Happy Spring! March 19 was the Spring Equinox, when the day and night are of equal length and the days continue to get longer right down to Summer Solstice June 20th, which is the longest day of the year and the days get shorter thereafter. What a gift New Moon and Solstice/Equinox. Our lives can be observed in a rhythm of ebb and flow, waxing and waning, lifting of energy and pulling back and in and down. The rhythm of Earth.
I moved a table and bench from Flora Jones Garden down to Sargent-Downing Garden. My friend Betty and new member Sarah were on hand to collect Dandelion, Nettle and Valerian.
I believe the productivity of having a writing/art practice has enhanced my personal growth. The energy and light in everyday conversations with friends and associates is magical. And now, I am privileged to return to the gardens! As we know we have not had Winter and here at the end of March, we are easily a month ahead into the season temperature wise, Forsythia (Forsythia x intermedia) and Maple (Acer sp.) blooming, not due for another month. Along with the Coronavirus pandemic, the Arctic breaking heat records, a perfect storm for anxiety. Our governments doubling down on oppression, we have all we’ve ever had - community. Huddle close friends, we have entered manufactured Armageddon. We send compassion into the universe for these lost, miserable, sad souls who rule us.
April 1 is opening day in the gardens for me. I was sad but at Flora Jones, but excited for new ventures. Flora Jones Garden was a barter for land at the beginning of my gardening self. Native Americans believe “we belong to the Earth, the Earth does not belong to us,” so I have avoided ownership of land all these years. We consider it now, just to have a hub in New York as we’d like to travel in retirement. I love my sunny apartment, though tiny, it is easy to clean and on the second floor of a house with windows in the front and rear. Not to mention affordable and in line with the Simple Life. I provided Flora with fresh vegetables in return for the use of the space. She had been having the lawn mowed regularly, but remembered food coming out of the garden in Alabama when she was a child. The space is 50 x 70 and was my wild herb garden. Too wild ultimately, for neighbors, family and friends. I began 2019 wondering how I would find the way to move one because my business has started to make money and my time would be better spent developing it. When the opposition began I decided to take my leave. Immediately, I gained a paid gig, Michelle’s Cottage Garden, that will begin this season. Exciting times.
Routine grounds me these days where it would have bored me in the past. The humdrum. It is important to maintain our routines in these days of mandatory shelter in place policies come down from at least state governments. I got the last of my seed orders in and now look to live plants and propagation supplies. What a gift that we are at the start of the growing season. We’ll have Wild Salad soon enough. I look forward to new sites for my wild plant family.
Jewelweed, Impatiens pallida, I. capensis, Balsaminaceae, Annual, Turtle Island
Impatiens pallida flowers are yellow and I. capensis is the more well known orange colored flower Jewelweed. I have only seen or used Jewelweed wild. I have been graced with her presence at SDG. I make a Jewelweed salve for poison ivy. The young shoots up to six feet can be eaten as a vegetable. The young shoots can also be boiled to make a soup that can then be frozen into ice cubes that are affective soothing relief for poison ivy.
Juneberry, Amelanchior canadensis, Rosaceae, Tree, Turtle Island
Juneberry fruit is a cross between a Blueberry and Cherry, size falling right in between. Often made into jelly, the fruit is also loved by birds. Once the fruit occur get out there and get them, for they do not last long. I have three Juneberry outside of my place and I remembered to stop over and collect the berries last season. There is a tiny seed inside that probably made them not viable for commercial production.
Lamb’s Quarter, Chenopodium album, Chenopodiaceae, Perennial, Turtle Island
Highest level of iron of any green, I had a Lamb’s Quarter the size of a small tree at Flora Jones last season. I had to cut it down witha saw, the ‘trunk’ was easily two inches in diameter. I harvested the ‘branches’ for seed as well as the leaves for Wild Salad. Nutty in flavor, Lamb’s Quarter also contains protein.
Hold tight, friends. We are in the next phase of our lives. Community is what we have, all we have ever had, all we will ever have. Stay in touch with your community members. Hold them close and make sure everyone stays in contact with one another. The growing season is upon us. We are ready to go. Grow food for next Winter. We are open air beings. Fresh air, sunshine are always therapeutic for us. We are Earth beings, connected to Earth. We belong to the Earth, the Earth does not belong to us.