Tag Archive: gardening


Sunflowers and smiles  at Buttonwooods Farm in Griswold, Ct.

Sunflowers and smiles at Buttonwooods Farm in Griswold, Ct.

What is it about Sunflowers that makes us so smiley and happy? In a world full of bad news and upset on a daily basis, and the constant barrage of vapid or divisive media chit-chat we sometimes need to FLEE into our gardens, or garden centers or those wonderful land-trusts and farms offering creative Greening Spirit delight and refreshment.

Sunflowers speaking;

Sunflowers speaking; “Hello there, Humans! Lighten up!”

I have decided at a time of personal life challenges and change at this time to purposefully include happy “field trips” to places nearby that I have always meant to visit, but had not yet done so. Calling a friend who is always ready for a spur-of-the-moment adventure, we took off to join throngs of smiling people who were doing the same to visit Buttonwoods Farm during this two-week only sunflower festival.

Peekaboo You....Look this way! Down here!

Peekaboo You….Look this way! Down here!

Point and shoot digital cameras, cameras with BIG closeup lenses and busy cell-phone cameras were in everyone’s hands…stop, snap, stop, snap…taking home a sunflower picture if not a bouquet. My friend Margie had her little camera and focused on a happy sunflower being visited by a bee gathering its pollen.

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The sun was bright, the path through the acres of Sunflowers was long but upon exiting there was a lovely hill and a big shading tree and cool breezes to stop and view the field from a higher vantage point and rest up before making the return trip…

Cool breezes on the hill up there

Cool breezes on the hill up there

People, young, old, of all shapes and sizes made the journey through the Sunflowers to be greeted and blessed by all that good cheer.

Never too old to greet the Sunflowers!

Never too old to greet the Sunflowers!

On the way out, we met a real Sunflower Smiley Face!

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After our trek through the Sunflower Fields…back to my own neighborhood for Ice Cream across the way, sitting in the shade and enjoying every single lick on a warm day.

I didn’t bring a bouquet home with me from Buttonwoods.. I knew there were, on a much smaller scale, but still smiling, emergent sunflowers in my own garden…they are just beginning to open now as will add to the greening spirit joy and delight as I also daily prepare to release this home and venture into a new chapter.

I want to take these smiles with me wherever I go …..  🙂

My Garden, My Soul

My Garden, My Soul

From Christine, The Greening Spirit

Yellow   ps. T’would make me smile if you leave a *like* if you did, share away or make a comment of your own! Are you smiling?

Soulfulness can infuse everything! Please visit my other blogs! They’re FUN!

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Plantspeak

In various herbal conferences I have attended, I was always intrigued when certain teachers and indigenous speakers would make references to hearing the plants sing, or receiving messages from them about how to use them for healing. As far as I knew in my long years of gardening it had never happened to me… at least not yet until one summer when I unexpectedly became a wandering minstrel gypsy with a performing Ecuadorean family of musicians as their co-ordinator, unintentionally (but rather cavalierly) abdicating my role as garden mistress. That was the summer I finally “heard” the plants…only it wasn’t a song…it was an indignant lecture and chiding.

Attentively planting and raising my heirloom vegetable plants from seed in early spring, I looked after each stage of their emergence and growth with great delight. Planting them in the rich prepared soil of the side garden, I looked forward to seeing them begin to take root and thought of how much fun it was going to be, as always, enjoying their delicious goodness in my kitchen and table during harvest.

But, after working as educational co-ordinator during the winter with this gifted family of musicians for school concerts, it was decided that I would accompany them on the road in summer for a variety of festivals. That meant that I would teach piano Tuesday through Thursday morning, and leave with them in the dark of night on Thursday, returning late Sunday night or Monday morning.

Obviously, my home and garden life was disturbed and disheveled as I came and went balancing my music teaching with on-the-road away adventures with the performers.

Late midsummer when the plants have set  their fruit and begin to offer their goodies harvest, I stood by the garden in a now-rare state of presence and mindfulness thinking to bring in some tomatoes or squash or beans or SOMETHING and was shocked at what I saw.

My originally carefully and lovingly planted veggies and herbs were…were…a mess or just plain dry and barren. Rich soil, good enough rain and moisture,  a wonderful contained spot, but the garden was now overgrown with tangled weeds around the plants that (WHO) seemed to be gasping for life. The WEEDS were doing GREAT! The poor vegetables…oh dear.

I had to admit that I had not had much time if any to tend them as I came in an out each week between my work at the piano and my work …and adventure…on the road. I stood there trying to analyze why the weeds looked so healthy and robust, and the vegetable plants that I had helped to initiate into this life experience where so…stunted and forlorn. I stood there really trying to figure this out logically….and then, all of a sudden…….  WHAM! 

Plantspeak

In my mind’s eye an image came of its own accord of a Walt Disney-like cartoon plant… tall plant with leafy tendril-ed  arms, one of which was placed indignantly upon its stalky hip and I “heard” these extremely clear, stern and huffy words, not in my head, but somewhere in the middle of my chest..in the region of my heart:

“Wh-elll ! WE who are FOOD, are not like the others that grow in the forest on their own without help. If you say you are going to be here for us and are not, we are DISAPPOINTED!”

I was totally stunned. I had just been told off by a garden of Disappointed Vegetable plants. Yes, I had led them to believe we were going to do something grand together as we always had done in the past.. And then I took off for a summer adventure leaving them to fend for themselves in the heat, the winds, the bright hot sun, the sometimes rain and sometimes not, the encroaching tangle of strangle-weeds and vines.

They sure TOLD me what’s up and Truth isn’t always pretty….

All I can tell you is that this is not a made-up story. It REALLY happened and I have never forgotten it! Plants, like people who are family and friends, do count on us to be there when we say we will…and we hope for the same support in return. Sometimes we are better at it than at others times…life is so full of distractions and personal challenges that we get side-tracked as we try to personally stay upright.. But we are all in the garden together and interdependence often is the key to survival ( and pleasure) as we flow through the seasons of our lives.

Yes, the Plants DO speak to us when we stand still enough to listen. 🙂 AndI always do try to listen now. The kind that of listening that is centered in the Heart.

At a fair with Manuel of YARINA

At a fair with Manuel of YARINA

*** Writers love to hear from you if you enjoyed our story. I’d love you to click *like* if you did. Feel free to share and repost, or leave a comment! Thanks!

From Christine, The Greening Spirit

School Concert with YARINA

School Concert with YARINA

On the Road with YARINA

On the Road with YARINA

At home with the Family Cachimuel (YARINA)

At home with the Family Cachimuel(YARINA)

Cukes Overboard! Escaping!

Cukes Overboard! Escaping!

You don’t have to go far from the garden to learn lessons about life, plants and people. For instance, Cukes have a mind of their own…being such a watery vegetable, their emotions are quite sensitive. If the environment of their daily life becomes too small and contained, or they have to partner up sharing space with others who have a different temperament (like Italian Frying Peppers), they can only put up with so much.

Cukes have the propensity to wander…and wander far, as well as have a rather secret life. That is, in search of emotional freedom and adventure, they travel by their vines right out of the box and across and around the green, yet sending out their fine tendrils to hold on to something steady and reliable…you know… that means anything in its path, to assure a modicum of security as they wander far…just in case.

Cukes on the move.... vines heading out!

Cukes on the move…. vines heading out!

Their “secret life” manifests in tossing themselves..the cuke itself…right out of the back of the box where they remain hidden from your eyes even though you thought you had spotted and collected every delicious one.

But NOOOoooooo…. out back over the fence behind the box or border, hiding in a mass of tangle of their leaves and vines are the BIG guys. Having “jumped ship” before you could shout…”Ahoy…Cuke overboard!” they live out that secret life of competing for the biggest and best of the group before in a slant of light, quite by accident…you..the Master Gardner…catch a glimpse of them and fight your way through the vines getting all prickled and itchy to round them up to accompany you for dinner.

Fighting your way through the viney jungle

Fighting your way through the viney jungle

…Which of course, they are happy to do. Vegetables know they are here to serve as food, and are happy to fulfill their mission being at table with us.

I often think how necessary it is for creative people to break “out of the box” of traditional culture and our home base as we mature when the familiar and static patterns become too routine, and too small or tight for exploration and self-expression. Sometime to grow into our bigger soul-selves we just do have to jump ship, go over the side into the wilds of life to find out who we are. It serves us well to send out kind tendrils of friendship and connection as we move about, even if we have to hide out back at times to do our creative work inspired by imagination and dreams.

Sometimes we just have to go rogue and become “cuke”.

But after a while, we must remember to come back to the table and share our goodness! Our crispness, moisture and stories…

ps. As writers, how do we know if you liked this if you don’t tell us! Please click *like* if you did, share away, or leave a comment and say hi!

From Christine, The Greening Spirit

Garden June Sacred Lots of inspiration on my other blogs! Come and visit!

http://sensuoussoupsandsuppers.wordpress.com

http://pianomistress.wordpress.com

http://wordmagicandthelawofattraction.wordpress.com

Plantspeak

Anyone who has attended an Herbal Internship knows this exercise of being sent out into the garden or fields to sit with a plant that “calls you” and just listen….. listen for a message about it or from it as an answer to a question. You most likely will NOT experience this kind of communication task at your  local gardening club monthly meeting, or the University course in landscaping and horticulture who are about things other than talking and listening to plants.

You have to hang out with the herbal people who tend to be more than a bit a-cultural or with fans of Findhorn!

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We have done this kind of communication with nature often here in my own garden whether it be with other plant people or with our Dreams/Peer Mentoring Circle and no one….NO ONE…ever comes back to the group without a special message or insight. But then again, these are the kind of whimsical, open and yes, magical, people I tend to hang with.

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I mention herbs first because they have such a long tradition of both medicine and magic which both push our boundaries to entertain unusual or unexpected sources of wisdom and guidance. They DO have a propensity for words sent directly to the human heart. But you can listen to flowers and vegetables too…perhaps the devas that represent them are the ones who speak, but if you LISTEN the way children…young ones under the age of six..would listen, you will be amazed.

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It is good to take a notebook and write down the thoughts and inspirations as they come, for like a dream, they may fade as you come back into the mundane and ordinary mindset.

Plantspeak 2

It is always exciting and amusing to compare notes afterwards as it is quite fun and inspirational to share the magic, validating that there ARE worlds around us and within us besides the one we usually think of as the “real”. Share away and enjoy…but maybe not right away at “the office”.  🙂

Plant speak 7

I find that entering the “magical mind” is a wonderful way to balance those many other complicated issues we deal with in living our lives. Escaping into a good novel, or attending a wonderful play (Think “The Lion King”) or viewing an imaginative movie (Think “Avatar” or “Lord of the Rings”) we really enter various dreamworlds that are rich resources for creative thinking. Listening to the plants is a wonderful exercise of loving connection to that green world that indeed is our ground of being.

Highlighted in these pictures: Echinacea, lamb’s ears, milkweed, arugula, blackberry brambles, sweet pea and much more hidden in the green.

**YOOHOO! How do we writers know if you liked this unless you tell us! Please leave a *like* if you did, share it or leave a comment of your own experience. Would love to hear from you!

From Christine, the Greening Spirit

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You know, it’s all kind of magical! Check these out too!

http://wordmagicandthelawofattraction.wordpress.com

http://sensuoussoupsandsuppers.wordpress.com

http://pianomistress.wordpress.com

JHS

For a number of years I taught a green internship called The Sacred Garden on herbal wisdom, natural foods and women’s spirituality. The yard and garden highlighted in this series was (and still is)  our classroom.

One meeting day, one of our lovely students came with a rolled up yoga mat, blankets and her usual bag of special necessities for all situations. She was very stressed out, dealing with several major life issues needing discernment and sorting. Life was chaotic with many competing voices demanding her attention.

What she desperately needed, she said, was to have a little time out from the group to think those things over. “Of course”, we said, and went into the material of the day, setting her free to be there but on her own.

Several hours later, during a break in our projects I noticed her car still here altho she seemed not to be. “Where is she?” I asked myself..with a little concern I might add.

Walking through the yard and edge of the bordering woods there was no sign of her. Not in the shed, or under the trees out back, or a bedroom in the house. Coming along the side of the back yard and behind the garden I wrote about in Part 11, between it and the sheltered thick hedgerow of the property’s boundary, I caught a flash of white low to the ground and deep into the green narrow hidden overgrown splinter of land.

And there she was, lying on her yoga mat, hat over her eyes, little camera in her hand, comfy blankets around her legs in the warmth of a bright sunbeam yet cushioned and sheltered by a carpet of overgrown green.

She had run away to think and balance and heal a tired soul. She had  run away to find her greening spirit. Which actually, she did.

I often find that when I too am burdened with concerns and decisions needing to be wisely made, that writing, dancing, playing music and “running away” into the green world and the rhythmic misty world by the sea lifts those burdens and brings clarity and calm. The music of wind and crickets and birdsong, and the coolness of “veriditas” in nature has such a loving Soul that longs to bonds directly with our own.

Maybe because it is that we and it are all one thing…… one Soul…

I have learned that seeking refuge by periodically “running away” into nature is absolutely necessary to keeping connected to that One Soul when we have wandered away.

I have also learned that by running away in this way, we actually come home…….

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From Christine, The Greening Spirit

Christine 3    More good stuff on my other blogs too!

http://wordmagicandthelawofattraction.wordpress.com

http://sensuoussoupsandsuppers.wordpress.com

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Evolution 1

As I go through old photos, deciding what to keep and what to toss  preparing for an eventual  move from my present sanctuary of over twenty years, I am surprised over and over again at the way I have gardened for many a season.

I found this series of photos of the small vegetable/herb and flower garden I created quite a while back at the side of my house. That was “then”.  Now, many years later, this space is totally hidden by a hedge of brambles and wild rose… a “Secret Garden” perhaps to be re-discovered someday by the next owner.

These photos are memories of the evolution and organized planning of a beautiful “life” and garden within neat and safe boundaries. I am pleased that I have had the opportunity of creating such a planned and organized sanctuary for the sake of art, beauty, healing and refreshment. However, this is a different time of life for me at present…at least for now… and my garden and my life are more un-planned, un-contained, alternative, sometimes un-kempt in areas and certainly wilder in soul/spirit…

So here it its. Memories of the evolution of an orderly garden:

#1. The Beginning Idea

Evolution 1

#2. Boundaries Three

Boundaries Three

Boundaries Three

#3. Deciding where to put the rosebush

Deciding where to put a rosebush

Deciding where to put a rosebush

Evolution 4

Evolution 3

#4. Rosebush planted! Now on to the flowers/veggies and herbs

evolution planted copy

#5.  Chives and herbs along the sides

Evolution Success

The borders and familiar sanctuary of my life are breaking down at present and so the my garden/my soul of “today” looks quite different than it did up there when life was a little more stable and predictable.

Now my garden is in moveable grow boxes and the back and side yards are left to nature’s plans…un-mowed and seemingly un-kempt…  my Soul and future a personal field and meadow defying predictability, certainty and stability for a while.

Garen Lush July 5, 2015

Yarden mow (2)     Yarden mow   back

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wherever it is that I go you can be sure that it will have to be somewhere that, when I step out of an open door, I am in green space ready for the next garden. My Life, My Soul, My Gardens…we evolve together….

From Christine, The Greening Spirit

Boots on the Ground

 

 

 

 

Please visit my other blogs that have evolved over the years with me..life is never boring.

 

 

 

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Piano Teachhttp://pianomistress.wordpress.com

 

 

 

 

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Bean Baby
When I was a youngster, I received many a microscope kit for Christmas (by request) as well as girly things like dolls, and teeny bopper things like a transistor radio in pale blue.

I asked for microscope kits because from an early age, I was drawn to the wonders of nature and seeing the mysterious patterns and shapes in the tiniest unfoldings of plants, stones, and insects. I wanted to see them up close and personal, so my “natural science” tools were microscopes and slides, and magnifying glasses of various strengths.

Oh what amazing wonders I have seen up close and personal! Intimacy and deep-seeing have always enchanted and nourished me.

I, in this time of my life, sometimes still have a magnifying glass in the garden, but it is the camera that is my “microscope” today along with the photo editing programs that allow me to zero close into some captivating thing in the middle of a bigger territory, by cropping.

In the past week and up until yesterday, the bean plants in my garden were decorated with little white flowers. And then  *POP!*…. just this morning, there they all-of- a-sudden were…..silently (to my ears) bursting and pushing the flowers outwards…little beanie babies being born from somewhere in the center of that fading bloom.

Bean borning (3)

It’s not that I have nothing else to do in my life except to watch a baby bean be born. I teach piano, cook, prepare a variety of interesting courses on dreams or positive manifestation or inner peace at the University, lead groups, visit with friends and go dancing…naming just a few things. But…over and over again, I am called back out to the garden throughout the day and in my comings and goings, to stop and pay attention to some incredibly important,  awesome and powerful event….like a bean being born, a miniature eggplant crowning out of the green womb, or a calendula bud silently exploding open and orange into the sunlight. It’s very mysterious and very organic, this sprouting something new almost every minute. Ongoing change and transformation out there… something amazing is happening all day and all night long!

I think about my life and some significant challenges I am facing at the moment. Challenges of having to let go of my home and the garden of this series, challenges to maintaining the stability of familiar work and service, yet  transformational opportunities for teaching in new ways, and living inter-dependently rather than independently. Like a beanie baby, pushing out from the flower of familiarity and comfort and becoming something new-ish in the world and my way of moving through it.

The pfesity and prophetic priest, Matthew Fox once wrote somewhere in his book “Original Blessing” (and paraphrased here) that if all “holy books” were put on a shelf for a number of years and we went out to read nature instead, we would learn everything we need to know about living a wise and good life. A “Whole-y” life, I call it.

Beanie Babies Borning is my message and lesson for today. Got it!

From Christine, The Greening Spirit

Selfie  Some of the other things I spend my time on when not watching baby beans grow.  Please visit!

http://sensuoussoupsandsuppers.wordpress.com

http://pianomistress.wordpress.com

http://wordmagicandthelawofattraction.wordpress.com

Kale with water droplet-look!

Kale with water droplet-look!

Yesterday morning when I went out to the garden very early, the whole front yard and plants were awash in brilliant blinding light. Everything shimmered with moisture and dew that was rapidly evaporating in the heat.

The morning light was behind the plants as the sun was coming up and everything was back-lit with halos and transparencies, not the best conditions for taking a picture.

Blinding Light

However, close up to each plant, there was light behind them and a radiance around their edges that revealed things not readily seen in other more mundane situations. Once again, I was grateful for this time in my life that allows a mindful presence before my day starts, grounding me in mystery with the opportunity for deep-seeing and new in-sights.

We live in a culture of speed touted as a virtue, and distraction, a tool for programmed consumerism…both of which are Soul-thiefs. We miss so much that is grounding and heavenly combined as we run (or are chased) through our lives pursuing a dream of what is supposedly important.. imposed by popular culture, not revealed by Presence to the miracles and messages all around us and within us.

Stepping out into the world, early morning, shocked into stillness by radiance..(it is said that to look upon the face of God or Angels is a blinding experience). Even squinting, Illumination can come out of awe and prayer. All of which can change our lives.

This was it. Were there Angels in my garden?

And…. can you find the water droplet in the kale leaf (?) not noticed until magnification and deep seeing.

There is ALWAYS more than initially meets the eye…….

With love from Christine, The Greening Spirit

Me Light  My other blogs are full of illumination for body and spirit too!

http://wordmagicandthelawofattraction.wordpress.com

http://pianomistress.wordpress.com

http://sensuoussoupsandsuppers.wordpress.com

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The first baby eggplant!

The first baby eggplant!

Those of us who are gardeners…especially of vegetables…get REAL excited at the rapid day-by-day emergence of something we will eventually eat! I am a grandmother, and I am astounded at the SPEED of the life cycle of my vegetable plants…. they grow up faster than my grandchildren, who are inches taller every time I visit! And so are my green garden beings who I tend each morning and evening…

Oooh! Hello baby tomatoes!

Oooh! Hello baby tomatoes!

I have so many pictures of my children and THEIR children (my grandchildren) from over the years, cherishing each phase of their lives from teeny newborn to …well… stem, leaf, flowers and fruits of their unfolding or yet-to -unfold lives. As they all live farther away from where I do, I think I have transferred my need for intimate familial relating and caretaking to my greening garden plant-children, delighting in and photographing every new stage of their becoming too.

Are you REALLY going to turn into a BEAN?? C'mon you can DO it!

Are you REALLY going to turn into a BEAN?? C’mon you can DO it!

Cheering my little grandsons on the soccer field and my granddaughter for her amazing artistic skill, and clapping at the discovery of the first cucumber hidden under their leafy vines seem to come from the same place of love and delight.

Oh you are such an adorable little cuke!

Oh you are such an adorable little cuke!

Some things grow faster and more directly from seed than others for instant gratification.. abundant, lush and up-front it is what it is even from an early age without the metamorphosis of one stage into another. Thank you, for the immediate and direct gift of nourishment while we wait for the unfolding of others. Sometimes we just need that nourishment without the “wait…”

Oh you are so gorgeous! Let's eat!  (Kale chips?  Sauteed Kale with olive oil,  garlic and onions?

Oh you are so gorgeous! Let’s eat! (Kale chips? Sauteed Kale with olive oil, garlic and onions?

All you at-home gardening kin out there…you are smiling with me, aren’t you? (listen to yourself the next time you go out to check your plants. I bet you talk out-loud to them…..  )

From Christine, the Greening Spirit

The Garden Guys (Grandsons planting stuff)

The Garden Guys (Grandsons planting stuff)

If you liked this, please visit my other blogs for happiness and inspiration!

http://sensuoussoupsandsuppers.wordpress.com

http://wordmagicandthelaofattraction.wordpress.com

http://pianomistress.wordpress.com

TeaselHead 2015

It’s not just one garden ie the one I planned. There is another kind of garden around me…the one that comes of its own accord, the Wilds Garden, perhaps seeded by the Faeries who take delight in surprising us or bringing us and the land things we didn’t know we needed.

My Wilds Garden has plants that are not usually found in polite garden centers for “landscaping” and  perfectly weedless lawns. They ARE weeds, but weeds who bring special healing for body and for spirit. Weeds like poke, St. Johnswort, milkweed, blackberry brambles, mugwort, plantain and today’s subject…TEASEL.

This year, quite out of nowhere and suddenly, the Teasel Twins appeared on my lawn near the side un-mowed meadow.

Teasel Twins

Tall and stringy, they have been growing into maturity day by day, but not softening one bit in their sharp and spiny personalities, looking like some fierce ancient dragon plant. And in truth, their prickly “dragon” power may be wondrous medicine for some really challenging medical conditions. For me, I believe they appeared as Guardian Spirit Plants since I had been very concerned about ticks hindering my peace of mind in the garden having had Lyme Disease twice over the years. I had been fretting about that as I decided to once again grow and tend vegetables, herbs and flowers after three years of not being able to do so.

In colonial pre-technological days, teasel earned its common name as the prickly flower heads that were used to “tease” the nap up in cotton fabric. This commercial use was, in its time, useful although labor intensive. But teasel has a more healing mission most recently as an emergent protocol for several “modern” diseases afflicting thousands: Lyme Disease, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue. arthritis, and lupus. Two renowned herbalists whom I have had the opportunity to learn from at the Inernational Herbal Symposiums, Matthew Wood and Stephen Harrod Buhner, work experimentally and successfully with feisty Teasel in the management and healing of these often debilitating diseases.

For more helpful and inspiring information on this green ally that is making inroads in treatment for these contemporary illnesses, check out Matthew Woods’ excellent  book “The Book of Herbal Wisdom: Using Plants as Medicine”  which has a long in-depth section on Teasel and Lyme Disease.

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For a wonderful all-round herbal guide check out also a delightful book that I found at the bargain table at Barnes and Noble but is a true gem: “Backyard Medicine: Harvest and Make Your Own Herbal Remedies” by  accomplished herbalists.Julie and Mathew Seal. It also has some very important information and instruction on the growing and preparation of Teasel and all manner of herbs for healing purposes.

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The pictures here show Teasel in its “green” and growing phase. But there is a BIG surprise coming as the prickly heads enlarge and mature…and for that…another post on Teasel will soon follow.

Truly, I am mesmerized by and LOVE this plant, this weed. It is the prickly part of my Soul that needs to soothe, heal  or cast out the “demons” that can cause me pain in self-doubt and fear, or the ache-iness of longing and memories that need to be released in order to move on to new beginnings.

Thank you, Faeries, who sneaked in overnight and brought the Teasel Twins to my Garden, my Soul this year.

From Christine, the Greening Spirit

Garen Lush July 5, 2015   Also!

http://wordmagicandthelawofattraction.wordpress.com

http://sensuoussoupsandsuppers

http://pianomistress.wordpress.com

The power of words, sensuous cooking and eating, and music/the arts in the blogs above contribute to a Greening Spirit life!

 

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