Tag Archive: plants


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!

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*** Photo: Lemon Balm Tea, steeping, fresh from the garden

As every herbalist knows, once we start growing herbs, harvesting or drying them and making tinctures, teas, vinegars and all manner of preparations, we start collecting glass containers to keep them in and especially so we can SEE them.

What that leads to are closets compulsively filled will bottles of different shapes and sizes, saving interesting jars that originally  contained pickles, jams, mustards, condiments, or liquids like wine and spirits.  We cannot…CANNOT…. resist a pretty bottle or jar…!

Glass Garden

We also cannot resist the magic of the herbs either and so hopefully we are engaged in the making of lovely herbal delights for healing, culinary temptations or gifts for bath and beauty. Thus…. A Garden in Glass!

Glass Garden 3

*** Picture: Dark Moon Tea/Dreamers Tea (recipe at the end of essay)

The garden is not producing veggies yet, but the greening herbal leaves are abundant and ready for preparations like flavored vinegars. One of my daughters just asked for a family favorite which I have not made in recent years… my Italian Lovage vinegar in a light red wine vinegar (like Pastene), also adding fresh parsley, basil, a few..just a few!..hot pepper flakes and a smashed garlic clove. LOVAGE is a strong herb…I describe it as a kind of cross between parsley and a medieval celery.  This first tiny batch will start us off and more will be steeping as summer progresses. These smaller glass jars originally held Major Grey’s Chutney.

Glass Garden 5

Summer goes by so fast, as does life, which we do begin to realize when our children go through major passages like graduating college, getting married, becoming parents themselves while we become grandparents. Capturing the essence of the greening seasons of the garden and  those in our lives seem to be a desire to hold on to the experience or the memories through tasting, savoring…sometimes in photographs, sometimes in food…and sometimes in glass bottles to remind us of the seasons of life and love. Our Gardens in Glass …a little bit of magic…!

 

***Recipe:  Dark Moon/Dreamers Tea

A blend of dried mugwort, rose petals and perhaps a little spearmint or lavender… To your liking.  A teaspoon per cup, steeped for about 10 minutes, strained with honey for a social tea with friends. Stronger…a longer steeping time (an hour), 2-3 teaspoons per cup to drink before bed to stimulate and remember dreams…. (make sure to write those dreams down in the morning!)

 

From Christine, The Greening Spirit

Christine 3My other blogs:

Do you love music? http://pianomistress.wordpress.com

Do you love delicious fresh food? http://sensuous soupsandsuppers.wordpress.com

Do you hope for positive life experiences? http://wordmagicandthelawofattraction.wordpress.com

 

 

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(Drying Lemon Balm for Tea on the Piano Bench)

*** Gardening sounds like an outside thing and it is….but harvesting eventually ends up indoors, for cooking and eating, and also for drying if you have herbs. The bounty of the herbs goes beyond fresh tea (no you don’t have to dry the herbs first to make tea). There is enough in a season’s harvest to dry for use in the winter.

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(Drying Rugosa Rose Petals for Tea)

*** My home is very small, and I work at home mainly in the open living room-kitchen space. My piano is here in full view and my kitchen table is often “my office”. Everything I do is on display at all times and my life, work and creative projects are sharing the space with the projects and people who come and go here.

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         (Drying Lemon Verbena for Tea/ Hydrangea Leave for Bookmarks)

*** Drying the herbs on the piano or coffee table, or pinned to the kitchen wall is what happens here along with paying bills, cooking, writing all manner of things, creating art, hosting peer mentoring circles and giving music lessons.

*** My house seems to amuse my guests and students, wandering on the front lawn in and around the grow boxes of vegetables and clay pots of plants before entering the house, and then coming inside to see leaves and flowers on display, drying, on pieces of furniture and all available flat surfaces.

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(Drying Parsley and Lovage for Vinegars)

*** One summer when  all manner of herbs were hanging from a beam in the living room, a new piano student…a well-known physician…came in for his first lesson. He looked up, standing under hanging bunches of drying herbs and said…”Hmmmmnnnnn…….”.  I was thinking,  he being a doctor, that he might judge that as old world stuff.  Suddenly in the middle our first piano lesson he asked…”Do you believe in magic?”,  thus initiating the first of many lively exchanges about alternative medicine, art and music in our time together… A fine doctor, he eventually became an acupuncturist as well, and supported my investigations into Teasel as a remedy used by indigenous peoples for Lyme disease. I am pleased that my piano “studio” was a safe place to discuss alternative medicine with a mainstream medical doctor!

hydrangea

Whether outside or inside, I love sharing space with the herbs, vegetable and flowers. After all, that is the mission of a Greening Spirit!  Veriditas!

From Christine….

Christine 3

please visit my other blogs too!

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Brambles (2)

Well, in Part 3  (Order and Chaos) of this series, I revealed  to all the wild un-mowed backyard which has now been christened “The Meadow”.  All of my attention this year has been out front growing vegetables in boxes in full view of anyone passing by and the picture of that mower in the tall grass is it only on its way back to the shed after the front lawn has been spruced up.

Yarden mow (2)

The back has been untended for three years for several good reasons and for sure I have felt a bit guilty about it each year. But just a bit, because in fact, each time I go out there, I am captivated by the spirit of the wild, the untamed, the unplanned. There are TREASURES in that meadow…. varieties of ferns under which faeries hide, teasing waving grasses that keep the black kitty who wanders through the green in hunting mode early morning and at dusk, and for sure, herbs for healing that appear on their own without any assist from me.

Ferns

Treasures for sure!  My herbalist colleagues know these to be just that although  those who are into perfect presentations of turf and balanced landscsaping ie immaculate carpets of green untainted by…argghhh! A WEED! …. would be “tsk tsking” at my supposed irresponsibility.

Not so.

Burdock! – burrs and healing seeds in the making. The root, if I were to dig it up, which I am not planning to do, is powerful cleansing and nutritive medicine.

Burdock closeup

Mugwort- The herb of dreamers, visionaries, opening the third-eye of deep-see-ers and wise-women. A smudging herb and the herb used as moxa in acupuncture. It is also an herb for regulating the menstrual cycles of young women.

Mugwort

Lemon Balm- According to Hildegard of Bingen ( ) “it maketh one merry” and indeed its delicate lemon scent and flavor tempers sadness and stress in the moment,  especially sweetened with a little honey. A delightful happy herb, it is nonetheless considered one of the premier nervine herbs to calm distressed spirits. My large patch of meadow lemon balm grows amidst a stand of ferns whose interesting shapes amuse the eye.

Lemon Balm

The Brambles: where the blackberries grow all tangled up with milkweed, mugwort, and in some places, treasured nettles. Invasive but colorful bittersweet grows in there too, and thank goodness for some friends who are compulsively compelled to rip it out on sight while passing through the yard. At the moment, the berries are still red, but I watch them turn darker each day in the competetive game of one-upmanship with the birds who will try to get to them first before I do.

Brambles (2)

ELDER- Oh what a precious and magical shrub… every part of the plant having a use, especially the flower (used in gypsy cold care tea) and the berry (used in elderberry syrup as medicine for the flu).  The elder was the magical herb that played a prominent role in the movie, ” Sorceress”  about a medieval herbalist, her craft and the danger it put her in. 

Elder

When I was a little girl, I was enchanted by fairy tales and faeries and I always knew that the best place to find them would be in the meadow, hedgerows or fields. I am in love with the vegetables and flowers and the magic of their unfolding  in my orderly garden but where the wildness Nature has the upper hand is the best magic of all.

I will add a less poetic paragraph here that is a reality where I live, needing precautions for safe foraging and gathering in the meadow here and in the real wilds. Ticks and their four or five tick-borne diseases are endemic where I live in New England, so although lovely dream-like pictures of young women in white flowy gossamer dresses dancing through the fields are on-line,that is NOT what I look like when out there. Covered up with socks, boots, and layers of long-sleeved denim…all sprayed with permethrin has become an un-fun and certainly un-glamorous necessary costume for avoiding the ticks and the very serious diseases they carry. Clinging to tall grasses, or nesting under dried leaves and shrubbery, they love hitching a ride on YOU, to bury underneath your skin and transfer their nastiness.

Yarden mow   back

But still, go forth in the proper way, to discover the Treasures of the Meadow forgotten or unknown in today’s techno society. The real magic is out there.

(all pictures credit: Christine Phoenix-Green)

From Christine, The Greening Spirit

Me Turqoise

My other blogs have magic as well!

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Ms borage without border

Those whose gardens are the sanctuaries of herbs know that humility is a Virtue.  We often refer to herbs and their “virtues”, a medieval usage of  the word, describing their merits and usefulness subtly hidden in their at-a-first-glance smallness. Theirs is a humility defying the flashiness of showy and commanding Divas, but instead, tended in the green world by the elusive but ever present plant “Devas” whose mission it is to oversee and communicate the virtues inherent in each plant. Indeed that humility might almost render a clump of borage invisible except for tiny quick flashes of blue if we are moving through the garden mindlessly and in a hurry.

MsGarden Gate

The herbal kindom require us to slow down and practice the soul-virtues of stillness and deep seeing. Looking closely into a patch of tiny blue flowers amongst their soft but prickly leaves, we observe a tiny magnificence of color, complexity and imaginative shape. The borage flowers are beautiful…another of the plants that exhibit the 5-pointed star in its form. If we moved quickly and mindlessly by a patch of this plant, as so many humans do in our largeness and speed, we might miss the complex but delicate blossom design.

Borage flowers closeup

Borage has many “virtues” and gifts for us. An herb of “good cheer”, it was thought to dispel melancholy and pensiveness (Culpepper) which actually happens when taking a true look at its richly colored flowers and their display.

A slight taste of cucumber in its leaves and blossoms offers a cooling effect…it can be used as a tea, or added to salads.

Herbs and their uses come in and out of favor in different time periods, but truly their virtues are always present whether acknowledged or not. I find that something shifts and awakens in me when I am hanging out with the herbs…something mysterious, wondrous, and alive…as if under an enchantment.

Enchantment… a virtue of Soul accessed through the magic of deep-seeing and discernment.  A rather nice way to live….whether one be a a plant or a person.

*** These pictures were taken in the garden of good friends….

From Christine, the Greening Spirit

156316_593312384017317_1591585182_n     Hopefully, my other blogs will enchant you as well!

http://pianomistress.wordpress.com

http://sensuoussoupsandsuppers.wordpress.com

http://wordmagicandthelawofattraction.wordpress.com

Rugosa 2

Yesterday I wrote an essay on Rugosa Rose and the exquisiteness of its fragrance. I posted the link on FB only to find that a number of my FB herbalist/magical friends had also written or posted links and essays on “The Rose”  and its variety of virtues as well, at the same time. What synchronicity!

I have learned that when that sort of thing happens, that there is a mystery in the air and the channeling of a message from the Universe that needs to get out to all.  And yesterday it was the rose. Apparently a number of us, aware or not, were the channels for passing on the message of the Rose….  beauty, inspiration, healing, nourishment and Love.

I love being a messenger or channel of all those things and so I am very grateful for the abundance of Beach Rose (Rugosa) around my house. At this time of the year, they are overflowing with delicate sensuous fragrant flowers that captivate all who come through the yard to the front door. At all times of the day I gather the fresh petals blossoms for tea. Though one could make a tea of just the rose petals, I prefer to add them to other herbs like lemon balm, lemon verbena, or basil… OR…I add them fresh to a cup of a special prepared blend like the one pictured  above ..tulsi/lavender….calming, scent-uous and yes, subtly enticing.

When friends or piano students visit who have especially come under the enchantment of the scented garden, I will pick a small cupful of petals for them to take home for their own tea as well.

The petals can be dried for future use either in a dehydrator at low temperature, or on a screen, paper towels or nubby cloth towel. My piano students and I are sitting less comfortably on chairs during this week’s lessons as I have stolen the piano bench to serve as a drying surface…but the inconvenience is temporary and the reward a special delight.

Rugosa petals

                                                                                                                                               It is also possible to make a most luscious syrup from the petals. On early mornings during the season, some of us go to the wilds where the rugosa roses bloom in profusion,  and gather a basket full of petals.     

Seaside Mists (2)

Later:  prepare the syrup in a large glass bowl…a layer of sugar, a layer of rose petals, another sprinkled layer of sugar to cover, another layer of petals etc. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let sit for a day or two. I keep mine in the fridge…others keep it out. Strain and add a  small splash of rose wine, or brandy….or not. Keep in a sterilized glass jar, or pretty bottle. I keep this in the fridge as well. Add a splash to champagne, or over ice-cream or a special dessert.

If this is not beautiful, healthful, nourishing to body-mind and spirit and overflowing elixir full of love from the earth, love of the rose, and LOVE in all ways, I don’t know what is!

Rugosa 20

(all photo credits: Christine Phoenix Green)

With love from Christine, The Greening Spirit

Cranberyy 2  For other earthly delights, check my other blogs!

Music and Piano Memoirs: http://pianomistress.wordpress.com

Delicious Food: http://sensuoussoupsandsuppers.wordpress.com

The Power of Words and Positive Attitude: http://wordmagicandthelawofatraction.wordpress.com

Garden old (2)

Repost from Summer 2009/gathering past essays for a book.  Stories from our garden “weedwalk” !

The June 7th workshop on the wild weeds/herbs–Your Magic Garden: From Muggles to Mugwort— was a success! There were 9 of us which is great for a personally sponsored event such as this and everyone was very excited, going home to scout out the wild weeds on their own property, after we went on a weed walk right here identifying and learning about 28 healing plants. Everyone was amused and somewhat intrigued by the greeningspirit notion and practice of sitting and listening/talking to the plants in an inter-species dialogue, a semi-shamanic skill.

This will be an ongoing series each month, everyone inspired in between to further investigate in their own way, in their own yards and neighborhoods.

Margie, a research Librarian, called yesterday to tell me she found a book at her library that she took out immediately . It is called The Wicked Plants: The Weed that Killed Lincoln’s Mother and Other Botanical Atrocities. I will install Margie as our “dark arts” reference Mistress. (Margie has always been a forager, eating violet leaves, red clover blossoms, wood sorrel etc for her vitamins.) She really is a woman of good intent and a faithful Episcopalian but it’s good to be well-rounded.

Amidst a stand of lily-of-the-valley in her yard,Leyla discovered mugwort and is planning to make a tea from this herb of dreamers and wisewomen. Altho we do not use lily-of-the-valley in this country’s folkloric herbal tradition,  it is a premier cardiac ally, used by skilled practitioners in Europe. I suggest she honour this plant in spirit, for good-heartedness and kindness. Mugwort, however, is an herb of the wise elder woman and the herb of dreamers, as well as a digestive aid.

Julie who is once again set back and in pain with fibromyalgia is given over today to the simplest of tasks to mindfully and respectfully gather nettles for a tea, paying attention especially to the plant’s message to set up proper personal boundaries, even “stinging” when necessary to defend and preserve the sacred “time out” needed when you are depleted and in need of silence and stillness for healing.

Carolyn who is NOT a gardener but came along for the ride said the experience confirmed for her that she hates tromping through the woods and being outside where it’s buggy but that she really wants a puppy.

We don’t seem to be able to find Elaine, assuming that she is still out in her wild fields singing to the blackberry vines from whose berries she makes her famous blackberry cordial.

Helen, emerging Wildwoman, lives with a husband who is an engineer by profession. I am told that engineers love straight lines and linear thinking. Helen, who went right home with excitement to meet and greet her very own wild plant allies, is very frustrated to realize that her whole yard is “way too cultivated” and there is not a corner of wildness there having been put to order by her partner’s dedicated use of chemically engineered products of wild-weed eradication. She alerted me that she will be sneaking around my place after dark to dig up some wildness from here to bring over there and tuck in to un-obtrusive corners.

Martha has reported in:  She says that she found herself smiling throughout the whole weedwalk with great delight and excitement because she kept thinking “THIS is what I have been looking for! ” Having gone through a very major health crisis a number of years back, she has been concerned about keeping her body healthy and whole, yet still cautious about invasive medical techniques or relentless drug therapies that don’t allow much personal involvement and participation in keeping oneself healthy. She is looking forward to learning more about the nourishing and healing gifts of the plantword and the wild weeds.

Ruthanne, who herself has a magical mystique about her in every way, was very intrigued by the idea that there are plant “spirits” in the garden just waiting for communication with us, if we learn how to slow down and listen. I think she found it a very comforting concept that these faeries, devas or “friends” are here, with a very old wisdom to teach us new things.

I myself am re-reading The Medicine-Maker’s Handbook, an enchanting guide by an enchanting premier herbalist/educator, James Green. I am delighted by his warmth and humour and wealth of knowledge which is down-to-earth, accessible and full of love for both the plants and people.

Our second class in the series will be in July…and we hope to have some new attendees to share with! The theme for this class will be  on  “Communicating with 

From Christine, the Greening Spirit


Faeries? Fairies? Fayries? A surprise in YOUR MAGIC GARDEN!!

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   Well, in our workshop  “From Muggles to Mugwort: Your Magic Garden/the Wild Herbs and Weeds”,   everyone was interested in the medicinal properties of the wild plants in the garden and woods. However there was a lot of playful fascination with the idea that we can  communicate with the spirits of the plants if we are respectful, humble and sit, listening, with quiet and earnest hearts. 

Over the days following the workshop, we have kept in touch and there have been a number of little stories of “green magic” as the participants went home to their own gardens to find good medicine and plant allies on their land, bringing a sense of delight and childlike wonder to what used to be an  “ordinary” way of seeing things…from Muggles Mind to Mugwort Mind!

However, when I went to develop several pictures of our time together here I must admit I was more than a little surprised. “Jewelweed Julie” had come the evening before the workshop to help me clear the Teasel bed which was totally overgrown.  A fierce and knowleable detangler, she worked in the garden untiil past dark to make a path in that wilderness so we could get in there during the workshop to meet Teasel who we are investigating as an ally for those dealing with Lyme disease. It was a gentle foggy night, but not raining…I took 3 pictures of Miss Julie, one right after the other from different directions…this picture was the 2nd  one and when I printed out the photos,  were we shocked to see these little plant spirit orbs,  either emerging out of the green, and drifting off to the right  where they wouldn’t be disturbed further OR coming in from the right to hide out in the green for the night! We have examined these with magnifying glasses, and none of us are sure what we are seeing, but in the many years I have spent with other greeningspirit folk, I will say that I have ocassionally seen such mysterious little translucent images caught on film (probably not intentionally..they are shy)…and whether they are, or they aren’t…we usually give in to a sense of childlike imagination and play, and call them Fairies, or…Faeries….or  Fayries. What might you call them?    ; – )

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