Archive for garden

In Garden of My Mind

Posted in Organic Gardens, Poems, Poems, Rhymes, Riddles, Spiritual, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on January 29, 2020 by Drogo

I did alot of digging and tilling by hand for years.

I also trimmed hedges and trees since i was a boy,

because it was just chore maintenance for our yard.

Then i earned a living working on organic farms; 

until i realized i could not competitively do hard labor anymore; 

and wanted to focus on other jobs like teaching and the military.

I prefer only working with plants on my terms now;

I enjoy nature in between indoor work, without a boss.

I worked so many years on gardens that i did not “own”, 

and then to have my own taken away from me with the sale of our house, 

has made me not want to get attached to gardens anymore.

The ways of working and designing for others only gets me so far.

It has come as a shock to me, to realize how attached I became to wanting

To be the master of my own garden and designs, or else to let it all go.

If i was able to walk out every morning into a garden that was mine for the rest of my life, then i would want to again shape a garden. 

The wilderness is a huge natural garden,

which requires less work to enjoy than a manicured artificial garden.

My efforts now are for the preservation of wild organic nature.

I am focused on protecting Nature for all to use, since i don’t “own” a garden.

I never want to leave the garden in my heart anymore, 

so i live with that state of mind as my goal.

–  Drogo

drogo in g2002

Garden City Chapters

Posted in Economics, ecovillages, Futurist, Organic Architecture, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on September 25, 2018 by Drogo

Chapter Summaries of ‘Garden Cities of Tomorrow‘ by Ebenezer Howard

  1. Town-Country Magnet
  2. Revenue – Agriculture
  3. Revenue – Town Estates
  4. Revenue – General Expenditures
  5. Revenue – Expenditure Details
  6. Administration
  7. Semi-Municipal Enterprise
  8. Pro-Municipal Work
  9. Some Difficulties Considered
  10. Combination of Proposals
  11. Path Followed Up
  12. Social Cities
  13. Future of London

 

1. Town-Country Magnet

6000 acres, 30,000 people in the city and 2000 in agriculture estates

Central council for creation and maintenance of necessary public works

(Four gentlemen of responsible positions)

Garden City planning: division of acres into 6 radiating sections and rings

Garden City built at center of 6000 acres, but only covers 1000 acres

6 large radiant boulevards (120 ft wide) divide the 6000 acres into 6 pie parts

6 circular avenues: circus and rings of beltways (not including bypass)

Central Park is 5 acres apx. of circle garden and street circus

First Ring is 1 acre public buildings around the city center

Second Ring is 6 garden parks radiating from Central Park

Third Ring is a Crystal Palace for industrial stores and market avenue

Fourth Ring is masonry town-houses and avenue

Fifth Ring is Grand Avenue (inner beltway) with restaurant gardens

Sixth Ring is outer perimeter of industrial factories, near a bypass

Agricultural estates on 5000 acres outside of city

 

2. Revenue of a Garden City – Agricultural and Industrial estates

Entire revenue is from rent and fees, not taxes

Urban rent is higher than rural land

Rent goes from residents and businesses to city government who owns all property

 

3. Revenue of Urban Estates (Town-houses, Restaurants, and Crystal Palace)

How to manage rates with cost of living and inflation

Urban Lot sizes are 20′ x 130′

4. Revenue Expenditures 1 – general observations

Accounting for how revenue supports municipal needs

Enterprises with extreme capital are not needed or desired

Small businesses are promoted in the interest of a functioning population

5. Revenue Expenditures 2 – details

Building construction and city planning: zoning, methods, details

Discussion of how 6 radiant sections and 6 rings function and support each-other

Major component size, cost, and usage.

Importance of cooperation: how to balance against selfish demands due to inter-dependence

Rent Budget goes to public pay, pensions, property maintenance, constructions

 

6. Administration: who governs what?

Most of us are both Individualists and Communists: we believe in freedom and community

Public and Private issues; temperance

Democratic politics and representation vs Bureaucratic appointments without elections

7. Local Business

Public markets are owned by the City

Retail Business is limited to the Crystal Palace with local options

Introduce tenants, prevent waste and pollution, fair competition to avoid monopolies

8. Municipal Work – pro-public service

Philanthropic charitable institutions, religious societies, and educational agencies.

Work placement office.

 

9. Difficulties of Nature and Humans

Challenges of nature, human nature, and artificial constructs will always exist.

Nothing is perfect in reality, we just do the best we can.

Better society is worth our efforts, although perfection is impossible.

  •  Chapter summaries to be continued later

 

32,000 people in medium Garden City population (58,000 larger Central City)

Rail lines and other public transportation need to connect workers to work places, and products to warehouses and shops. Distribution and traffic flow is critical for city function.

Link to original article on Garden Cities:  Garden Cities by E. Howard

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Garden City of Letchworth, England

Report by Drogo 1999 @ SCAD, Georgia USA. Ebenezer Howard’s first version of his book was published in 1898 , under the title ‘Tomorrow: A Peaceful Path to Real Reform’, and was revised in 1902. The version studied was ‘Garden Cities of To-morrow‘, published by M.I.T. press in 1965 (67 years after it was first written). The preface by J.H. Osburn and a commentary by Lewis Mumford called ‘The Garden Idea and Modern Planning’, were both written in 1945.

(to be continued)

Drogo’s additional notes:  I was contacted by Raphael Guena and told about his article on “two french architects who built 2 garden-cities near Paris a century ago. They are called Eugène Gonnot and Georges Albenque.”

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ON THE WILD SIDE

Posted in Organic Gardens, Poems with tags , , , , on October 24, 2015 by Drogo

ON THE WILD SIDE for September, 2015

by Christine Schoenemann (Maccabee)

Misunderstood but Beautiful (Part 2) : Tall Natives and Useful Pests

I just got in from collecting Japanese beetles from wild Evening Primrose flowers which are growing throughout my property. By 7 a.m. the bees are already busy on the yellow flowers, and the beetles are just waking up. Slowly I knock them into a container of water, careful not to interrupt the bees. Two things are accomplished by my doing this twice a day. First, I am saving the flowers from being devoured, and second, my chickens enthusiastically consume the crunchy bodies of these pests. Useful pests, I call them, providing extra protein and minerals for my birds.

The wild Evening Primrose used be seen in areas along roads which have not been mowed, in vacant fields and ditches if they are lucky, and in my gardens. Sadly I see very few of them this year, beyond my gardens, due to herbiciding and lots of mowing. I imagine most home owners would not like them since they grow much taller than the greenhouse cultivated primroses most gardeners buy. Perhaps this aversion is due to an over civilized fear of wild natives. Well, I have no fear, just curiosity. I have never seen my primroses grow as tall as they are this year which is most likely due to all the rain we had earlier this summer. My tallest plant towers above my head at a record breaking height of 9 feet. Now that’s tall !

For some reason I have a particular interest in tall, gangly, misunderstood plants. I suppose that is because I see their value for our pollinators, but mostly I believe it is because I admire them. In truth, I am blown away by the diversity of wild flora which are indigenous to this area, and have made it my mission to preserve as much as I can here on my property and elsewhere when possible, before they become extinct. I know my worry is legitimate since every year it seems many rare plants (see list at bottom of this article) have just disappeared from places I have seen them in the past. So, I am writing here to clear up misunderstandings about our interesting wild neighbors, and possibly to save them

Teasel, another plant which is normally not permitted to grow in typical gardens, can still be seen in areas along the highway and other unused places. It is not a thistle, though it looks like it. In my gardens I pamper it. It has multiple uses, primarily as a producer of beautiful lavender flowers which bees love. It is also an interesting component in dry plant arrangements which I make. Stately, but prickly, they are to be handled with care, preferably with a gloved hand. Presently I am cutting some of mine down now that they have flowered as I don’t want the seeds to scatter everywhere in my main garden where I also grow vegetables. I plan to scatter some of the seeds in the larger meadow before winter.

By far the most misunderstood wildflower of all is Golden Rod. I have learned through my reading that it is not the pollen producer that affects most people adversely. Ragweed is the culprit as it has very nondescript flowers and blooms at the same time as Golden Rod. Very sneaky of Ragweed, I would say. The pollen from Golden Rod is too heavy to be carried very far by the wind whereas ragweed pollen is very light. There are 16 species of Golden Rod throughout our country, and I happen to have about 4 or more species on my property. They are beginning to bloom, and I eagerly await the show ! All my various wild aster will bloom soon as well, so between the two of them my bees and butterflies will be well fed before the killing frost. Along with all these pollinators you can be sure I will be rejoicing as well !

The other day I nearly hit a Monarch butterfly which was caught between a road, parking lots, stores, and large grass deserts with no flowers in sight. It seemed confused and did not know where to go. This is a perfect example of a growing problem called “habitat fragmentation.”. Good-hearted people who plant flowers in their yards are doing a great service, but these same butterflies and bees we feed frequently must travel far and wide just to find other flowers to feed on or appropriate plants on which to lay their eggs. We all know the need of Monarchs for Milkweed, but there are many others, such as the larvae of the Fritillary butterfly for violets, the Checkerspot for Trutlehead flowers and the rare/endangered butterflies in the Blues Family for clovers and Lupine flowers.

Lately, and even over many years, I have been reading writings by prominent mystics and naturalists who all sing a similar theme song. This song is one of praise for creation and its awesome diversity which can aid us as humans to connect more intimately with ourselves and the Creator. This goes for everyone, even atheists and agnostics, for “things in nature are optimal teachers to help us discern how to be ourselves. We have been separated from the source of our identity and have to fall in love with it all over again “. Thus writes Belden Lane in his book Backpacking with the Saints, an amazing read full of wisdom.

And so, this Sunday morning the natural world is the temple in which I worship, today, and everyday. For me, and so many others, the amazing diversity of life forms on this planet are not only an expression of the infinite nature of their Creator, but also an expression of amazing love, without end, unless we humans choose to continue to destroy it. We always have a choice.

Some local natives which a rarely seen and loosing habitat: purple Swamp Milkweed, Goatsbeard, Moth Mullein, Bergamot, blue Lobelia, Vervain, Obedient plant, Deptford pinks, Cardinal flower, wild Columbine, Cinquefoils, St. Johnswort, Yarrow, Sweet Cicely, wild Sweet Clovers,etc..

BOG Peeps

Posted in Environmentalism, Organic Agriculture & Horticulture, Organic Architecture, Organic Development, Organic Gardens, Pagan, Psychology, Sustainability with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 31, 2013 by Drogo

Beautiful Organic Garden People

This art series advocates Organic Agriculture (Gardening / Farming / Foraging), Permaculture, and Sustainable Architecture. A series of ‘beautiful’ images of humans and animals, males and females, working or meditating or playing in the garden, farm field, barn, orchard, or wilderness…. poses not bound to traditional commercial or pinup surface objectification… in favor of equal-rights showing strength, intelligence, and skill. One idea being that people will see attractive or cute people and other sentient beings gardening, and more and more people will want to garden and feel or look like them; and by relating to them, they will want to garden; and vice versa. Based on “Organic Pinup Girls” project, expanded.

Plant Weed*

Pocahantas*

Mattock Hoes*

SCOD Hoveland*

flower cutngather*

women-planting-tree-outdoor*

Apollo on Apollo*

angel pixie apples*

Adevik*

Celtic Couple 2*

Grow Together*

Vegirl_1*

Cheri Tyvm*

Keith psyche

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* BOG PEEP Book – for sale on Amazon

Journalist Laura Flanders about SCOD Bog Peeps – “If I had to pick an avatar from those cool Organic gardeners, I’d go for the green haired woman with the shoulder tattoo and the shovel. Funnily enough, I just walked inside after a morning spent wielding a machete in an overgrown garden.” – in an email to Drogo 8/2/2017

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Savannah, Georgia

Posted in Alternative Architecture, Historic Architecture, Organic Architecture, Recommendations & Tributes, Sustainability with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 16, 2013 by Drogo

Historic Architecture, Environmental Landscape, and Urban Social Art

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Savannah has the historic integrity of an ivy-league campus, yet for the poor as well as rich. Yes, it is very much the old pirate ‘Port Royal’ still, but in some ways it also surpasses the nobility of elite university campuses. Even the SCAD (Savannah College of Art & Design) campus is spread throughout the city, and SCAD classes are held in renovated industrial buildings, often with Richardsonian strength; so that liberal education is fully-integrated with the city. As far as competing with modern industrial metropolitan cities, Savannah has plenty of modern and post-modern architecture, and SCAD teaches cutting-edge technology; but it has no desire to be as massively impersonal as New York, or any other major city.

Savannah urban design is overwhelmingly utopian, despite there being dystopian flavors as well. The main streets force cars to either park or drive around the eleven park squares (circuses), while pedestrians can go straight through on sidewalks and bike lanes. It is easy to find any place in the formal city because there are no diagonal streets, one tall building in the middle (DeSoto Hotel), and a few tall buildings downtown parallel with the Savannah River. The downtown main-streets (River Street) on Saint Patrick’s Day are celebrated on par with Mardi-Gras. There are so many unique aspects to Savannah, from its very origins. The basic ‘Roman encampment’ grid urban layout is flavored by multiple circuses with vegetation. Live-oaks, palms, and crepe-myrtle trees are naturally hung with Spanish moss. From sandy soil hedges, herbs, flowers and grasses are also publicly grown for the enjoyment of all.

I will find out more about the city founders, besides Oglethorpe; specifically the Native American chief of the local Creek Indians, because he seems to deserve the same level of respect as the English founder, Oglethorpe. The British and Indians were friends, and one of the largest monuments in a prominent park is dedicated to the Indian Chief’s grave. Southern hospitality is less surface courtesy in Savannah, and more a part of its essence; in regards to integration of whites and blacks, international representation, multi-culturalism, and willingness to welcome even enemies (like General Sherman during the Civil War).

There are several ways to consider the social types that comprise the ‘daily population’ of Savannah. There are five basic social types; the rich residents (white blue-blood aristocracy and new-money millionaires), the poor working-class (merchant and service residents and workers), the street beggars (homeless, hustlers, artists), SCAD students (artists, professors, staff), and tourists (pedestrian, trolley, horse-buggy).

According to Dr. Hsu-Jen Huang (SCAD Architecture Professor), Savannah has been growing, even during the recession. In ten years, the city population and SCAD enrollment have doubled. Some buildings still fall between the cracks, but for every loss two more renovations or new constructs emerge. After the 1994 book Midnight In the Garden of Good and Evil, Savannah has continued to blossom as one of the best cities in the World. Many of its qualities were always inherent in the original urban design, and it continues to grow because of accepted differences.

From the American Revolution, to the Civil War, and beyond; Savannah embraces its strange stories. It has an other-worldly, old world, old town feel. Ghost tours are quite at home with the lamp-lights, cobblestone streets, brick walkways, and French ironwork balconies. It is in fact a small city; one which favors pedestrian traffic more than automobiles. The whole downtown is walkable, and locals often easily commute with bicycles as well (as I did for 3 years).

There are so many fun things to do there, it might be hard to know were to begin; if Savannah were not an immediately immersible, hospitable environment. The whole city is a memory garden, which literally blooms because of all the flowers. There are less flowers and leaves in the Winter, but Fall, Winter, and Spring are best weather-wise; as there is rarely snow, and Summers are often walls of heat and humidity (which it is known for even during Fall and Spring).

Architecturally Savannah is truly unique, with historic world and southern romantic blends. Town-houses often have the side-porch design, as with nearby Charleston, SC. The cast-iron railings and french dormers have that New Orleans feel. Parks and trees really do make a huge difference for traffic. Even while continuing to grow, Savannah is still one of the most colorful and pedestrian friendly cities in America. I can say after living there, the magic is real; including the variety of character personalities that the famous book alludes to.

Midnight In the Garden of Good & Evil describes much of the architectural and social feel of the town. ‘Midnight’ the book has much more analysis of detail, while the film has literally has more visual images. I lived in three parts of town, and often passed by famous landmarks on daily commutes to classes. The main character’s house (Mercer Mansion) is on Bull Street along a square, towards the largest city park, Forsyth Park. Forsyth Park was my favorite park that I loved living on, because of the large open grass lawns, largest and most beautiful fountain, organic paths, and shady flora. There I was free to publicly practice Tai-Chi, hippy folk music, or jogging without much bother.

Most of this essay describes the utopian aspects of Savannah, but this paragraph should put some of the dystopian perspectives in context. The poor and the dead, out-number the rich and the living. Southern swamp-lands naturally have a salty entropic power that corrodes metals, moisture that promotes the decay of organic matter, and massive humidity that stifles productive activity, while encouraging roaches and gnats. The humane social ‘decadence’ of the town, allows for an ease of poverty. Kindness tolerates and sometimes falls prey to hustlers. Vandalism and theft are common crimes in Savannah, with the occasional mugging (typical of cities in general). Although crimes are committed by lower classes, the majority (which are poor) are respectful, lawful, and often generous. So you see despite the ‘scariness’, actual dangers are minimal for a city.

Savannah’s name appropriately indicates the climate heat, and the flat field look of the surrounding wetland marsh grasses. Old pirate maps referred to the lands inland along the River as ‘Savannah Land’. Google Street view is very impressive, with realism. It really helps get the feel for the freedom of moving through the town by photographic vista. In the 1990’s we were taking panoramic photos for architecture projects so it really feels appropriate. Day trips easily include the famous Bonaventure Cemetery, Oatland Island Wildlife Center, and Tybee Island Beach.

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Two Simple Spiral Gardens

Posted in Arts (Design & Performance), Organic Gardens with tags , , , , , , , , , , on May 6, 2012 by Drogo

Two basic plans for spiral gardens. The green represents vegetation (herbs, flowers, grasses, shrubs, hedges, veggies, etc), the brown is for tilled soil edging (regularly cleared using hoe, mattock, etc), and the grey is the path made using gravel, bricks, blocks, tiles, sand, or whatever you want. The center of the designs can also feature sculptures, bird baths, etc….

Free Your Mint, Let It Go Wild!!!

Posted in Organic Gardens with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on April 19, 2012 by Drogo

I suppose it is fair warning to tell people that Mints tend to want to take over a garden, just in case they do not want that. I however, am perfectly happy with my 7 types of mint taking over the whole lawn if they want; and they are welcome to leave my property and go visit other places if they so choose. Sure you can try to wall it in, or keep it in a pot, but I say let it go! Stop trying to control mint, when it is such a perfect plant, much better than lawn grass (or crab-grass). In fact it is my favorite type of plant because it is so independent, and edible, and gives us nice flowers to share with the bees and butterflies.

In the photos you can see how mint looks when it is given the freedom to explore a garden. The photo is taken after years of trying to control the mints. The year before the photos were taken, the entire garden was stacked with wood and burned in a bonfire. The mint regrew from their own roots. Years after the photos, trucks and bulldozers drove over the site crushing everything. However the mint is back…on its own!

You can clear areas of the mint to temporarily grow other things, like vegetables (see photos for a center crop of squash), and then when the veggies are done, the mint will close the gap again as only the strongest weeds can. Why fight such a beneficial and pleasant herb? I say, let the mint grow!!! Peppermint, Spearmint, Lemonbalm, Beebalm, and even the mighty Applemint. Let it grow, let it grow, let it grow. Go “mintal” and get “balmy”.

(photos taken at Odd Fellow Lodge Garden in Harpers Ferry, WV)

 

Velvet-leaf Indian-mallow Weed

Posted in Organic Gardens with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 15, 2012 by Drogo

Name:  Velvet-leaf, Abutilon theophrasti Medic.

Other Names:  Elephant ear, Indian-mallow, Butter-print, Abuliton, Pir-marker, abutilon feuille de velours

Family: Mallow Family (Malvaceae)

General Description: Annual, reproducing only by seed. Resembles a small Sunflower plant, with very similar fury serrated leaves, but distinguished by  tiny yellow flowers and rotund seedpods. This weed is targeted by industrial farmers for annihilation. It usually grows less than 3 feet tall in gardens, but on farms has been know to grow over 6 feet tall.

Uses:  Cord can be made from dried stem fibers

 

(Large indian mallow-weed growing among corn in a farm field)

 

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Organic Agriculture Pin-Up Girls

Posted in Arts (Design & Performance), Cooperatives / Communities / Networks / Travels, Environmentalism, Organic Gardens, Pagan with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 24, 2012 by Drogo

Main-stream America should be more aware of just how sexy organic farming and gardening can be! The fossil-fuel industry has had the market for pin-up girls for far too long, so now it is time to advertise for alternative and renewable livelihoods.

This is a neo-pagan attempt to advocate organic gardening / farming. A series of sexy modern-feminist styles related to paper-doll, cut-and-paste, cartoon tracery of women. Working in the garden or farm field or orchard…. poses not bound to traditional pinup surface objectification… in favor of equal-rights showing strength, intelligence and skill. One idea being that people will see sexy women gardening, and want to garden and look like them; and by looking like them, they will want to garden; and vice-versa.

This is the first collection of “Organic Farm and Garden Women”, and more will be added as the art is created, expressed, and captured.

This tryptic scene is collage from Knight’s paintings and other random models.

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Girl with fruit on stone steps

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Gathering wild plants

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Two women planting a Tree with a shovel

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Four women working the soil in a garden, and composting dead-fall

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*  Sun Goddess

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Girl gardening with a hoe

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Girl watering a garden using rain-water cistern pump-hose

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Pixie Harvesting Goblin Fruit from a Tree

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Girls planting plants

Plant Weed

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Girl gardening with a rake

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Girl with Basket of Veggies

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Mugwort (Artemisia Vulgaris)

Posted in Nature Studies, Organic Gardens with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 15, 2011 by Drogo

Smooth Garden Tobacco

Historically Mugwort was also called Sailor’s Tobacco. It can be smoked, chewed, eaten, brewed in water for tea, cooked as an herb, or used as potpourri. Mugwort leaf is similar to Mums, Wormwood, Sweet Annie, and Monkshood. The flowers are small white or magenta clusters that easily reseed themselves annually, and spread with multiple individual root bases and stems nearby (not as a unified root group clusters like catmint or lemon balm). It is smoother and more mild than tobacco or pot, so it blends nicely with those.

Mugwort grows as an annual from Spring to Fall, dies, and grows back next year from its own dropped seeds. My experience chewing it is that it numbs the tongue, and its taste is mildly bitter like tea leaves. Inhaling Mugwort smoke has a Thujone chemical effect on the mind, somewhere between Nicotine (tobacco) and THC (pot). I have had very vivid dreams after ingesting and smoking a few pinches of crunched Mugwort leaf. Mugwort remains very magical.

I highly recommend trying Mugwort if you like Tobacco or Cannabis (pot). The side effects do not seem to be worse than either of those; however those with allergy to pollen may have an allergic reaction; additionally there is some evidence that it somehow over-stimulates the uterus in pregnant women which can lead to abortion. Testing is not conclusive yet. Further more Mugwort is completely FREE and LEGAL and not lethally toxic or poisonous (with possible exception of fetuses). To be safe, women should not use mugwort while pregnant*.

Other names for Mugwort:  Artemisia Vulgaris, Witch Herb, Old Man, Old Uncle Harry, Artemis Herb, Muggons, Muggins, Mugger, Sailors Tobacco, Apple Pie, Smotherwort, Felon Herb, St Johns Plant, Cingulum Sancti, Johannis, Mother’s Wort, Maiden Wort, etc..

* Some claim it can cause miscarriages because it stimulates menstruation, so it should be avoided during pregnancy.

Are You Going to Harpers Faerie?

Posted in Poems, Rhymes, Riddles with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 11, 2011 by Drogo

(Recited to the tune of Scarborough Fair)

 

Are you going to Harpers Faerie?

Pep-per-mint, Lemon, and Bee-Balm.

Remember me as one of the Faerie.

Herbs on the hill, spirits to calm.

 

 

Have them make me some peppermint tea.

Pep-per-mint, Lemon, and Bee-Balm.

With rain-water and local honey.

When I die, my soul it will calm.

 

 

Faerie dust shall be spread on high-land.

Pep-per-mint, Lemon, and Bee-Balm.

Tell them this must be done by their hand.

When I die, my soul it will calm.

 

 

Plow the land with the horns of a stag.

Pep-per-mint, Lemon, and Bee Balm.

Then sow some seeds while smoking a fag.

When I die, my soul it will calm.

 

 

Harvested with gauntlets of leather.

Pep-per-mint, Lemon, and Bee-Balm.

Reap it up in a bunch of heather.

When I die, my soul it will calm.

 

 

Tell them to dry it in an old Oak tree.

Pep-per-mint, Lemon, and Bee-Balm.

Gather with a basket of mulberry.

When I die, my soul it will calm.

 

 

Have them steep it in yonder cistern.

Pep-per-mint, Lemon, and Bee-Balm.

Make sure to add, some Bakerton Cat-Nip.

When I die, my soul it will calm.

 

 

When thou has finished thy task.

Pep-per-mint, Lemon, and Bee Balm.

Come to me, a favor to ask.

* When I die, my soul will be calm.

Garden Plants

Posted in Organic Gardens with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 8, 2011 by Drogo

Garden Plants

6 types: Flowers, Leafy Plants, Herbs, Vegetables, Fruits, Berries

Gardens can be made of many things. There are rock gardens, sculpture gardens, vegetable gardens, herb gardens, and flower gardens to name a few types. They can also range in size from a small patch to almost farm field size. Also the variety of combinations is endless.

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FLOWERS

Wild Flowers

Violets, Blue Chicory, Tansy, Dandelions

Dandelions….thats a big one for me, its so insane how people are brainwashed to hate them and seek to poison and kill all of them, like clovers, violets, wild spinaches etc etc; also the complexity of biodiversity studies to me is more important than how “neat and clean” the garden looks. To me the species of plants, their relationships with themselves, bugs, animals, and how self sustaining they are is much more important to me than conventional aesthetics. How we are taught to look at an “unweeded” garden in disgust, and say it needs work, even though while looking more natural, the weeding is done subtly and selectively for maximum efficiency of time and effort and to make it look less manicured and more independent.

Bees

Pollination

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LEAFY PLANTS (Green and Ornamental types)

grasses, weeds, bushes, dwarf trees, hostas, ferns, hemp

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HERBS

10 most common herbs:

mints, oregano,  frankincense, myrrh, lavender,  parsley, sage, rosemary, thyme, basil

other herbs (some are also considered flowers, spices or vegetables):

anise, artemisia, angelica, bay laurel, borage, burnet,   calendula, caraway, chamomile, chervil, chives, clove tree, coriander, cilantro, cinnamon, dill, ferns, fennel, feverfew, garlic, geranium, germander, hesperis, horehound, hyssop, lovage, licorice, lamb’s ear, mullein, marjoram, marijuana, nasturtium, nutmeg, perilla, santolina, sorrl, spices, pepper (black), rue, savory, tansy, tarragon, valerian, verbena, queen anne’s lace, woodruff, wormwood, yarrow

 

Peppermint

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VEGETABLES

Beans, potatoes, carrots, beets, squash, (to be continued…)

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FRUIT

Apples, Pears, Melons, Cherries, Plums, Pawpaw, Figs, Tropical fruits (not for outdoor areas that get snow)

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BERRIES (edible)

Raspberries, snake berries, strawberries, blackberries, mulberries, blueberries,

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*** THIS ARTICLE IS STILL UNDER CONSTRUCTION ***

Garden Cities by Ebenezer Howard

Posted in Arts (Design & Performance), Book Reports, Cooperatives / Communities / Networks / Travels, Critical Commentary of Civilization, ecovillages, Sustainability with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 1, 2011 by Drogo

From the book Garden Cities of To-morrow by Ebenezer Howard 1898, 1902

Ebenezer Howard was a shop keeper’s assistant, farmer, writer, sociologist, and statesman. Howard valued good living conditions, democracy, nature, human rights, and personalities. Howard lived in England and America (London, Nebraska, and Chicago). Osburn and Mumford added notes that introduce, critique, review, and praise Howard. JH Osburn claims Howard may have been influenced by Bellamy’s book Looking Backward. According to Lewis Mumford, Howard was also inspired by Spense, Buckingham, Wakefield, George, Kropotkin, and Howard’s wife Elizabeth Ann Bills of Nuneaton (who loved intellect and country-side). Howard’s narrow building lots were handed down from medieval English dimensions (20 x 130 ft).

Garden Cities of To-morrow begins by describing the “Three Magnets”: Town, Country, and Town-Country. Howard explains why we are attracted to the best of both Town and Country aspects. Town-Country benefits have cooperation, beauty, nature, green fields, green parks, good utilities, good commerce, social opportunity, high wages, low rents, low price rates, and low pollution!

In most chapters, Howard proposes how Garden Cities would function with diagrams. He describes inter-connected urban nodes. Central City is shown with a constellation of satellite micro-cities (garden cities, towns, villages, developments). Garden Cities at their heart have a central garden, with rings of dwellings, shops, roads, industry, fields, and farms. The ordered layout is meant to improve biological, social, economic, and personal life for everyone.

Howard considered some difficulties with analytic self-criticism. He saw the weak points in his plans, and how they might fail. This foresight can allow us to prepare for the worst problems, to better shape designs for the future. He maintained that human ideals are worth trying; quoting Darwin “Selfish and contentious men will not cohere, and without coherence nothing can be accomplished,”. Howard believed that Socialism and Individualism must come together in the future to realize a true, vital organic society and state.

Ebenezer Howard felt that Garden Cities would work, because the plans were based on understanding human nature. He indicated that Urban or Communal failures are a result of the ‘Duality Principle’ (Janus). Ignorance of the Duality Principle allows kindred mistakes, by regarding one principle action to the exclusion of others. Howard believed we are all communists to some degree, even those that shudder at being told this, because we believe in roads, parks, and libraries. Individualism is no less excellent, in his mind, as he compares good society to an orchestra that plays together, but practice separately. Expense, however, always tends to get in the way of progress.

Sir Raymond Unwin worked with Howard. In 1903 they designed and established the first Garden City in England, named ‘Letchworth’. Letchworth proved a success, and in 1919 the second Garden City ‘Welwyn’ was founded. By 1950 the cities had a combined population of over 40,000. The account of their success is given in Purdom’s Building of Satellite Towns. Some key points regarding the study of Garden Cities are: how urban and rural districts connect, health and sanitation, zoning limitations of density and sprawl allowing light, gardens, and leisure, harmony rather than standardization, communications, ownership and cooperative leasing, public freedom and choice of enterprise.

Contemporary critics dismissed “Garden Cities” as more akin to the fantasy of H.G. Wells, than to the realities of urban planning. Despite the critics, Garden Cities of To-morrow is cited in countless planning bibliographies, and provides an organic alternative to bleak industrial future city-scapes. So what happened? Our suburbs in America do not follow his models, although some are better than others. Howard wanted to keep the city, town, and country distinct from each other, unlike amorphous suburban sprawl. He wanted more green around and in cities, by confining and condensing urban development, to keep the country rural, pastoral, and agrarian; yet integrating their foundations for healthy and function living.

“The pathway of any experiment worth achieving, is strewn with failures. Success is, for the most part, built on failure.”  – Ebenezer Howard

“Creative work always arises by the synthesis in one’s mind of material from otherwise unrelated sources…”  – J.H. Osburn

Related Article:  Garden City Chapters

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Thomas Jefferson’s Landscape Architecture

Posted in Arts (Design & Performance), Book Reports, Historic Architecture, Nature Studies, Organic Gardens with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 1, 2011 by Drogo

Essay on the Organic Design Philosophy of Thomas Jefferson

Interdisciplinary Concerns of a Colonial Landscape Architect:

Architecture, Agriculture, Botany, Horticulture, Anthropology, Sociology, Geography, Geology, Entomology, and Zoology

 

Ruins of architecture help to distinguish historic landscape architecture from organic terrain that may or may not have been influenced by human designs. Masonry is perhaps the most enduring milestone when it comes to lasting remnants of changes we have made to our landscape. Plants, animals, and soils are more organic and form-shifting. Organic elements of landscape designs change annually as their elements grow, die, or move.

 

Keeping a landscape design controlled even to the desired proportions is virtually impossible. Plants are almost always too small, too big, or in the wrong spot. Trees provide the most for us: shade, nuts, berries, shelter, shade, fuel, etc… but they are also capable of great destruction as well if trunks or branches fall upon animals or architecture.  An understanding of relative growth proportions in the environment can go a long way towards ease of maintenance.

 

Most Americans know Thomas Jefferson as a Founding Father first, and second as architect and politician; but few know of his feelings and designs towards Landscape. Landscape designers were called “Master Gardeners” or “Landscape Gardeners” back then. We know from his writings that his primary influences were English Gardens and Classical Architecture. He was well versed in contemporary French and English literature and philosophy, and experienced various landscapes during his travels.

 

Thomas Jefferson never fully accepted any one style or tradition. Although he was familiar with the Colonial mundane rectangular yard gardens, he was always innovating new hybrid ideas. Jefferson’s accumulated knowledge of surveying, architecture, climate, plants, and soil gave him tools beyond most other landscape gardeners. Jefferson’s approach to landscape design included both ornamental and utilitarian concepts regarding species, form, and layout.

 

As a child, Jefferson was home schooled in ancient literature and classical music. Learning also took place out-of-doors and so he came to love nature with infinite fascination. Jefferson developed his knowledge of the natural environment from first hand experience as well as books. In 1760 he attended the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, where he founded a secret burlesque society known as the “Flat Hats” with a group of friends.

 

Jefferson became a devotee of improving American design with an open mind to World designs, and the natural environment of each site. He believed in contour plowing, as designing with nature was beautiful and practical. As he began traveling he embraced Palladian Architecture. These influences are evident later in his home, Monticello, when we see the geometric architecture combined with organic landscaping.

 

According to his “Garden Book”, he was able to bud-graft cherry trees, and started planting at Monticello 2 years before be began building the house. During this time he was also practicing law (represented 68 cases). In his gardens he planted forwardest peas, midling peas, asparagus, strawberries, purple hyacinth, narcissus, carnations, Indian pink, marygold, globe amaranth, auricular, double balsam, tricolor, Dutch velvet, sensitives, cockscomb, Prince’s feather, lathyrus, lilac, Spanish broom, umbrella, laurel, almond trees, muscle plumb trees, and Cayenne pepper. Monticello means “small mountain”. He fit it upon a terraced hill with rectangular and serpentine designs. In his notes he showed plans for garden olitory, pleasure grounds, spirals, and curves. Both Monticello and University of Virginia have a “temple” with colonnades that embrace a courtyard. The Monticello courtyard is Egg shaped because of the paths and hill, although both cloisters are rectangular.

 

Some conclusions can be drawn about the study and practice of Thomas Jefferson’s landscape architecture. Nature is a contractor for landscape architecture, because plant production in landscape was like human production in buildings. Designs are judged by their “finished product”; so in landscape architecture, products include flowers, fruits, and vegetables. His preferred building block was brick, but he made exceptions for wood and earth. He built several pise’ (mud packed in wooden forms) with General John Cocke at Bremo plantation. Jefferson believed that log and chinking was better insulated than scantling (wood frame) and plank siding. He believed it was foolish to ignore foods that grow easily nearby. “Useful” was his most used word.

 

Thomas Jefferson died in 1826, and it was not until 1899 that Landscape Architecture was considered a profession by society. His only complete book “Notes on the State of Virginia” remains one of the most comprehensive observations of natural environmental conditions.

 

Reference: Thomas Jefferson Landscape Architect by Nichols and Griswold

 

Poison Ivy – The Worst Weed

Posted in Cooperatives / Communities / Networks / Travels, Nature Studies, Organic Gardens with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 26, 2010 by Drogo

Poison Ivy is the Worst Weed


From the Norris NPR interview of Dr. Lewis Ziska, plant physiologist for the USDA:

Many people are allergic to poison ivy, a vine with triple leaf clusters.

“Even if you barely brush up against it, you can get an angry, weeping, contagious, red rash that takes weeks to heal. Well, it turns out that poison ivy, along with its voracious cousins poison oak and poison sumac, is even more of a nuisance this summer. The plants are spreading faster, growing larger, showing up in new places and becoming more toxic. It’s the kind of thing that’s so scary, it almost deserves its own soundtrack.”

So why is Poison Ivy the worst weed in 2010?

“One of the things that we think is occurring is that as carbon dioxide is increasing in the atmosphere. Carbon Dioxide is a basic greenhouse gas, but it’s also plant food. And plants take that carbon, and they convert it into sugars and carbohydrates and so forth.

“But not all plants respond the same way to that resource, and we think that vines, particularly vines like poison ivy or kudzu or other noxious weeds, seem to show a much stronger response to the change in CO2 than other plant species. So on average, the poison ivy plant of 1901, can grow up to 60 percent larger as of 2010 just from the change in CO2 alone, all other things being equal.

“And as a result of that change, we see not only more growth but also a more virulent form of the oil within poison ivy. The oil is called urushiol, and it’s that oil that causes that causes that rash to occur on your skin…”

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Unfortunately, pulling poison ivy (if you are not allergic) often breaks the vine off above ground, and leaves the root system underground. This is like the Sorcerer’s Apprentice chopping the mops in half, and they multiply like a hydra head. So as much as an organic gardener hates to admit it, poisoning poison ivy is the best way to fight it. Just one problem: Poisons do not work very well either. Here are some photos of Poison Ivy after using 2 different brands of “Poison Ivy Herbicide” after 2 weeks. While dumping the herbicides on the areas will kill everything there, you can see here a few squirts of poison sometimes barely wilts the leaves, even when there is no rain.

note: Poison Ivy is the vine with 3 leaves, below on the ground is common English Ivy

Although I have mercy on most other wild plants that people call weeds, I have no mercy on poison ivy because my mother is very allergic to it. Poison Ivy threats to take over as many gardens as it can get itself into, and after years of killing it, it has remained in the same area for over 40 years. Somewhere underground, there must be a mother root of poison ivy continuously sending out branches. Crabgrass and Wisteria are the same way; there seems to be no way to stop them from coming back within a 40 foot area. If you have any success stories, please post them below!

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Top Five Worst Weeds (not useful or harmful)

1. Poison Ivy

2. Crab Grass

3. Wisteria & Kudzu (aesthetic but strong, fast growing and extremely destructive vines)

4. English Ivy, Virginia Creeper, Honey Suckle (aesthetic but damaging vines)

5. Thistles, Briers, Burrs

Top Five Best Weeds (useful as food for humans and bees)

1. Lambs Quarters

2. Dandelions

3. Clovers

4. Mints

5. Wild Spinaches, Mustards, Flowers, etc…