Herb Training – Midsummer Flowers

Alembic still with calamine and rosa  rugosa petalsMidsummer flowers was the topic for herb training at Marlpit Community Centre on Saturday, 18th June. It was a shame it wasn’t better attended as it was a fascinating session.
Kathy and Alex preparing the rose petalsAlex Hobbs introduced us to the preparation of aromatic flower water using of a wonderful piece of equipment, an alembic still. After removing the petals from the flowers we put them in the still. Heat from the cooker evaporated the essential oils which were then cooled by tap water. We eagerly awaited the moment when the aromatic water started to flow from the pipe, tasting and smelling of roses or elderflowers, ready for us to try out and take home.
Filling the still.Rose petals in the stillWe gathered the elderflowers outside the community centre, where we identified several useful plants and herbs growing wild in a very small area – including ground elder, two types of plantain, nettles, cleavers and blackberries coming into flower.