This post comes to us from neighbor Margaret Jerabek, age 10. Register now for the final guided neighborhood tour for the Visions of Wallingford project. Melissa Irish will walk us through the “eclectic side” of 45th street this Thursday, July 7, 2-4pm.
A local group of residents, including several school kids, parents and even a six-month-old baby toured Wallingford on Sunday June 26. This guided neighborhood tour was part of the Visions of Wallingford community filmmaking project. We met up at Irwin’s Bakery to greet everyone, grab a delicious cookie and learn details about the tour. A local mom, Gema Ebanks and her daughter, Luna, hosted the tour and started off by showing some of their favorite plants they see along the walks they take together in the neighborhood.
We started off walking south down Bagley Avenue North from the corner on North 40th Street outside Irwin’s. We saw many flowers, herbs and edible plants along the way. One of the first plants we spotted was lavender, though it was first mistaken as rosemary.
One person in the group noticed that the lavender plant had some white and some purple flowers. One tour participant, Jordan Sherry-Wagner, noticed the white flowers were in the shade and the purple were in the sun. He asked the group if maybe the amount of sun impacted the color of the flowers or the timing of the color change. We talked about this while some people decided to pick the flower ends, squeeze out the oils and smell and taste them. Not many people tasted them, but most took a big, long sniff.
We talked about the uses of lavender and how it can make you relaxed and for some people even reduce headaches. We saw some fresh, purple clover along some of the sidewalk areas. I learned that you can pinch the purple flower tops off of the clovers and eat sweet nectar out of the bottom white section of each blade.
Along the way we saw a rogue chicken roaming loose on the corner by someone’s yard. We found out from talking to Gema that this chicken lives close by and they see it all of the time on their walks. We also saw a tuxedo cat near the end of the tour and he was hissing at us as we walked by a neighbor’s garden full of tomato plants.
We kept walking and noticed some familiar sword ferns, which we took a close look at the back side of the leaves. The small little brown dots on the back can help reduce the sting of nettles, one dad told us. My mom told the group that slug slime can also help make the sting of nettles go away, if you are brave enough to rub a slug on your body!
Along the way we finally spotted some rosemary, which is one of my favorite herbs to eat right off of the plant! I eat a lot of rosemary sea salt bread and have really learned to like rosemary. The group talked about different ways that rosemary can be used, including sprinkled on top of many foods, baked in or even chopped and mixed into fresh lemonade. Some of us got a chance to try this as we walked by a local neighborhood family that had set up a lemonade stand. The family was very nice and let us rest in the shade in the front of their house.
We ended our tour near the North Transfer Station, sitting in the shade by the playground across the street. Gema let us know that there is a viewing room in the transfer station where you can learn more about how items get processed inside.
As we finished up sitting in a circle on the shady grass, we went around and had each person share their favorite part of the tour. These included: taking pictures, seeing a new part of the neighborhood, smelling lemon balm and finding the lemonade stand on our route. Then, we came up with a small list of “L” words at the end of our talk that summed up our tour.
“Luna, lavender, learn, lemonade, laugh, love, life, licorice (fennel)”