January 1970 | Lesson 1 : Abyssinian Shrivelfig
rofessor Bryce had arranged for the students to start off the new semester in greenhouse two. Like the others the space was set up with a small atrium at the entrance, hooks for hanging one's cloak and bag, a cabinet with various tools for each class, some stacked pots and miscellaneous tools and satchels were stored. A curved archway led into the main area, two long rows of wooden tables with padded stools, a bit of shelving under the tables for buckets and supplies. The first few months she had spent plenty of time with definitions of herbology, uses of plants both magical and non, all the basic care and information she felt they would need leading into the spring term. Books were all well and good, a few assignments and papers required before they could really dive deeper into the topic but there was nothing like practical learning by getting one's hands dirty.
Ushering the students in, she instructed them to hang their things up before taking an apron and proceeding into the large main stretch of space making up the body of the greenhouse. Despite the dreary weather outside, she was sure everyone would be comfortable from all the enchantments and charms placed on the building to keep the plants inside happy and temperature regulated. One Gryffindor boy seemed quite keen on trying to chat but was holding up others in the doorway to do so. "Yes, yes good afternoon Mister McLaggen, please do take a seat."
Greeting everyone as they arrived, she gave nods and smiles making sure to catch anyone a little too eager to start, fingers already prodding some of the plants."No wands today I'm afraid,"
A few groans that quickly dissipated as the professor finished her thought. "no textbooks either."
That seemed to warrant a pleasing sound throughout the room.
Rolling up the sleeves to her blouse and striding across the room in between the rows of students, Talia gave a wave of her hand shifting the enchanted glass casing of the building to a sunnier disposition allowing for the students to have more light to work by. "Alright, settle in and welcome back everyone! I trust you all had a fantastic holiday."
In the middle of the tables were pots housing a bushy plant in each, covered in lush green leaves made up of three lobe like shapes. Each plant had three to four purple bulbous looking fruit hanging from a thick stem. "We briefly talked about these before break but can anyone remember the proper name of these ones in particular?""I want to remind you all that while the purple fleshy bits appear to be a fruit, they are in fact a more akin to a flower. What we're seeking is the inside blossoms and fleshy parts from today's venture. Just like the other plants we've covered this year, much of these can be used for medicinal purposes and in potioneering. These are a key component to both the Shrinking Solution and-"
A rather eager student finished off her thought with an 'Elixir to Induce Euphoria.'"I'd like everyone to work with the person across from you today. You'll find the necessary tools at each seat. Be careful to pick the deep purple ones only and give a gentle squeeze to be sure they're ripe, not too hard and be sure to check for any bruising or holes as a few creepy crawlies tend to enjoy the way these taste. As you recall, no need to worry about toxic or harmful juices, spores, what have you. These plants are harmless in that sense but that does not mean you should be taste testing."
Her eyes lingered on a group of Gryffindor boys who continued to test her patience each class daring one another to sample anything appealing in the greenhouses.
Walking around the students, she motioned to the tools that sat next to them. A pair of shears, gloves with rubber grips on the fingers, a cloth, two rectangular glass containers, a metal scoop, a small paring knife and what appeared to be a heavy duty version of a kitchen peeler with a wooden handle. "I want each of you to harvest at least one of the shrivelfigs depending on what's available on the bush in front of you and set it aside, peels in one container and figs in the other please. Try not to get the purple liquid on you as you work, it might smell sweet but it leaves a rather horrid stain that takes some good scrubbing to get out. If you notice too much liquid coming from your peeling or on your gloves then you're pressing too hard and try to relax your grip."
Leaning over to give a pointed look at one student who was already playing around with the knife, she cleared her throat and rounded back to the front of the class. "I'll be walking around to help where I'm needed and once you've all finished peeling we'll move onto the next task!"