Bit of a solstice harvest

  This is my Angelica, and if you look carefully, you’ll see one of my many bees that have visited for the last few weeks. Bumble bees in particular seemed to love this plant. The flowers on this plant were quite plain almost non descript. I didn’t notice any scent to the flowers. But the huge head of flowers balanced on the long slender stalks looked amazing, and did kind of dwarf my garden, along with the elecampane. 

A variety of insects other than the bees seemed to like this plant. Last year I struggled with it because it was being attacked by slugs and caterpillars. This year it has been black fly and spittle bugs, in fact I’ve been invaded by spittle bugs this year too. 

A couple of days ago, I noticed what appear to be seeds developing on my Angelica. Having never seen the seeds, I wasn’t sure if it was a bit early to cut the heads or not, but I had also read that Angelica spreads really easily so wanted to catch them first. 

  Apparently the seeds take a while to germinate. I am confused by the storage instructions, saying to keep them in the fridge or cool place! I haven’t got room in my fridge for them!! Also having read some more about this plant, it seems that as I let the flowers develop, my Angelica will die off this year. It lasts longer if you cut off the flower heads, but then the bees wouldn’t have got as much pleasure from it! 

The leaves, seeds and roots of the Angelica can be used. I haven’t been able to use the leaves as they have been attacked by caterpillars and slugs. My friend Lorraine gave me some dried Angelica leaves which I have used to make a herbal tea before. 

The stems and seeds can be used in confectionary. The stems are available as candied Angelica. I haven’t had this before so not sure what it tastes like. The stems are usually cut in June or July for being candied. The seeds can also be used for flavouring liqueurs. The roots are used medically and are said to have a musky type taste. 

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