Archive for gardens

Misunderstood but Beautiful – Flowers as People

Posted in Organic Gardens, Poems with tags , , , , , , , , on September 12, 2015 by Drogo
Much of the beauty and value of the natural world will be missed,
and lost, if it is constantly condemned as unimportant, and destroyed.“
– from Garden Ramblings

In a very real way, flowers are a lot like people. Fragile, they are born vulnerable, and if fortunate to receive the proper care, will thrive and bear much goodness. However, many people, like flowers, are misunderstood. Some of us are late bloomers and get cut down while struggling to grow, while others of us may express ourselves in the wrong way, or the wrong place, and are criticized.

True, it is about the world of plants and flowers that I mostly write, but the connection between humans and the natural world being what it is – ever constant and essential—it is ofttimes impossible to separate the two. Many of our greatest writers and teachers refer to nature, recognizing the wisdom that is to be gained if we but open our hearts and our minds to it. Many of these people have been misunderstood as well.

Four of my very favorite wildflowers are the lavender bergamot, rarely seen anymore due to mowing, the shy blue chicory, the wild asters of which I have 4 species on my property, and the tall rarely seen white and yellow wild sweet clovers (which look nothing like clovers, but are in that family). Both chicory and bergamot are blooming profusely right now here at my Mystic Meadows and I can never see them enough. The wild bergamot has cross pollinated with its relative the gorgeous red monarda, creating two new shades of purple and maroon. I am blown away by their beauty and their usefulness. Standing very still by each large cluster of flowers which are shoulder high, the hundreds of flowers seem literally in motion with the activity of hummingbird moths, various butterflies, and bumble bees large and small. Of course, even a hummingbird cruises by for a nip on the way to its favorite mimosa tree. Sadly, I see very few honey bees this year.

Chicory is the most tenacious wildflower I know. It tends to grow right up against the country roads people drive down in their early morning rush to work or school, gracing our journeys with their joyful blue color, brightening our moods if we but see them. Even when mowed down, they grow right back, undeterred. If permitted, they will bloom right through the summer into fall, providing nectar for bees and later, essential seeds for small birds like finch. They usually close their blue petals during the heat of the day, and so are seen as ugly by most people as they have tiny leaves and look spindly when their petals are closed. But oh, when the day is cooler and the flowers are open, behold the powdery blue profusion !

Wild asters spend the entire summer growing slowly into tall, elegant plants full of elongated leaves. There are 4 varieties which I grow throughout my gardens, and the reward for my patience is a glorious, end-of -summer show of tiny, daisy-like flowers, a final bust of white and purple beauty which goes well into the fall. These plants, besides being a welcome source of inspiration for me before the long, cold days of winter, serve as essential nectar and pollen for our bees. Without these wildflowers the bees could easily starve in their hives. Goldenrod, which I will write about in a sequel to this article, is also significant for bees, and even butterflies, to stave off starvation. It is and has been mostly misunderstood as well.

Many years ago I was enjoying the beauty of my back road where, unfortunately, the white and yellow wild sweet clovers were growing embarrassingly close to the road. They are somewhat guilty of looking gangly, like some people I know, and were very tall. I knew they would eventually be mowed, so I decided to cut them with more care by myself. So, I went home and came back laden with an arsenal of cutting tools, only to loose my resolve when I put the blade to their stalks. I thought to myself “what is more important, the flowers or the road”. I had observed very few of these particular flowers being permitted to grow anywhere, so I put down my weapons and joined the ranks of the misunderstood. After that day, they moved themselves to a safer place. They now grow, undisturbed, in various spots on my property. Plants come to me that way, and I welcome them with open arms !

I love the late bloomers and the misunderstood ones, be they human or flower. Perhaps our biggest challenge in life is to embrace these ones, to accept them as amazing creations on this miraculous planet which is full to bursting with diversity. I leave you with an ancient Indian quotation I love which reflects the awesomeness of it all…” Flowers are the footprints of the dancing steps of God.”

Now off I go to enjoy the rest of this glorious summer !!

by Christine Schoenemann (Maccabee)

Christine is a Master Naturalist in the State of MD.. She welcomes any questions and feedback at songbirdschant@gmail.org

WAR WEARY : Turning to Nature for Solace

Posted in Critical Commentary of Civilization, Homesteading, Memorials / Obituaries / Epitaphs, Poems, Rhymes, Riddles, Spiritual with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 10, 2014 by Drogo

August 2014

There is no one on this earth who is not affected by all the wars, and rumors of war, these days. Of course, all through the history of mankind there have been wars and rumors of war, and according to some thinkers and writers this is how it will always be, forever.

However, that is not what I want to debate, or discuss. I only wish to convey a few of my personal feelings about how war is affecting people, all people, and the natural world upon which we depend for survival. Whether people are aware of it or not, those in the muddle of the Middle East countries, or here in the USA where we are not hearing air raid sirens daily, we are all affected. There is not one thing on this earth that does not affect another.

Now how can I say that ? Aren’t we insulated from the worst of it here in America? Actually, we are not. “Whatever happens to the least of these happens to us”. Some very wise person said something like that 2,000 years ago. Actually, the words are more like this: “Whatsoever ye do to the least of these, ye do also unto me.” No wiser words were said.

Most natives of America thought along the same lines. They were natural ecologists, born and bred with “all our relations” in mind as a way of life. Some wise native said that we are all connected, that what befalls one part, affects another, and more…that a great sadness would befall us, as human beings, when there are no more sounds of nature and we loose the company of wild creatures. They are here for our use, but also to uplift our spirits with their amazing beauty and diversity. The earth and all of its inhabitants are a profound miracle! So, as I look around at what war and materialism have done to the natural world, and are doing, I feel a great sadness that I cannot seem to shake.

Such is the sadness we all feel on different levels, whether we are conscious of it or not. We are all war weary. Weary of wars between each other, and war against the natural world. The earth itself is weary too, its water, its air, its swamps and rivers, its plants, its butterflies, bees, birds, the polar bears, and on and on. Shall I list every remaining species?

As I wandered my gardens this morning, picking dried peas for next years planting (now there is an act of hope) and herbs for a healthy tea I need to make, my thoughts were solemn. What if there comes a day, due to rampant human ignorance upon the face of this beautiful earth, what if someday, there is no pure air to breath, or clean water to drink, or swampy breeding grounds for myriad birds and amphibians to thrive and procreate. In Syria, Gaza and Iraq,and many other places around the world they are already experiencing serious problems, and my heart bleeds for them. Innocent, hardworking people, with children and old people, all suffering due to the ignorance of their leaders. There is no clean drinking water and poor sanitation is pervasive. Swamps are drying up, rivers and lakes polluted. The inhabitants are war weary, and so am I, and so are we all. So is the Earth….

Yet, there is always hope. There are people doing their best to keep the balance between … and I will say it as it is…good and evil. To water it down, between dark and light, life and death , is stoically philosophical, though true. But this is not a philosophical exercise. This IS a war, another sort of war, a genuine fight for survival, and not just for survival of humans, but for the entire delicately balanced ecosystem.

So, how not to groan and lament the demise, the poisoning, of such a gift? Why are we throwing this precious gift back in the face of the Giver, the Great Spirit, as well as our OWN spirits. Doesn’t , shouldn’t, everyone know that without the purity of the earth, we will all sicken and die, together, some sooner, some later? I suppose some people simply do not care enough, or think, or feel for that matter. If egotistical ignorance and materialism continue as they are, and if misguided leaders feel only hate and fear, then we are doomed indeed.

Am I war weary.?… You bet ya I am. So are you. Now, what to do about it ?

I say, turn to the purity of nature, and fiercely protect and nurture it, wherever, however you are able. That is our only salvation, our only hope. Then someday, when we are truly weary of this life, and it is our time to say farewell; with forgiveness in our hearts for those who knew not what they were doing, we will die in peace knowing in our hearts that we did the best we could.

Walk Lightly, but with a strong walking stick…

~ Christine SCHOENE Maccabee

CSM 3

Seed Planting

Posted in Organic Gardens with tags , , , on March 11, 2014 by Drogo

1. Feel free to start growing seeds indoors by a window whenever you want. Even if it is too cold outside to transplant them, there can be satisfaction simply in growing seedlings.

2. Do NOT plant anything OUTSIDE during frost periods Oct.30-April 15 apx.

3.  Small seeds – plant close to surface of soil / large seeds plant 1/2″ – 2″ / 3″+ for bulbs.  Loose organic soil is always better.

4. Too much water can wash the seeds out of place (especially small seeds close to the surface)

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Sad thing is most growers end up killing more plants than they grow, since we weed all the time, and many die; ironic but the harsh reality.  i think the thing that makes a grower is someone that keeps planting and letting and helping plants grow despite losses.

 

 

Musician Austin Litz

Posted in Arts (Design & Performance), Interviews, Music Reviews, Organic Development, POB Audio, Spiritual with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 17, 2013 by Drogo

Local area musician Austin Litz is from Gaithersburg, MD; but actively plays and tours with many other musicians from Frederick, Baltimore, and DC. He plays a multitude of instruments, including keyboard, saxophone, his own voice and digital equipment.

“Balance is the key to the cosmic dance of vibrational intentions. ϕ . In music, balance can be measured with tangible, quantitative evidence (volume, tonality). In life, and in music, balance is also subjective matter. Thats where listening to your mind body and soul comes in. All three voices (mind,body,soul) function like a chord and must be tuned accordingly to resonate with the highest purity and beauty (whats beauty? a question for another day I suppose). When observing the majority of the American people, I do not hear a beautiful chord. The body and soul are hard to tamper with directly but can be de-tunned threw manipulation of the mind. Thats where we come in, to send a message of opening your mind. Your body and soul will soon follow. Organizations like Monsanto and Exon exist due to an abundance of ignorant contentment. Commodified love. Tune yourself into a technicolor chord, try 528Hz! In the Spring I personally can’t wait to plant a dank Garden in the backyard of the Litz house, ride my bike everywhere I can, and learn as much as possible with an unbiased, open mind.”

–  Austin Litz

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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)

 

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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List of Edible Berries

Posted in Nature Studies, Organic Gardens with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 19, 2011 by Drogo

Wild Berries

List for The Great Plains & East-Coast America

(eat with caution)

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Blue-berry Bush

Mul-berry Tree

Black-berry Bush

Rasp-berry Bush  (Wineberry)

Straw-berry Patch

Snake-berry Patch

Cran-berry Bog  (New England)

Mayapple-berry (American Mandrake)

Nanny-berry

Ground Cherry Plant (Chinese Lantern, Wild Tomato)

Elder-berry Bush

Wild Grape Vine

Bear-berry Shrub

Rosehip-berry plant

Sea Buckthorn plant

Thimble-berry Bush

Goose-berry Bush

Fig Bush

Hack-berry Tree

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Nannyberry

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Ground Cherry (Wild Tomato in Chinese Lantern Husk)