After months of hard work, I am ecstatic to announce that my next book, All Plants Are Edible Once, is now available. This book details some of the folklore and historical uses for common wild plants. I delve into the stories about the plants, telling both the good, bad, and yes, politically incorrect tales surrounding them.
The plants themselves are my inspiration. Throughout my career in conservation, I’ve studied wild plants. Telling their stories was an integral part of the nature tours I led with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources and later the US Forest Service.
You look at things differently when you know the back story. Take creeping Charlie, for example. It is the bane of my husband’s existence. He loathes it because it has a stronghold in our lawn. The stories tell a different tale.
Did you know that it was used by the Saxons to clarify beer? That’s probably the reason it earned another of its common names, alehoof, of the ones that I dare write. And if that weren’t enough, there are the magical associations it has with fortunetelling and prophecy.
And it’s not just creeping Charlie. Other common plants like dandelion, hedge bindweed, and mullein have equally fascinating stories to tell. If anything, they inspire some interesting conversation about what people thought about back in the day. Like why would anyone call a plant devil’s plaything? There has to be a story there.
I learned several valuable lessons from writing this book. First, don’t give up on a project. Your time and effort will pay off. You will get it done.
Second, writing about things you love gets the job done. Sometimes, it’s all the motivation you need. Finally, write for yourself. I don’t know how this book will do. I expect there’s a narrow niche. But it doesn’t matter. I enjoyed the process, the stories, and the accomplishment. To me, that’s priceless.