Gorse flowering on New Years day

Gorse flowers on New Years Day

Celebrating the New Year with new life – the gorse begins to blossom – such a hard working plant for us :
Ulex europeaus is dismissed as a weed by many, but its beauty is not its only benefit to us.
A legume which is converting nitrogen from the air into the soil all the time as well as having deep roots that bring nutrients up from low down. It loves disturbed ground, a true pioneer. Beware breaking it up, it sprouts from each part, as well as from severe cutting down. 
One simple pleasure is the scent on a warm day – almonds or coconut… depending on which aspect, and infusing the flowers in gin captures this to enjoy through the long dark winter. The flowers are also very popular with a variety of pollinators, any early insects will be pleased for these bright beacons. The buds can be pickled as capers.
Crofters have long used gorse bruised as fodder, a good wind shelter, and when it dries it makes super fast kindling, with older sections good hot burning firewood.
Covering veggie beds with pieces of gorse helps to keep the cats off.
We have let quite a lot grow too much and are gradually cutting it down, letting it regenerate to provide browse for the sheep, shelter for the hens, feeding our soils, filling our gin bottles !!
We are doing this gradually to make sure we leave enough for the wild birds to shelter in as the new growth regenerates.
More uses and information can be found at https://pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Ulex+europaeus
Gorse is definitely our friend.
Gorse is wonderful 
– nitrogen fixer 
– protects saplings
– early pollinator and late pollinator
– nectar 
– browse fodder
– GIN! flavouring
– wind break 
– kindling – burns REALLY hot and fast
– bird shelter 
– protect seedlings on garden beds 
– feeds soil when chipped 
– buds pickle as capers
– flowers edible in salads (ed)
– tea from young shoots
– dye from flowers 
– soil stabiliser 
– flea spray
– high potash