Forage Grow Create

Essex, United Kingdom

Last year, during the All Things Fungi festival, I met an unusually charismatic lady who seemed to be practising some fancy plant-based witchcraft. I spotted her workshop, and indeed, the story of Cary-Anne Hornsey is as captivating as an old-school fairytale.

Her journey with plants began as a child; she lived in a cottage with an English garden, an orchard, and a pond. She spent many hours in the garden, making potions from all the plants, eventually deciding to pursue a career in herbal medicine and got a degree in homoeopathy. Throughout her studies, Cary-Anne realised the herbs she bought were growing in the wild. She developed a spiritual connection to plants, paving the way for her career. 


All Things Fungi participants learning from Cary Anne

Now, she grows herbs and vegetables at home. She quickly rewilded her suburban garden, using her foraging knowledge to incorporate medicinal weeds and allowing the seeds to spread throughout the space. Cary-Anne makes remedies with the plants she grows, calling her garden Nature’s Pharmacy. Her garden consultations focus on medicine, healing, and the client’s needs rather than what’s trendy. She usually encourages wild plants to grow and only pulls weeds once she knows what they are and their benefits. Often, low-maintenance plants like dandelions and yarrows are a great starting point. 

Demonstation at All Things Fungi

Cary-Anne also believes in plant communication, meaning speaking to plants, asking them questions, and listening to what they have to say. You can read some words of wisdom in her upcoming book about foraging and folklore. It will be in the form of a 12-month foraging calendar with tables of plants to look for each month and accompanying potion recipes. The book also examines the magic and folklore of those plants. It will launch at the All Things Fungi Festival, where Cary-Anne will give a talk and run a workshop. If this is the year to acquaint yourself with something more profound, it’s the time to get a bit witchy; Cary-Anne has some fantastic content to offer.

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Vegetable grower, natural beekeeper and edible spaces designer. Lover of all soil and urban farming techniques. Former head of growing at Incredible Aquagarden.