I've been a keen amateur botanist since I was a child, when my Mum and Grandad taught me the names of wildflowers and trees. As soon as we had settled into the cottage I found a patch of cow parsley up the lane and examined it. I'd not seen any at close quarters before. It's a sort of tiny umbrella with green spokes, attached to which are tiny sprays of pale cream, exquisitely lacy florets. I've even seen bees sheltering beneath it during rain showers. When the flowers have finished the seedheads punctuate the hedgerows and remain until after Christmas, sometimes covered in frost. Their silhouettes make winter more beautiful. Cow parsley became an instant favourite of mine.
As time passed I realised that cow parsley wasn't the only species with this parasol-like flower shape. Hogweed. wild parsnip, hedge parsley, wild carrot and fennel are fellow umbellifers or umbels. I began to learn the exact few weeks when each species was flowering and realised that there are umbels flowering in the hedgerows and woods of various shapes and sizes from April until October. This is a cheering thought.
I've long been keen to find a way to crochet a version of this flower form. A three dimensional version would be a challenge, but I began to adapt a mandala pattern by making a semi-circular version, simplifying it and adding some double trebles as a cluster of stems and it began to look promising. After some tinkering, more simplifcation and a change from white to cream I think my umbellifer garland might be ready for others to have a try. I'd so love to hear what you think and if you make one. (I'm silverpebble2 on Instagram - message me there if you prefer)
How to crochet cow parsley/hedge parsley/hogweed/wild/carrot/the umbellifer of your woolly dreams (ish)
I used a 3.5mm hook with Sirdar Snuggly baby bamboo in 'willow'
and a dk cream/ecru wool/cotton blend (although any white or cream dk yarn would be fine)
sk - skip that stitch/stitches
ch - chain
ss - slip stitch
dc - double crochet
tr - treble crochet
dtr - double treble crochet
To make a double treble crochet stitch yarn over twice, insert hook, yarn over, pull through (four loops on hook), yarn over, pull through two loops, yarn over, pull through two loops, yarn over, pull through the final two loops on hook. This makes a very 'tall' stitch, which I've used to make the slender, multiple 'stems' of the cow parsley.
To begin use the green yarn to ch6 & join with a ss
Row 1: ch3, 11 tr into ch ring (ensure your tr are close together so a semi-circle forms), turn
Row 2: ch9, *sk 1 tr, dtr into the next tr, ch5* rpt * * four more times, dtr into last tr, turn
Row 3: Switch to cream/ecru yarn: ch 1, *7 dc into 5 ch sp* rpt four more times, turn
Row 4: *ch 3, sk 1 dc, ss into next dc* rpt * * 2 more times, ss in next dc, *ch 3, sk 1 dc, ss into next dc* rpt * * 2 more times, ss in next dc, *ch 3, sk 1 dc, ss into next dc* rpt * * 2 more times,, ss in next dc, *ch 3, sk 1 dc, ss into next dc* rpt * * 2 more times,, ss in next dc, *ch 3, sk 1 dc, ss into next dc* rpt * * 2 more times
Break yarn and weave in ends.
To make a 'string' for your garland and attach your crocheted cow parsley flowers to it use your green dk yarn:
ch 30, take your first flower & hold so that it hangs downward with the green, straight edge along the top and the white lacy curved edge downward.
dc along that top green edge to attach the flower into the garland. I did the following:
* 2 dc into the edge of the 1st white lacy portion,
5 dc into space made by dtr ( the first 'stem'),
2 dc into the 'side' of the tr,
2 dc in central ch space,
2 dc into the 'side' of the tr
5 dc into space made by dtr (the fifth 'stem'),
2 dc into the edge of the 2nd white lacy portion,*
ch 22, rpt * * for as many flowers as you have made
ch30, fasten off
Hang your garland and add a bit of woolly hedgerow to your gaff.