My foraging blog so far has dealt with food, yet there are plenty of materials out and about in London that could and in some cases are used for non-food purposes.
Richard Reynolds of Guerilla Gardening fame has planted a raised bed in Westminster with lavender (amongst other things). He harvests the lavender each year, and once it has dried out creates lavender pillows. He is currently selling them for £10 or you can go to the Liberty website and buy them for considerably more!
This lavender pillows make use of the buds, yet most of what is picked are the stems. I harvested a whole load of lavender myself this year (the now dried buds are waiting to be turned into pillows). I wondered what could be done with the stems.
I was even able to make use of the red elastic bands left by the local postman. Thanks Royal Mail 🙂
I found the following video on youtube, which shows how the stems can be used to make logs. For those you who do not know lavender has anti-septic and anti-inflammatory properties and is great for keeping linen bacteria free.
The video also points out that they can be used as fire-starters due to the highly volatile oils. However, in London this benefit would be smaller, but would be interested to see how they work on outdoor fires and barbeques.
Lavender stem incense
I found this idea below from the Llewellyn Journal. I have not tried yet myself, but would be interested to know what happens if someone has given it a go.
Remove flowers from dried lavender stems and save for another use. Soak the stems in a water/potassium nitrate bath, 1 cup water to 1 tablespoon potassium nitrate, for thirty minutes. Remove from solution and dry completely on paper towels. Place the end of a stick in an incense holder or a jar of dry sand and light. They will burn slowly like incense.