Learning and Entertainment – Native Wildflowers!

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Thanks to our 40 wildflower enthusiasts and learners who turned up on Thursday last for Sandro Cafolla’s workshop. We had a most informative session and lots of fun. Our hope is that we caught some of Sandro’s great passion for the wild and particularly for wildflowers, for their beauty and importance in the ecosystem. He challenged us to let go of our inclination to straight lines and precisely measured flower beds. Thanks to Sandro and his team, we now have in Ireland a seed-bank of native wildflowers. So many of our native wildflowers would have been lost forever but for his enthusiasm, conviction and above all, his hard work.

Sandro had some seeds with him. He explained that each packet of seeds contains annuals, bi-annuals and perennials. The packets also contain some bulking material. When somebody innocently asked a question, as Sandro proceeded to reply, he flicked a packet of seeds in the questioners direction. This was to reward the questioner for being awake – not that there was any fear of us dosing off!

After all, it’s not rocket science: Clear your area of vegetation, harrow if a field, rake lightly is a small patch; spread your seeds; harrow or rake lightly again – and wait. For the first year you will have your annuals, the second year your bi-annuals and the third year, your perennials. Everything we need to know is clearly described on their website Sandro also referred us to Zoe Devlin’s website. Zoe has produced a beautiful book on the Wildflowers of Ireland.

An added dimension to the night were the handmade biscuits by Anne sampled during the night. She is offering the recipes here, as requested.

Country Biscuits:

  • 6oz/175gr of 100% wholemeal flour
  • 1.5oz/40gr coarse oatmeal
  • 1teasp/5ml of baking powder
  • 0.5teasp/2.5ml of salt
  • 3oz/84gr butter or margarine
  • 2oz/56gr of raw brown sugar
  • 3tblps/45ml milk dairy or soya to mix

Mix all the dry ingredients – except the sugar – together. Rub in the butter until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Stir in the sugar and add the milk. Stir in well until the dough is firm and manageable. Roll out fairly thinly and stamp out 3in/7.5cm rounds. Place on a greased baking sheet and bake in the oven at 180C/350F/gas mark 4 for 20 minutes until light brown. Cool on a wire tray and store in an airtight tin.

Coconut Biscuits:

  • 4oz/115gr butter or margarine
  • 4oz/115gr wholemeal self-raising flour
  • 4oz/115gr raw brown sugar
  • 4oz/115gr coconut
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 free-range egg

Rub the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Stir in the sugar, coconut and salt. Mix well. Stir in the egg. Mix into a soft dough. Roll out fairly thinly on a lightly floured board and stamp into 3in/7.5cm rounds. Place on a greased baking sheet. Bake in the oven at 180C/350F/gas mark 4, for about 25 minutes, or until golden brown. Cool on a wire tray and store in an airtight tin.

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