I love words, as you might know if you've ever popped over to my other blog.
I also love gardening, and particularly enjoy finding out about edible weeds. And I love walking with Penny.
How fortunate, then, that all these interests came together as Penny, her Other Human and I headed back from our walk at Willsmere on Sunday. We spotted a sign saying 'Hays Paddock' and saw people walking towards it with dogs on lead. Of course we had to suss it out.
Once we arrived, we realised it was the site of the famous playground designed for children with disabilities to have fun alongside children with no disabilities, and we thought perhaps it might not be the best place to take a dog, so we prepared to head off home. (However, a look at the City of Boroondara website shows that dogs can exercise there off-lead, which, when you think about it, is logical, because children with disabilities are quite likely to have a family dog.)
'Stop!' I cried as we drove past a woman crouched on the grass, digging up weeds. A chance to learn about edible weeds from a woman who seemed to be Chinese! Well, actually that was poetic licence on my part - seeing I was the driver, I didn't have to shout 'stop'.
Parking the car a short distance away, I hurried over and found she was happy to share her knowledge. She was digging up little flat plants, and gave me a couple to take home. I've put them in seed-raising mix to see how they grow.
After a look through some of my books about weeds, I concluded the plants are shepherds purse. I think we have them growing in our back lawn, but I'll have to wait until these ones flower to be sure, because the ones in the lawn have seed heads on them.
A couple of sites on the internet have interesting information about the use of this plant in Chinese cooking. Here's one about the use of qi cai in wontons. And here's an extract from a book with a short piece about them.
I have many new experiences when I go out walking with Penny. Thanks, Penny!