I like to get up early. If I am early enough, I get to watch the sunrise through our eastern kitchen windows and it is just as lovely every single time. The view of the roly-poly hills and the ocean on that side of our house were the two things that kept me from despair in the early days when this little old house threatened to be more than I could chew. It is really very, very pretty. For me there is just something about a view that includes a grassy field (well, it is actually a bog but you can’t tell that from this far away). I am probably spoiled because I have lived all of my life by the sea. Most of the time in direct daily view of the sea, in fact, but it is still a sea of grass waving in the breeze that really makes me smile.
This pinky-purple flowered spiky plant is fireweed. It is named willow-herb in Britain and I think that sounds more becoming for such a charming specimen. It is considered a weed by most gardeners but it is actually quite useful and also quite beautiful. The young shoots can be peeled and eaten raw (traditionally dipped in grease… not really recommended) but I think they are better treated as you would asparagus. New leaves make a nice substitute for spring greens, sort of similar in flavour to spinach and the flower blossoms can be used to make a pretty purple jelly. Fireweed is mucilaginous, like aloe, and the leaves brew into a slightly sweet tasting tea that makes an aid to digestion (a very mild laxative). Even the seed fluff makes a handy and effective tinder.
I have turned my hand to fireweed syrup and jelly in the past and so had planned to make a batch of jelly from these blossoms but they turned out to be far to pretty to eat. Good weeds indeed.10