Phase 2: Carouge – Plan les Ouates

My heart skips when from across the street, I see a lone Hypericum Perforatum growing through the pavement.   With its perforated leaves that let the light through and its bright yellow flowers, St John’s Wort is a plant that invites the light, bringing the sunshine into darkness. Perhaps that is a darkness of mood – or the pain of injury, Hypericum is good for both, healing damaged nerves and brightening the spirit. This little wonder really does bring an uplifting skip to my step.


Hypericum perferatum – St Johns Wort

There are hibiscus and holly hock plants the other side of the bridge with beautiful flowers and abundant seeds.

Hollyhock is said to be a flower that counsels joy in all that you do. Hard not to come to that conclusion when you catch sight of the joyful tall floppy flags of colour – flowers stacked and dancing in the wind surrounded by the concrete and traffic of Geneva.  Hollyhock is in the mallow family – the same family as one of our very valuable medicines: Althea officinalis / Marshmallow



Alcea Rosea – Hollyhock

This isn’t the Hibiscus sabdariffa L. that has a beneficial effect on blood pressure. But it’s in the same family….




Behind the fence of the church is a strong, tall dog rose plant laden with hips. Winter medicine, packed with vitamin C to boost your immunity against colds and flu growing alongside the pavement on your walk to work.




Further along Rue Vautier, I pass some red clover with late flowers…


Trifolium pratense – Red clover

Along Route De Drize, there is some scrubby woodland with a big patch of burdock that has gone to seed.




There are a few bright berries on the holly trees above.




I scramble up the bank to pick some hawthorn berries and notice that even unconsciously, I am a seed carrier – my shoes and socks are covered in seeds from the overgrown roadside.




The road is big, the air dusty, but all around me are plants. Daisies, Knapweed, Plantain, Yarrow, Couch grass.




I am excited to leave the main road down Chemin du Bief a Dance – also because the lane has such a good name!! Which apparently means “ stream or channel dug by the Dance family.”



Along small residential lanes, I gather lots of lavender seeds.


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The hedgerows are dripping with nettle seeds.  Harvest nettle seeds when their fresh and green and dry them.  Then you can add them to your food as a sprinkle. They’re a tonic for the adrenal glands and have omegas in them too.


Urtica dioica / Stinging Nettle

I spot a Greater Calendine in seed. Its easy to identify by its caustic yellow sap that is traditionally used on warts.  Its seeds are in pods packed with round black seeds.


Chelidonium majus  Greater Calendine 

The path meanders down to a stream – a welcome cool break from the hot sun. It is lined with beautifully vibrant watercress.


… and lots more nettles.

There’s plenty of Giant Hogweed too.


Heracleum mantegazzianum / Giant Hogweed ( not medicinal –  young shoots edible)

There’s a blackthorn and Rosehip hedge that someone has planted along the bottom of their property.


Prunus spinosa / Blackthorn

The Sloe berries are juicy. Traditionally sloe was picked after the first frost, I’ve seen the berries ripe on the trees in August the last couple of summers and they’ve gone over long before it gets cold in November.


I pop out of the woods into Lancy.

Plenty more lavender in peoples front gardens…


I spot a Mahonia too – with perfectly ripe berries.



I walk along Route Sacconex D’Arve.

There is a vacant lot alongside some allotments that has had the chance to get wild. It’s a great end to the days harvest. There are huge Briar Roses, Teasel, Dandelions, Wild Carrot Mugwort, Yarrow, St Johns Wort.


My pockets and bag laden, I wander to the bus and make my way back to Vieuseux.


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