Bristol Cemetery which is a hotspot to search for wild garlic

Despite the wintry conditions in Bristol this week, wild garlic collectors are searching for this simple herb. It’s been springing up since February and Arnos Vale Cemetery is a popular place to gather it.

Adds a fresh touch to foods like stews, stir-fries, soups or pastas when mixed just before serving. And then there’s the classic wild garlic pesto, or you can dry the leaves, crush and add to the salt for your own garlic salt – the flavor lasts for years.

Wild garlic collectors will tell you that the strong odor is the way to identify this simple herb. It is also how to avoid getting caught by similar herbs, lily of the valley and lords and ladies, which are poisonous.

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María Fernández, a Bristol-based forager and herbalist who leads collecting walks for wild medicinal and edible plants, said the first sprouts of wild garlic began to appear in February and can be seen in damp soil. She said: “As the months go by, the leaves get larger and the wild garlic creeps further into drier territory and can fill entire riverbanks and forests.”

Arnos Vale Cemetery(Image: Arnos Vale Cemetery Charity)

The best time to find the leaves is between March and April, while April to May are the best months to collect the flowers and seeds. At Arnos Vale Cemetery, Maria told her to watch out for the shady areas. She said: “Once the spread of the plant starts creeping up the slopes, you’ll find so many leaves along the shady paths and between the graves.”

He added that the popular herb grows “in any damp place or near a river” and in the case of the cemetery, it is near the River Avon. “Bristol is full of green spaces that are close to rivers, so we get a lot of wild garlic at this time of year,” she added.


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