Besides sturdy shoes and an idea of where you going to do your picking there are three things I’d suggest you’ll need in your foraging kit.
Something to cut
It’s all well and good thinking you’ll hand pick a couple of stems and branches that have caught you eye. Believe me. It’s never as easy as that. Unless you’re picking dried stems which you can snap off between your finger and thumb you’re going to need something to cut with.
Without a pair of sturdy scissors or secateurs whatever you try and pick will end up in a tussle – and the plant will win. Even the slimmest of fresh stems will be difficult to pick – and you’ll end up damaging the parent plant and coming away with either more (or a lot less) than you bargained for.
Make it easy for yourself and slip a pair of scissors in your bag. These will be sufficient for most of your cutting needs. But, if you’re foraging for thicker stems secateurs will be a must. I use my floristry scissors or red-handled secateurs. Click the links for details of similar tools.
Something to carry
Depending on what and how much you’re picking you may be lucky enough to be able to collect what you need in a single handful. Personally, I like to keep my hands free for more picking, or for stuffing in my pockets to keep them warm.
For this reason I take a really big bag with me. I’d recommend one with long enough handles to carry over your shoulder. It’s also handy for stashing your phone, a drink and a snack. Just remember to keep on eye of what you’ve picked. Sometimes your stems can easily slip out of your bag. For this reason I carry my bag front-loaded – so I can see what I’ve picked, and hopefully don’t lose it on the way home.
Something to tie
If you’re collecting lots of bits and pieces you might find it helpful to bundle them into bunches as you go. That way, you won’t have to do a massive (time-consuming) sort out when you get home.
I always make sure I’ve got elastic bands in my pocket. The ones that your postie drops on the pavement are perfect – they’re quite long, thick and have plenty of stretch.
Instead of encircling your stems in a complete loop of your band (and stretching and twisting with each loop), have a go at the easier ‘hook and wrap’ method of tying your stems together. If you take a look at this video you’ll see me demonstrating the technique.
The rules of foraging
When you’re out and about don’t forget you need to be mindful in your foraging activities. Check out the advice of the Woodland Trust – you’ll find the details in my post on my foraged autumn door wreath.
Until next time, happy flowers!
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