This May Morning in the Garden!

We have been busy as honeybees inside and outside now that spring has arrived. Weekends are when I do most of the gardening so today will see me out there until dusk!

Before I trot off with my trowel and wheelbarrow, I want to give a shout out to our hoop house which has transformed my gardening life. As I have often noted here before, there is a farm down the road where if they need to move four rocks they purchase a backhoe, front loader and dump truck whereas up here on the hill we have tools from the ice age. Move that 20′ diameter pile of compost? Lets do it with our hands!

So the hoop house is a marvelous and out of character upgrade. Thank you Angels and Elementals for finding us people who wanted to give use their hoop house, and thank you Alix and Martha!

In BHH years (as in before hoop house years) I would move all the tropical plants in the greenhouse into our kitchen so I could use their greenhouse home for seed flats. It was a horrible thing to do to the tropical plants. Just when they were getting the light and warmth they craved, I would move them to circumstances of considerable less light. This year we are still germinating the seed flat in the long hallway that connects the farmhouse to the office building. However, once the baby plants have a few of their true leaves, they are whipped down to the hoop house where I tenderly cover them with frost cloth at night like a mama tucking in a baby. They have been gloriously happy as have the Bermuda babies who haven’t lost their place in the sun.

I just ran down to the hoop house to take this photo.

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Note the Peter Rabbit type watering can. As a stone age old fashioned classic gardener, I encourage you to snap up any old galvanized tin watering cans you find at tag sales. I found this one last year at a friend’s tag sale. It had a leak which was easily fixed with a piece of duct tape. Now it is my garden love object, going everywhere with me. It is better balanced and easier to pour from than all the plastic watering cans I have always used. I hope some intrepid manufacturer brings these cans back!

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The Daffodils are really coming into their own in the Arbor Garden. What would spring be without these friends?

Today I will continue with planting one of the main vegetable gardens. I have lots of baby brassicas hardening off in one of the cold frames, and the Angels tell me that these can go in the ground. This suggests that we have gone from full tilt winter to full on late spring because a hard frost would damage these baby cabbages, brussel sprouts and broccoli. If they tell me to plant, it must mean we are not going to have a hard frost until next fall.

It is wonderful exciting to image we really are done with winter ( for now).

I also have so much weeding to do everywhere. I love weeding! So many lovely things to savor between satisfying battles with crab grass!

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Here the Magnolia is just beginning to open and when the sun reaches them, the Bloodroot beneath will also open in a sort of light filled shadow beneath the tree!

At the Starting Gate

Right now is the warm up before the big race. The soil in the gardens is either frozen or too mushy to dive into, but I am at the start line ready for the precise moment when it is thawed and dry enough to dive into. My trowel, claw, pruners and favorite shovel are with me. I remind myself AND SHEBA that we need to stay out the beds just a little but longer. Perhaps in as soon as a week I will be able to cross the start line into the mad dash which is spring in northern New England.

While I wait at the start line, I scribe my dreams. No trip through the gardens is complete without crumpled notes and Grace and Sheba careening around the paths. Any pause is a chance to search for new life and early Flowers. Due to my exuberant plantings of Snowdrops, almost anywhere we stop there are Snowdrops at our feet. Such bliss after six eight nine months of winter.

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This is our first full spring with a hoop house on the property. It is a delirious experience for me. Every square inch is glorious green already. Because I call the seedlings “baby plants,” Grace thinks she needs to be quiet so these babies can sleep. This morning she lifted up the frost cloth still covering the plants and made a shhhhhh sound to Sheba.

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Of course Sheba ignored Grace. Spring is spring, and a dog’s got to celebrate with wild loops in fields and a fair bit of barking.

Every flat surface in the office, greenhouse and kitchen is covered in seed flats but that still leaves me searching for various perennials online that I can’t grow from seed.

When I placed several orders last week, I noted that I have a greenhouse, a hoop house AND cold frames so please, send the order NOW. Nonetheless, someone from every company called me back to say that they didn’t want to send the plants until the middle of May. I had to beg and plead to get them to release the plants. Fingers crossed they will arrive any day.

During phone calls like this, I clutch my well loved catalog from the long defunct Roseraie at Bayfields in Waldoboro, ME. The man who ran this place, Lloyd Brace, was more than a bit of fresh air. He had so much genuine wisdom about Roses that whenever I am arguing with someone about sending me the Roses I ordered, I think of how Lloyd said to plant them as soon as the ground could be worked. As in the moment the ice is gone and the soil is not too soggy. Like NEXT WEEK not the end of May!!!!

Here is exactly what he said, “Though you can plant a Rose any time your shovel can penetrate the ground, it’s best to plant Roses as early in the spring as you can dig. Even if a few leaf shoots get nipped in a late frost, the roots will be building a foundation that is much more important. We start planting April 15th here in Waldoboro.”

During the years I got Roses from Lloyd Brace, I would plant the Roses right on Lloyd’s schedule. I will do this again this year if anyone believes me and sends the Roses when I asked for them.

Lloyd’s two pages on how to plant a Rose is one of the documents that I move from one year’s garden folder to the next. Here is a typical Lloyd piece of common sense, “Be patient with your Roses. Like children, they are all different but they all respond to care and constancy.”

I also love his comment on what kinds of manure to use, “Use manure, not shavings and hay slightly stained by a debutante’s pampered mount.”

And here is his general suggestion about Rose care, “Roses are like complex computer software. They enable marvelous happenings that your garden couldn’t stage before. There is an important difference, though; I can’t offer you a “Quick start for those who don’t want to read the whole manual” section at the outset. The Rose you buy from us is probably going to do its thing if you don’t get in the way too much and if you don’t hurry it. It’s not an appliance that you plug in and get instant color. It’s a part of nature that you’ve imported to your back yard. You can’t “make” it do much of anything, but you do a lot to empower it. In a nutshell: good place, good timing, good hole, good soil, good depth, good care.”

I can’t wait to get busy in a few days digging those holes!

Flower Essences from Patagonia

Green Hope Farm staffer Molly Sanders brought these Flower Essences back to us from the Torres del Paines region of Patagonia in the fall of 2014. We welcome these Flower Essences from Patagonia and delight in this opportunity to share them with you!

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THE ANTARCTIC FLORAL KINGDOM
One special thing about these Patagonian Flower Essences is that they come from a very different Floral Kingdom than our own. Flowering plants originate from six distinct geographic regions known as Floral Kingdoms. Each Floral Kingdom contains endemic plants found only in that Floral Kingdom as well as plants transplanted there from other Kingdoms.


These Patagonian Flower Essences come from the Antarctic Floral Kingdom of Antarctica, Patagonia and New Zealand, three landmasses south of 40 degrees south latitude. The Antarctic Floral Kingdom includes these geographically distant places because of their shared origins hundreds of million of years ago as part of the supercontinent landmass of Gondwana.


When Gondwana broke up, Patagonia experienced a further 10 million years as a geographical island drifting in isolation from other landmasses. This isolation resulted in a high number of Flowers endemic only to Patagonia. Not surprisingly, these Flowers hold a unique wisdom to a very high degree.

THE WISDOM OF PATAGONIAN FLOWERS
The Flowers of Patagonia have a wisdom that is very heart centered. Their geological history translates into practical wisdom for us to find a similar heart centered experience of life. They handled their experience of separation from a greater whole by translating loss into detachment. From a place of detachment, they went inward to anchor in the eternal reality of the Divinity within them, recognizing this Divinity within as their essential and only eternal self-identity.

Experiences of loss call all of us to detachment. We have to let go because what we were holding onto is gone. Because the Patagonian Flowers have navigated the evolutionary journey of loss, detachment and a blossoming of divine self-identity in the wake of this detachment, these Flowers help us better grasp the gifts of this detachment. They also help us find our own divine self identity as they did.

From outward focus to detachment to an anchoring in our hearts where we know and experience our inner relationship with Divinity: this is the journey the Patagonian Flower Essences support us to take. They literally flip us on our heads and pour us into the depths of our hearts. For that, I thank them and Molly Sanders too who went a very long way to bring us back these healing gems.

These Patagonian Flowers hold a deep desire to share their Flower Essences with you. Their definitions were dictated to me in one crystal clear session. I typed as fast as I could and still their love bubbled faster! Thank you Patagonian friends!

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FOXGLOVE FROM PATAGONIA Digitalis purpurea
This Flower Essence creates the foundation from which our relationship with the Flowers of the Antarctic Floral Kingdom, the Elementals of these Flowers and their Flower Essences proceeds. This is the Flower Essence to help you fully anchor in your electrical system the wisdom of all Patagonian Flower Essences.

Foxglove Flower Essence acts as an electrical relay for the electrical wisdom of Flower Essences to transfer from the Elementals holding it in form to us. This is a unique collection of Essences requiring the Foxglove relay because the electrical patterns of these Flowers are very different than those of our Floral Kingdom, and they present us with very different vibrational materials than we have experienced.

If you decide to work with any of these Flower Essences from Patagonia, your electrical receptivity to their wisdom will be greatly enhanced by working with this Flower Essence.

I AM the full assimilation of the Flower wisdom of Patagonia.

Please note that in the photo above, an Elemental has shown itself to the right of the Foxglove Flower.

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OURISIA POEPPIGLI Ourisia Poeppigli
With its beautiful clear red tubular bell shaped blossoms, this Flower and its Flower Essence offer a template for a new way to live in the body. The wisdom of this Patagonian Flower helps us reframe our experience of life in a physical body especially if we have had a mental focus in which we have seen our body as a tool, a vehicle, a bother or a mechanism that breaks down. Ourisia supports us to more fully inhabit our physical bodies with an increased vitality, a deepening love for our bodies and an expanded but extremely grounded experience of being spirit incarnate.

I AM the temple of Divinity incarnate.

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CHILEAN FIREBUSH Embrothium coccineum
Chilean Firebush helps us release mental loops and pockets of mind ideas that no longer serve us. It brings a very thorough cleansing while keeping us anchored in the verities of infinite intelligence. This results in an experience of a vibration of self that is both grounded and greatly expanded. In being fully present to the particular we are released into something greater than ourselves.

As a plant, Chilean Firebush exudes a substance that transmutes otherwise inaccessible forms of nutrients into forms that can be utilized. In a similar way, this Essence helps us transmute mental agitation into channels of useful universal mind ideas for a fuller experience of spiritual nourishment and self-identity.

I AM infinite intelligence.

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ADESMIA LOTOIDES Adesmia lotoides
This lovely pale purple Flower in the legume family is endemic to Patagonia. It once bore the name Patagonium before it was assigned a new Latin name. Adesmia’s sprawling and abundant beds of soft purple Flowers invite us to sink down and savor its sweet enveloping beauty and kindness. Its Flower Essence invites a softening of our sharp edges and sharp thoughts. It softens our grudges against self by unlatching us from the thoughts of judgment and division that have long held us captive. It gives us a palpable experience of the grace of our circumstances in which there is infinite opportunity to find our way, nothing real has been lost and all else can and will be dissolved in love and forgiveness.

I AM a wellspring of love and forgiveness.

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ANGEL ORCHID- Codonorchis lessonii
This Orchid Flower Essence awakens us into an experience of Divinity in each now. It ripens us to ask for Divine support then rest in a quieted mind until we absorb the response of love. It helps us create a back and forth exchange that deepens until all lines of demarcation are gone, and we realize we are the love coming out to greet ourselves. In creating a space of quiet receptivity within us, it helps us dissolve the temporary mindset of disconnection that would have us believe ourselves separate from Divinity.

It is time for us to know and live from a place of knowing and accepting our oneness with Divinity, and this Orchid friend wants to help us.

I AM awake to my one true self.

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CALCEOLARIA Calceolaria
This beauty has a puffy yellow pouch marked with speckles of brown inside its lip. Its Flower Essence helps us tap into the great reservoir of inner knowing within all of us. Calceolaria helps us anchor in this reservoir so that when painful events occur, we move forward confident we will transform the painful experiences into wisdom by simply returning to this inner reservoir. It is another Patagonian gem intent on dissolving pain by returning us to the great reservoir within us of pure knowing, pure compassion and love with detachment. Calceolaria tells us, “Your sorrows and difficulties really ARE grist for the mill, helping you find the reality of your inner Divinity. I help you experience this.”

I AM pure knowing.

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PINK WANDS FROM PATAGONIA
This Flower glows in shades of pink with its flowering wands rising to the sky. It describes itself as adept at marshalling our sweet inner reserves in response to difficulties. It bolsters us in our efforts at loving kindness in response to whatever has happened. It helps us find the balance of self-love and engaging in the world with confident loving action. In any circumstance in which others have treated us from a mindset of self interest and selfishness, this Flower Essence affirms our belief that love not self interest is the transformative way forward and helps us ground this in every action, small and large.

I AM steady in my choice of loving kindness.

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ESCALLONIA FROM PATAGONIA Escallonia rubra
Gratefulness for the journey. This precious Flower Essence helps us experience gratitude even when the journey has been arduous beyond measure. It helps us know that nothing real was lost and everything valuable and eternal lies within us.

I AM and all is well.

Each of these beloved new Flower Essence friends are bottled and ready for you. A 1/2 oz. bottle is $7.35 and a 2 oz. bottle is $25. Email us at green.hope.farm@valley.net to order and please share with us your experiences with these new lovelies!

Winter Buttercup from the Austrian Alps

The ski coach frantically texted Vicki, “Where are you? You’re going to miss the plane!”

Vicki ignored the texts and kept running higher and higher into the Tyrolean Alps. She WOULD find that Flower calling to her before catching the plane back to America.

As she ran, Vicki felt the Flower itself was giving her the perseverance to come find it. Up the mountain she went, her cell phone buzzing in her back pocket.

The higher Vicki climbed the smaller the village of Juns appeared below her and the more panoramic the view of the Hintertux glacier, but Vicki was not there to take in the view. She was on a mission. She would not rest until she found the Flower. She had seen it on an earlier trek, blooming in the snow, but she worried that a snowstorm the night before might have finally put an end to its brave display in a winter landscape.

At long last, there it was. The Buttercup lifted its face from the snow, its brilliant yellow defying the odds, its sweet strong voice calling to Vicki loudly that it wanted to be made into a Flower Essence. Vicki crouched down beside the Flower and began.

Meanwhile down in the valley, the ski coach was flipping his lid. Green Hope Farm farm staff goddess Vicki had come of the ski trip as a math and science tutor for a collection of high school skiers. It was a break from her life in a dorm of fifty teenage boys and a chance to visit the Austrian Alps. Each dark December night she had held her scholar athletes’ noses to their computers. But each day, while her charges skied the Hintertux glacier, she hiked the mountains to her heart’s content. All had gone smoothly until now, for in this particular moment there was not a lot of harmony between her and the ski coach. Over and over again the coach texted, “WHERE ARE YOU?”

For goodness sake! She was BUSY! She had important work to do. The ski team and the plane would just have to wait!!!!

And so we received this lovely Flower Essence kindness of Vicki- and yes they made the plane!

Vicki found this Buttercup blooming in snowy Alps in the middle of December. It is significant that the Flower is a Buttercup. They are a Flower of Midsummer Night’s Eve. Buttercup’s affirmation is, I AM the eternal light of summer. And this Buttercup expressed this truth in a profound way, shining its light way beyond the season of a summer wildflower. It was still blooming just days before the Winter Solstice!

Since this Buttercup Flower Essence’s safe arrival back to Green Hope Farm, it has been supporting us to persevere through our long winter. It has helped us hold our light in dark times. Already the Angels have suggested it for many of you when circumstances in your life press in and you need support to be hold your light and feel the light of summer within you even as wintry events flood your life.

Today, Winter Buttercup from the Austrian Alps joins our collections ready for one and all. Thank’s to its clear strong voice and Vicki’s inner listening, perseverance AND willingness to put a Flower above a plane schedule, we have this Flower Essence ready for you all!

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Finding New Lows During this Endless Winter

As you may know, I take care of Grace four mornings a week while Lizzie works in the office. During the green months of the year all two of them, Grace and I have no problems frolicking away the morning hours. She likes dirt as much as I do, and I return her to her mother each day covered with the stuff.

This winter its been more challenging for both of us. The deep snows mean we can only walk on the road, and the deep chill means a long walk for us is about twenty minutes. That’s about when frostbite danger gets real. We all know the weather channel likes to be apocalyptic dramatic but they haven’t exaggerated about the AMOUNT of snow or the SEVERITY of the cold we have had in the NE. One morning it felt “warm” to me, and I took Grace on a brisk stroll only to look at the thermometer on our return. It was 8 degrees below zero. We had 27 degrees below zero just two nights ago. It has gotten above freezing only once in the last two months, and on that day we felt like beach bunnies in Boca (and looked as pale as creatures who had never seen the light of day).

This weather means Grace and I have had to find out entertainment indoors, and I have had to dig deep into my grandmother’s bag of tricks to make things fun for us.

Any errand is done at a snail’s pace. This delights 2 1/2 year old Grace who wants to dawdle anyways. A trip to the grocery store can take the whole morning. We start off with a snack of sushi in the store’s cafe then we visit each aisle at least once for a chat with everyone we encounter. We now know every stocker, butcher, produce person, bagger and check out goddess in the place, and all of them know about Grace’s dog friends Sheba and Reina.

But how many trips to the grocery store are necessary each week? (The very question Jim has been asking me as he looks in our overstuffed refrigerator). Sadly, only one (or two during a realllllly slow week).

This means we have time to fill at the farm. Water has played a key part in our sanity daily routine. Grace has spent a thousand hours at the sink. I don’t care what she washes or how much water is on the floor. I don’t care how much soap she uses or if something gets broken. When the sink activity pales, I set her free in the greenhouse with the watering wand. It’s meant to be a tropical rainforest out there and with Grace in charge it will stay that way.

Way back at the beginning of this long long long winter, we read a lot of books together. But we are antsy now, both of us. Right about now with a small eternity of winter under our belt, she and I would both rather be AT the dog party than reading about it in Go Dog Go.

We crayon a lot, sometimes on the walls. Thank goodness for toothpaste which gets the crayon off.

We prepare a lot of snacks. Probably too many, but at least the prep time means a few minutes when we have an activity.

We go upstairs every day and visit the old bedrooms of Grace’s aunt and uncles. We bounce on their beds, play with their stuff and toss around their precious mementos which they care about so much that they have abandoned them here. Sheba is ever at our side chewing on the precious mementos.

Sinking to a new low- perhaps it was the day I let Grace dance on the coffee table all morning- I trawled Amazon for books that might help me fill our morning hours with some creative projects. I purchased a book by a grandmother whom I will call “Granny B” . She had written a slim volume on activities to do with one’s grandchildren. The book received about a zillion positive reviews perhaps from the same people who brought us the phrase “Vote early and vote often.”

Here are some of Granny B’s suggestions- the comments in bold are mine!

Take your grandchildren to a farm- Done! Frankly Granny B, we are trying to get off the farm right about now!

Buy your grandchildren a set of enclyclopedias- Well it would provide a medium other than walls for Grace’s art.

Plant a small garden together- We plan to plant a big one if the glacier ever retreats.

Give your grandchild a bath- Every day is filled with baths Granny B, and we also wash Sheba, every dish in the house and the walls of the kitchen.

Take them to see the mountains- It is hard to imagine a grandchild getting too excited about mountains unless perhaps Himalayan peaks, however I show the ones outside our window to Grace every day, and she has shown exactly no interest.

Always have their favorite food available when they visit- Granny B, my larder is stocked with every cheese, cracker, squeeze bag of fruits and vegetables, yogurt, berry and chip her little heart desires. She eats 15% of each snack and drops the rest on the floor. No wonder Sheba needs to diet.

Make snowballs and put them in the freezer. Really Granny B? My entire world is already filled with snow- you think I want to share my freezer with SNOWBALLS????

Always have popsicles- Granny B, we live in a popsicle.

Give your granddaughter a corsage for special events- Does a day when we see the sun count as a special event?

Always have flashlights that work and teach your grandchildren how to change the batteries- Granny B, Grace is the only one of the two of us who can turn on and off the flashlight on my iphone so that ship- the one with the battery operated flashlights on it- sailed a long long time ago.

Always have an answer to the question “Why?”- My question for you Granny B is, “Why Granny B? Why?”

Show your grandchildren how to use a computer- Granny B, this would be the blind leading the blind. Personally I try to have Grace explain to me the tricks she knows about ipad, computers and cell phones.

Cut meat in itsy bitsy pieces- Well Granny B, this would give us an activity.

Be calm- even when your grandchildren spill grape juice on your new carpet- Granny B, I definitely have this one down cold. I relish the spills- Cleaning up gives us something to do.

Make real cookies using a rolling pin- Yup, me and my waistline show that this has been a constant part of our winter fun.

On one side of a page Granny B says, “Encourage and help your grandchildren save money.” and on the other side of the page she says, “Give them money to blow!- Clearly Granny B’s winter also lasted too long and she lost the bead on her message.

Oh Granny B, thank you for your ideas. They gave me a laugh. Now it is back to the living room to watch Grace dance on the coffee table.

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Grace working over the sushi at the beginning of a grocery mission- Sheba would have been better on clean up than the plastic horse Grace insisted we bring.

As a community of Flowers, Angels, Nature Spirits, Dogs, Cats and even some People, Green Hope Farm can be a funny place……and I love telling you all about it!