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Vienna: Waiting for the wild garlic to blossom

Walter and his wife are currently locked in their home, but leave their home every day to go for a walk and pick wild garlic - a seasonal delicacy and an ingredient for soups and pesto. Walter is waiting for the wild garlic to start blossoming, when he cannot make fresh pesto any longer, but the curfew is lifted. Hopefully.

Since Monday 16 March, my wife and I are locked in our house and garden.

Food is delivered by our adult children, the university sealed off. But you are allowed to go for a walk, alone or with your partner (and kids and dogs), as long as you stay away from other people.

So we did - every day until now. For a while, the weather was perfect, and early greenery started to grow, including wild garlic: disliked in the old days, discovered in wartimes, now a seasonal delicacy.

"Wild garlic trousers", "Wild garlic picking" and "Wild garlic pesto in the making". Photos by Walter

Next to our house, there is large public park. It is open these days, because it is city property, donated to the people of Vienna by a furniture industrialist in 1934. It would be closed, if he had donated it to the people of Austria. All Federal gardens (Schönbrunn etc.) are closed, but the city administration judges the dangers of not going out versus the dangers of being infected outdoors in a different way.

It is an English-style landscape park, with pretty natural beech woods in the background. This is where we pick our wild garlic every year. This year, the season started with the curfew. Good for us, we were almost alone, and we collected the very first young leaves.

At home, we made wild garlic pesto and soup, and we still have some leaves left in the fridge. We will go picking again, and again. When the wild garlic starts blossoming, the season will be over, and the curfew will be lifted, hopefully.

This story was shared by Walter, who teaches at the geography department of the University of Vienna.

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