New Year/New Website

New Year/New Website

Happy New Year!

We're delighted to be able to open our new website this month, with a fully searchable catalogue of all our products, so you can find what you want more easily. Thanks to Benno White for the wonderful photos!

The site will also feature a weekly blog from me, Madeleine, full of nuggets about MC-related issues. I'll mostly be sharing information about the plants in the garden and fields surrounding our Sussex headquarters, many of them ingredients in Madeleine's Creams and Ointments.

Just a tiny precautionary note about identifying plants in the wild: if you're not sure what it is, don't touch or eat it. If you want to know more about a particular plant you could refer to our quarterly herbal newsletters, which are full of detailed information and clear colour pictures. Here's a link to the archive:

A few brave orange Calendula flowers are still blooming in the garden, offering their healing juices for the creams and ointments. They provide anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory, and anti-bacterial properties, and are soooo soothing for all sorts of skin complaints. They beautify and enrich winter salads too. Calendula must be one of the most generous of all herbs to grow: it flowers all summer and autumn and beyond, will glow rich gold colour all over the place, and can be put in sandwiches, salads, and tinctures; in the bath to soothe and heal; and in water for cats, dogs, and chickens! Calendula will self-seed which makes my heart sing every spring.

Talking of seeds, there is a seed swap and sale happening in nearby Forest Row on Saturday 4th February and Saturday 3rd March 10am to 1pm, at the Riverview Cafe, Station Road, RH18 5DW. For more information on the event visit And for more information on seeds  and swapping visit 

Clusters of young cleavers are already appearing in the south-facing hedge, the fresh new green looks and tastes delicious. They offer a good helping of two vital partners: flavanoids and Vitamin C.

Tender feathery fronds of the young Yarrow can be seen in the fields at this time of year, just outside my garden gate where I carefully imported it last year. Also known as Millifolium - a thousand leaves - it is a potent first-aid herb. For a field-dressing, pick some and rub the leaves into a mixture with your spit - then apply!

And Dandelions are appearing in the lawn. These familiar leaves and flowers are great in salads and sandwiches. Here's something to try: make one salad with torn leaves and another with cut. After about three minutes the torn leaves should taste better than the cut. Why? If you come back and read next month's blog I might tell you...

Madeleine x




  • Twice over the years I’ve spotted Hummingbird Clearwings lyiang their eggs.a0 Each time they laid a single emerald-green egg on top of an Arrowwood Viburnum (Viburnum dentatum) leaf.a0 This natural history moment was quite a thrill for this naturalist.a0 I’ve also encountered half a dozen full-sized Hummingbird Clearwing and Snowberry Clearwing caterpillars on a “walkabout,” looking for a safe place to pupate.a0 The first one was a complete mystery; who would it become?a0 The horn at the caterpillar’s tail end narrowed it down to one of the sphinx moth caterpillars.a0 I drew it and sent my sketch around to other naturalists.a0 No one had a clue (this was prior to the internet and terrific websites like BugGuide).a0 So, I set up an empty terrarium, gently placed it inside, and prepared to wait and watch.a0 It was late August.a0 It rolled around and around until it became a pupa hidden within bits and pieces of debris.a0 No one emerged that fall, but the following June a lovely Snowberry Clearwing emerged.a0 In the wild the pupa survives on the forest floor under fallen leaves . . . a wonderful excuse NOT to rake leaves!
    Posted by Troy on March 10, 2012

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