Botanical Property Surveys are one of the most fulfilling parts of my job: seeing landowners and stewards gain a whole new perspective on their land. I can't tell you how many times I've heard, "Wow, I walk past that plant every day and never knew it was edible/medicinal! Knowing what they can and, just as importantly, shouldn't eat, is a true moment of enlightenment.
I always tell folks, "Make it a party! Invite your friends, family, neigbors, whoever you want." My botanical property surveys include at least two hours of a private plant walk on your land, learning what's edible, medicinal, and poisonous. Some people bring small flags to label the plants or a map of the property to help jog their memory after the walk. Then I send you a spreadsheet after the walk, including all of this information, plus notes on the edible and medicinal aspects we discuss and more. (Find out more info and schedule here.)
On the property survey pictured above, in North Carolina, the host invited his neigbors and had a barbeque afterwards. Near the end of our walk on the late summer mountainside, I started talking about hen of the woods mushroom and how delicious it is. As nature magic often happens, within minutes we were walking on an old, abandoned logging road next to a giant red oak tree when it was impossible not to notice the cluster of hen of the woods growing right in the middle of the road! They love to grow on red oaks and were growing on the roots under the road. We had a delightful lunch of barbecued mushrooms!
"Magical Mountain is truly an appropriate name for Tracey and Peter's Farm! I was amazed at how agilely they scaled the mountainside. They wanted to find a way to live on their land full time and were thinking of creating a native nursery. They wanted to know what plants were already growing that they could propagate. They're pretty knowledgeable and already knew a lot about the plants that are there. But, there were some surprises...like this big witch hazel grove! We found some edibles they didn't know about and some rare medicinals, along with identifying some dryad's saddle mushrooms they had been wondering about. They were excited to know what they were and cook them up for dinner! I love dryad's saddle because a dryad is a tree nymph. It's so fun to imagine them riding on the mushrooms!
"Abby is amazing!!! She surpassed all my exceptions for my land survey! We can now use our property to its full potential since Abby has identified our edible and medicinal plants! She is an expert and was able to answer all of our questions thoroulghy. I would recommend this for every house hold and also makes a great fathers day gift!" - Rachel E.
Rachel and her husband got a survey for themselves and one for their parents in Kentucky, too.
On another property survey in North Carolina, for two next-door neighbors, we were in a lush, biodiverse forest by a flowing stream. The owner said she had just bought some pawpaw trees to plant and thought that area seemed like the perfect place. A feeling of nostalgia came over me as I'm originally from Ohio and have sweet memories of foraging midwestern pawpaws . I told them I'd never seen pawpaws growing wild in this region. More magic! Her neighbor looked down at a big-leaved plant and asked what it was. I racked my brain in disbelief, thinking it must be a magnolia. I rolled the leaf in my hand and sniffed, a pawpaw! There was a whole patch of them right where they wanted to plant some! Later we found lobster mushrooms and much more.
This lovely child wanted to learn more about plants from a real-life "sage". That was quite a title to live up to! They really enjoyed learning about how they could eat sassafras leaves directly from the tree like the animals, and it would actually help the tree to heal faster. Thanks to her teacher for recommending me! I have high hopes for her herbal future.
"Spending time with Abby is a gift. She is of-the-Earth. She helped us get to know a property that was new to us. Our survey piqed our senses and helped us to plan how we would move forward with loving on the land. So thankful for Abby bringing people and nature closer together." - Virginia R.
Ready to learn what food and medicine is growing on your land? Get all the details and schedule here.
Founder of the WANDER (Wild Artemisia Nature Discovery, Empowerment, and Reconnection) School, Botanist, Herbalist, & Professional Forager, Abby Artemisia, lives in rural Appalachian North Carolina. She learned about plants playing in the Midwestern woods of Ohio, working on organic farms, an herbal apprenticeship, a bachelor's degree in Botany from Miami University, and running her own tea business. She teaches about plant identification, native plants, and working with plants for food and medicine throughout the country. Her mission is offering nature and herbal education to create healing through connection with the natural world and each other. She is the author of The Forager's Wild Edible and Herbal Plant Cards and The Herbal Handbook for Homesteaders. She is the host of the podcast Wander, Forage, and Wildcract, founder of The WANDER School, and co-founder of The Sassafras School of Appalachian Plantcraft.