among gardeners and they sting and are invasive if left unchecked, there are numerous ways they can be put to positive use in both your garden and kitchen.
Nettles are a magnet for beneficial wildlife, they can be made into great plant food and are
a surprisingly versatile ingredient in the kitchen.
The nettle we’re used to in the UK is Urtica dioica, a perennial plant full of
iron, calcium, magnesium and nitrogen, which makes it incredibly nutritious for both other plants and humans.