Food for thought - 5 hedgerow plants to pick this spring

Flymo Guest Blog Post – Richard, Two Thirsty Gardeners: Departing from lawnmowing and hedge trimming for a moment, Richard from Two Thirsty Gardeners, a blog passionate about gardening, food and drink, joins us for a guest blog post on five hedgerow plants to pick this spring perfect to use in the kitchen.

Spring has well and truly arrived and I'm already admiring my lawn, thanks to a couple of weekends of vigorous raking, weeding and mowing. What was once the bearer of dandelions and (shamefully) nettles is now looking pretty good, even if I do say so myself. 

But there is a trade-off for this uncharacteristic bout of garden tidiness; A freshly Flymo-ed lawn – trimmed and manicured to bowling green perfection – is a barren hunting ground for keen foragers like ourselves, so for our springtime supplies we'll need to head out to places less cultivated. This weekend we'll be turning to the hedgerows and verges from which to fill our tucker bags…. here are the top five plants on our shopping list. 


An amazingly versatile weed, great as a spinach substitute in many recipes and can be made into a fantastic zesty beer. You can also treat your own veg by making nourishing liquid fertiliser – Simply marinate a bucket of chopped up leaves for a couple of weeks, then mix the strained-off solution with water in a proportion of 1:10 and give your plants a weekly feed. 


This hardy flower will provide a unique bitterness when added to home brew beer, and is also the main ingredient in one of our favourite country wines. According to tradition, dandelions should be picked close to St Georges Day, just remember to wear gloves to prevent yellow-stained fingers. You can also use the (washed) leaves for a wild salad addition. 

Beech leaves 

Pick the fresh, silky green leaves to make a boozy beech leaf noyau. Cover a jar full of leaves with 1 litre of vodka and leave to infuse for 2 weeks. Strain into another jar, add 150g of honey then wait a further 2 months before drinking. 


Unmistakable with its garlic waft and large white flower heads, this heavy cropping plant tastes terrible in drinks but is a fantastic addition to soups and pesto. Fry the leaves in butter along with a handful of mushrooms for a tasty toast topping. You can also pull the roots up and use them in salads… they taste just like spring onions. 


The scourge of woolly jumpers and dog fur, this clingy plant is also known as 'Sticky Willy' in certain parts of the country. The Velcro-like hooks that cover this plant require softening before use, so steam the freshly picked stem tops before adding to a soup or stew for a pleasant pea-like taste. 

You can visit the Two Thirsty Gardeners blog here: http://twothirstygardeners.co.uk/  

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