Not too long ago, a lady was picking weeds out of my front garden. When I approached her, she paused and quickly backed away in embarrassment. I stopped her with a smile; encouraged her to take what she needed. In her very limited English, she pointed to a young weed and blurted: “Tea!” I had no idea that these leaves could be picked to make tea. With my encouragement, the lady continued scouring my flower beds for the best tea-brewing leaves, picked what she needed and headed for home.
I’m grateful to live in Melbourne, home to exciting restaurants and cafés that specialise in or feature amazing vegan dishes. Though, I’ve been left to wonder where I could travel to, beyond my front yard, in search of edible native plants and weeds. Here are a couple of tours that specialise in walking edible native plants and weeds tours around Melbourne for those looking at expanding their botany knowledge while getting some curious travel in at the same time.
Hello Edible Weed offers walks through Melbourne and the Yarra Valley so you can learn about which weeds you can eat. Hello Edible Weed also offers books, workshops and talks on the topic. Three-hour walks/workshops are run by author Doris Pozzi from $35 per person. It’s a great opportunity to learn about which weeds can be eaten and/or added to your cooking. Bookings can be made via the website or phone 03 5962 5982.
Eat That Weed is another weed walks provider, run by those who hold qualifications in horticulture and permaculture – self-confessed ‘plant nerd’ Annie Raser-Rowland and permablitz movement founder Adam Grubb. Tours are held mostly around the Brunswick East area along the Merri Creek wanderings to help you find what’s edible and what’s not.
Walking Tours of Melbourne can take you on a personalised ‘living wild off the land’ expedition. Choose from some of the native areas of Melbourne and suburban surrounds, while learning about the native edible plants that indigenous Australians local to these areas have known about for generations. Medicinal plants, sustainable species and harvesting techniques are all covered, as well as seasonal species and traditional tools used for harvesting. Choose from former wetlands from Elster Creek to Elwood Beach, craggy beachfronts of Half Moon Bay and Black Rock, and the 500-year-old St Kilda Corroboree Tree and gathering grounds of Albert Park. Grab a group of mates, decide on what and where you want to explore and let Walking Tours Melbourne sort you out with a guided journey. Bookings are by arrangement and can be made via the website, email at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 03 9090 7964.