Twuck is a restoration. We are in the fourth week and the end is getting close but NOT YET! I become anxious. Am I going to have the truck before I go to Miami? Will the season end with no truck?! Apparently, we cannot rush the process because wiring is meticulous and tedious. I have been on public transportation to A Farm for All! Three hours! I was looking forward to it on Tuesday, then I missed the train and had to borrow a car. I wanted to sit back and be driven, but I could not find parking.
We have lost a truck and a car since moving upstate. Suburban was totaled and Subaru died. Right now Caprice sits in the parking lot dead. We await a body guy who welds instead of using Bondo, which is made of talc and plastic, invented by a World War II veteran, Robert Merton Spink. Welding seems to be old fashioned and many young body workers use Bondo. Caprice is from 1988 and the welders are swiftly retiring.
I have opened up Wormwood bed at Hiddenbrooke. The vision for Hiddenbrooke is a Kandinsky painting - curves, straight lines, etc. Wassily Kandinsky was a Russian artist who lived during the late nineteenth and earlier twentieth century. He is considered a pioneer of abstract art. Shannon is an artist. When we discussed design, I talked about curves and medicine wheels, which is my style and she talked about Kandinsky. I immediately went online to see his work. Shannon wanted straight lines as well as curves so when I saw his work, I felt the design open up and the opportunity to explore new territory.
Wormwood bed is a triangle. Shannon walked down the slope the other day and said she loves the shape and exclaimed “Kandinsky!” I told her that I immediately went online when she mentioned him and designed the gardens from there. Phlox, Columbine and Bleeding Heart curve around a bend. The Mints are Peppermint, Spearmint, Chocolate Mint and Peppermint curves to a straight line of Spearmint and Chocolate Mint. Valerian and St. John’s Wort are straight. Echinacea and Wild Bergamot are straight, but curve where they meet. Sage bed is straight along the same line as Spearmint and Chocolate Mint. Google Earth does not have an up to date shot. There is a man made waterfall that empties into a four foot pond in the middle of the garden from which I curve the beds out. I have installed the second of two Comfrey beds which stretch from the middle of Echinacea bed to the middle of Wild Bergamot bed also curve where those two beds meet. The pathways are a labyrinthian journey. I had to rethink Lavender bed which will be straight because I initially was placing her in full sun, but opening a new bed next season on the north side of the house in part shade will probably be a better location.
For me, curves change the energy and flow of the garden. It softens the space of rigid lines for me. Agriculture is male, scientific and linear. I love being a woman, soft, curvy, variable and working with herbs I get to infuse those characteristics into the space. It makes it all right to be a woman. And a black woman at that where we have to define ourselves in the Establishment. My gardens are home, haven, peace, joy and light. Not necessarily found out in the world. Whew!
Wormwood (Artemisia absinthium, Asteraceae, Perennial, Eurasia, North Africa) is an herb in Susun Weed’s Herbal Medicine Chest. I was given her Herbal Medicine Chest upon completion of my Apprenticeship in 2003. The Medicine Chest was my first list of herbs to grow. Herbal Medicine is an individual practice, so the Medicine Chest has been changed somewhat to my allies. The Herbal Medicine Chest is the herbs one carries with them in one’s handbag on a daily basis. An Herbal First Aid Kit. I have never used Wormwood. I was displaced from Groundwork in 2017 and I was just beginning to explore Wormwood’s properties. Wormwood leaves are good for digestive upset and diarrhea. She has been used to flavor vermouth and absinthe. A leaf and flowering top infusion is a tonic for the digestive system, liver, gallbladder and blood, lessening inflammation and removing impurities. Also expels worms and reduces the toxicity of lead poisoning. Can be planted beside other plants to deter insects.
Comfrey (Symphytum uplandicum, Boraginaceae, Perennial, Europe) is a deep and abiding ally in my life. I use the Salve (Comfrey & Plantain) for pimples, cold sores, cuts, and insect bites. Also called Knitbone, I use dried leaf infusion to rebuild cells and the infusion is also good for arthritis and rheumatism. Comfrey contains calcium, potassium, phosphorus and allantoin. Leaf poultice for swelling and bruising. The leaves are great for compost. I have always had two thirty foot beds which make for one pound of dried leaf. A gorgeous nodding head flower mid-Spring. Beautiful giant leathery leaves.
It has been three years at Hiddenbrooke, the same length of time at Groundwork. I surely was distracted with two years with Goats. Unbelievable! And I have my immediate Family of Plants in the ground, which are my allies that I use on a regular basis. Next year, I get into the more experiemental plants of which I know little. A new adventure!
The season winds down and it has been good. One hiccup with Twuck we can handle. Time to be in gratitude and revelry as the holidays begin. A full season of crops, now my immediate Plant Family in. We interview new members at A Farm for All! having completed our Handbook and created a formal process. Air Bnb closes and Hipcamp is in full swing. I have new allies with whom to create. Time for celebration and rest, rest, rest.