Archive for grow


Posted in Nature Studies, Poems, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on August 31, 2017 by Drogo

by Christine Maccabee


Right here on Earth there are probably as many ‘stars’

as there are in outer space. Not enough can be said as to

need for human-kind to focus more on these terrestrial stars,

preserving them and the wonder and goodness of their Earth

for generations to come.” C.M.

Ever since my early 20’s I have been fascinated by flowers of every variety and thus began seriously investigating them. At that time I was also reading literature about the ancient tradition of mandalas as a meditation tool in India. The mandala has a center which symbolizes the source of life be it Allah, God, the Great Spirit, or whatever one might call it. The center holds everything else together, like the spoke of a wheel and without it things would fall apart and there would be chaos. From that center radiates Creation, or life, in all its amazing diversity and beauty. Similarly, most flowers have this same feature with centers from which reproduction occurs in the form of seeds. That center of nectar, pollen and seeds serves the purpose of ongoing sustenance, thus enabling on-going life for myriad life forms, including of course, people.

Captivated by this reality, I created mandalas from various parts of flowers, using stamen, pistil, petals, leaves and bracts, basically dissecting the flowers carefully and pressing the various parts. Each design I made was unique, and many reminded people of snowflakes. If you look at a flower closely, especially those which radiate perfectly symmetrically from the center, then you will understand my fascination. In fact, there are people who seriously meditate on flowers, thus creating more of a sense of balance in their lives. For me, creating mandalas was a waking and a working meditation, keeping me centered and focused as I created each one ; I sold hundreds of framed pieces over a period of 20 years. Now I simply grow flowers…

This summer I had a newcomer to my gardens, the Morning Star Sedge, a native grass which I did not plant but which was brought here by a bird, no doubt. I discovered it quite by accident along a pathway down to my main garden and was astonished when I saw it. It is not a flower at all, but a type of native grass, used ornamentally by some people in their landscaping.. The seed head is beautiful, very star like (see photo) and perfectly symmetrical. You may be familiar with its graceful but sturdy grasses from which the stems of the seed heads emerge. The seed heads are a lovely green which turn chocolate brown by late summer. By early autumn I am sure the wild birds will be enjoying those seeds as well as the seeds of the chicory and woodland sunflowers which I also have here in my gardens as habitat.

As anyone who reads this column knows, I am passionate about preserving habitat for pollinators and birds. Here on my 11+ acreage I am purposely allowing close to 100 wild native plants to complete their entire life cycles, from flower to seed. Such diversity of plant life, no matter how tall and gangly, or small , sustains the health of a host of animals, insects and humans in this our rainforest. By August the final show will begin and I look forward to it. I look forward to witnessing thousands of tiny Aster flower stars and hearing the profound sound of untold number of wings whirring as the bees fuel up for the coming inevitable cold weather. The essential Golden Rod flowers will also begin blooming (Golden Rod is not a major pollen producer which creates allergies as some people mistakenly think) and I will watch as the Monarch butterflies feed on them before their long journeys south. Did you know there are, or were, 2,687 species of Aster and 16 species of Golden Rods in America. On my property I have about 5 species of each.

The beautiful earthly flower stars, besides providing food for a wide variety of pollinators and birds, are a source of inspiration to humans. Also, it is well known that some have important medicinal properties, such as the Cone flower. I will soon gather and dry the flowers and leaves of my Cone flowers which will be added to teas I make from other herbs I grow. Cone flowers provide Echinacea which is important as an immune system enhancing herb. The root is the most potent, so here and there I will pull some out for their roots.

Unfortunately there is an on-going war being conducted against Earth’s stars in the form of herbicides, pesticides and habitat loss. Next month I will continue speaking for the wildflowers and the health of our planet, our people, and all our relations. Meanwhile, I suggest you walk slowly and often in wild places where wild things grow ; and don’t forget to look to the stars !


~ from ON THE WILD SIDE for July 2017

Christine is a Master Naturalist in Maryland and has developed a a Wildlife Habitat Sanctuary and Native Plant Preserve on her property , just 10 minutes north of Thurmont. You are welcome to visit by appointment. She can be reached at


Beards and Naturalism

Posted in Critical Commentary of Civilization, Green Fashions, Nature Studies, Pagan, Religions, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 27, 2014 by Drogo

To me there has always been a clear connection between facial hair and Naturalism. My theory is that throughout recorded history, men grow beards to defy the fact that they could shave it off with a razor and look more feminine; usually to rebel against the social norms of shaving and assert their manhood and / or be more in tune with Nature.

There is a reason that barbarians that lived wild with nature had facial hair and industrious Romans did not; and there is a reason that when ancient Rome became more intertwined with barbarian cultures, that it became popular in Rome to wear beards! The more industrial a society or culture, the more they will want uniformity for the wearing of helmets (chin straps and gas-masks), stream-lined mechanical safety, and uniform equality for those that cannot grow facial hair thickly or completely (like boys, women, and some men).

Facial hair, like other hair, is considered by many of us Pagans to be a spiritual connection with Nature and the Gods and Goddesses of Nature and Nurturing. Consider that after many terrible industrial wars it has been popular for veterans to grow beards. Famous Naturalists like John Muir, H.D. Thoreau, Walt Whitman, and even Emerson (in old age) all had beards for obvious anti-industrial reasons.

Even those that grow a beard because they are ‘too lazy to shave’ are more harmonious with Nature by allowing their beard to grow, and not artificially shaving it off. Also there are many religious, spiritual, philosophical, and personal reasons for having beards. So before you judge people based on ‘un-fashionable trends’ that you perceive, consider that it may be more or less significant to the person with more hair.

jesus hippy

3 Celtic Spells of Making

Posted in Pagan with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 10, 2010 by Drogo

3 Celtic Spells, Chants, Charms, Prayers of Making, Evoking, or Binding

All 3 are acknowledgements of the laws of nature. The first Welsh Spell says the spirit of water and earth elements shines even when the moon is dark. The second Gaelic Spell speaks of the Serpent’s Breath of Life & Death, and our will to make. The third English Spell describes how three aspects can be parts of one whole; as with the symbol “Y”.

1. Welsh Spell of Making

A elfyntodd dwyr sinddyn duw,

cerrig yr fferllurig nwyn,

os syriaeth ech saffaer tu,

fewr echlyn mor necrombor llun.

2. Gaelic Spell of Making (in Modern Irish Gaelic)

Anáil nathrach, ortha bháis is beatha, do chéal déanaimh

3. English Spell of Making (Harpers Ferry, Modern American English)

One flows from Two,

Two Rivers are One.

One is also Three,

And Three is One.


Organic Bio-Diversity in Lawns

Posted in Arts (Design & Performance), Nature Studies, Organic Gardens, Sustainability with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 4, 2010 by Drogo

Environmental Lawns

Environmentally conscious lawns should consider the ecological impact of their existence, and should tend to function more like the natural environment of the surrounding landscape. How much fossil fuel is wasted maintaining your lawn? How much pollution and artificial garbage is created from maintaining the lawn? How hard do you have to work, or how much money do you pay to maintain your lawn?

Green Grass & Purple Violets

Meadows in nature have various types of grasses and plants, although certain species can dominate particular fields at certain times. Most meadows have wildflowers, clovers, and other types of plants in them; therefore an environmental lawn should have different representatives present, reflecting indigenous plants. Rather than using herbicides that pollute our environment, we should allow plants that are often called “weeds” to be included in our wanted lawn vegetation. Dandelions, clovers, violets and others when allowed to grow and bloom in a lawn add a natural beauty that has been so long denied by a Nazi style psychology attached to keeping lawns.

Organic Bio-Diversity in Lawns is the best design according to Nature.

Ecological Gardens

Gardens usually mean less mowing area, but also require maintenance of their own. Gardens need planting, tilling, weeding, watering, and sunlight; the amounts of which depend on various environmental factors. The key is to reduce the amount of soil area exposed between plants, thus increasing plant density. Mulch piles are a must.

Mulching Mowers

Neuton Electric Battery Mowers cut as aggressively as electric cord mowers, which is almost as strong as combustion fossil fuel mowers. They come with 2 batteries, 2 blades, and parts can be reordered as needed. The Neuton company is based in New England.
We need to cut down on Oil Consumption. One way is to stop using Oil and Gas mowers. Use human powered mowers, or Electric which can be supplied by Alternative means (Wind, Solar, Hydro, Geothermal, etc…). Tractor mowers with Diesel engines need to be run more on Vegetable Oil (Bio-Diesel).
Switch to fuels that can be produced from rapidly renewable or constantly renewed resources. Let’s get alternative energy, from the natural sources.  Build the alternative systems into the mainstream by mass marketing, and they will consume. It must become more than trendy, it must become as sexy, fun, and patriotic as joining the military during World War II.

Watch SCOD Greenhood video!