A Soft June Morning

The great thing about spring and summer is there is never really a moment to mourn the passing of one magnificent blooming plant because others are following with their own radiant show.

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As we bid goodbye to such spring lovelies as Alliums, Tree Peonies and Bleeding Hearts.

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We are greeted with the arrival of Roses, Iris, Poppies and so many other beloveds.

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Much as I would like nothing better than to keep my nose buried in the Flowers like the honeybees, I’m not quite finished with planting the gardens and must take myself elsewhere. My last two big planting projects this week have been the Red Shiso and the Venus Garden. During the last couple of days, Emily and I planted the Red Shiso. This is a very frost sensitive plant so we wait until we are pretty sure there won’t be any more frosts before sowing this seed. It is the one crop that we can’t manage without so everything to do with the Shiso gets a lot of focus. This is true of the Venus Garden too because of its cutting edge role in our Flower Essence Collection and the way this garden takes us forward on our Green Hope Farm camino.

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This morning, no one was around to help me start planting the Venus Garden so, while a cardinal bird sang to us, I drafted MayMay and Riley to give moral support.

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They rose to the challenge and did their assignment of resting nearby with great panache.

Camino Bound

One of the new collections of Flower Essences at Green Hope Farm is our wonderful Camino collection made last June and July by Elizabeth Sheehan.

I remain eternally grateful that while she walked from the Pyranees in southern France to Santiago de Compostela and Fisterra in Galicia Spain on this ancient pilgrim route, she stopped to smell the Flowers AND make us some mighty Flower Essences.

And there are more gifts coming! Elizabeth spent the last year writing a book about her Camino. It’s in the final stages of layout and editing before a press run later this summer. All of us at Green Hope Farm can’t wait to share this book, Once Upon a Trail, with you. It’s a gripping read!

We will keep you posted and offer the book to one and all as soon as it is published!

In the meantime, Elizabeth decided to finish her year of writing about the Camino by giving herself the gift of a second Camino.

Yesterday, we launched her again, almost a year to the day when she left for her first Camino.

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Here she gets some last minute trail pointers from May May who trained with Elizabeth all year. In between writing sessions, they clocked over a thousand miles of walking to prepare Elizabeth for today when she arrives in Madrid then makes her way by train, bus and taxi to the trail head at St Jean Pied de Port at the foot of the Pyranees.

The Dogs’ New Clothes

It was a great idea. It seemed like a good idea. I’m not sure it was a good idea.

We would get a professional to groom and clip May May and Riley with a puppy cut.

It would the first time in their relaxed country lives that they got gussied up. It would be the first time since the womb that they would be naked.

I tuned in to the two of them before making the call to the groomer. Neither seemed to have an opinion, but then why would they? Would any self respecting country dog ask for this? “Yes, I like the idea of being shaved from neck to toe.” Can you imagine either asking for this? If only I had known what I know now…….

Oh yes, hindsight is always 20-20.

So we went for it.

Gave them both a puppy cut for the summer. Told ourselves things like, “They will be so cool during hot summer months.” Like today, when it is about 40 degrees and they are holed up on the couch wearing an expressions that says “Wrap me in heated blankets.”

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They could be saying, “Look how buff I am! I walk ten miles a day and it shows.” But they aren’t saying this.

May May is saying, “How COULD you?” and Riley is saying, “Just let me hide under this table until this indignity passes.”
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And what am I saying to them, in addition to ” I’m sorry.” I am saying, “Your lovely hair will grow back and we won’t try this stunt again unless you make it clear that you really love it.” I don’t know what this would take for me to be convinced. Every time I see one of them I am shocked speechless!

Maybe it is time for the heated blankets to cover them up, and not just for them! After seven years of a lot of hair, their hairless state is too much information for all of us!

I am Reminded Never to Gamble with Jack Frost

When the Baltimore Orioles arrive, it is hard not to think, SUMMER IS HERE. And the Baltimore Orioles are here, settling in and giving us their frequent telltale flash of orange.

As this long lovely Memorial Day weekend unfolded, it was hard to be patient about waiting to plant out the tender annuals ’til next week when we are past the frost danger, especially as the plants in the cold frames and greenhouse looked miffed by their potbound existence.

So yesterday saw me roll the dice and plant out some tender plants that can’t handle frosts. Fortunately, I only took pity on a few of the bevy of impatient greenhouse beauties.

I say fortunately because my decision to plant some tender annuals immediately proved a bad call.

As I tucked in the last of dozens of Cosmos and Cucumbers, feeling oh so organized and happy with myself, neighbor Teddy came by to tell me we were going to get a frost.

At dusk, as I scurried around with yards and yards and yards of protective season extender cloth, the skies grew crystal clear and cold in that pre frost sort of way. I covered all the newly planted baby plants with gobs of this white cloth and went to bed hoping the wind wouldn’t blow all the cloth off the plants during the night.

At five this morning, I crunched across the icy grass to see how many had died where the wind had blown off the cloth. There were a few casualties especially among the Cosmos. Thirty years here and you’d think I would get it. Let everything in the greenhouse look peaked and potbound for a few days. Its better than the alternative.

So lesson learned. The restless 120 tomato plants and the flats and flats of perky basil, peppers, and eggplants are going to have to wait Pot bound and safe they will stay ’til next week.

In any case, the tough perennials, impervious to frost, are putting on a wonderful show in the gardens.

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I can’t get enough of these Purple Sensation Alliums and have them everywhere. The bees love them at least as much as I do.
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A new color Tree Peony is blooming here for the first time. These Flowers are simply over the top.
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I love our Red Chestnut tree. Their candelabras look so unusually tropical for our arctic climate. As a Flower Essence, we offer Red Chestnut individually and also put it in our mix “Anxiety” because it is for those who get anxious for others. A real gem of support and one of Dr. Bach’s original 38 remedies.
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Up close, it only grows in calming sweetness. Now, I am off to fold up all the season extender cloth, hoping I won’t be yanking it all out again to use tonight.

In the Woods

With the launch of the new web site, I am painfully aware of the gaps in our photographs of Flowers.

When I started making Flower Essences, it didn’t occur to me to take a photograph of the Flower before making the Essence. I had no sense of the mission of Green Hope Farm beyond the vaguest parameters. Later this process of photographing everything would seem like a no brainer- but that would be later.

So now I am playing catch up. I have a list of all the Flower Essences in the main collections that don’t have a photograph and this summer I will be working to fill in the gaps. When photographing the Flower is beyond my reach, I hope to have Emily do an illustration. I have her working on this already with some gems from the Desert collection.

I also am beginning to take on the Additional Flower Essence list in the hopes to eventually have a photograph or illustration to share for all these precious Flower Essences too.

In that spirit, I set off into the woods on numerous expeditions this weekend to try and find Wildflowers I needed to photograph. And there was no time to waste as many Wildflowers bloom in the spring but blossom and fade fast. In fact, our early Spring heat wave meant that some treasures like Trout Lily came and went before I could take their picture. I felt myself lucky to find a solitary blossom of Hepatica to use as our Flower representative of the mix Digestive Woes as this one also had passed quickly because of the early heat.

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Notice Hepatica’s signature of liver shaped leaves, no surprise it has a place in Digestive Woes.
I also looked for a Flower from our Outburst mix, the incredible Wild Columbine.

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Straying into the woods meant finding so many old friends.

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Foamflower, from our Additional Flower Essence list, brings wonderful information about cooling down heated situations.
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Here’s Ginseng, an incredible powerhouse of an Essence and one we include in our Memory mix. This photograph doesn’t do this Flower justice and I hope to go back and try to get a better photograph.

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I love this photograph of Yellow Violet but somehow it is the one below that makes me think on its depths and character as a Flower Essence.

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While my description of Yellow Violet in the Additional List suggests that this Essence helps us see the significance of even the smallest of daily events, the maroon veining so apparent in this second photo suggests Yellow Violet’s ability to help us harvest the learning from small difficulties. Meeting her again in the woods meant that I will go back to the Additional Essence list and revise (and hopefully improve) her description. My walks also meant that some Flower friends who had not been made into Flower Essences before, became Essences yesterday.

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Starflower is in the primrose family. Isn’t she exquisite?

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Canada Mayflower or Wild Lily-of-the-Valley has been a friend since childhood. Now I will need to sit with her and find out her vibrational gifts.

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White Baneberry, above, was a new acquaintance as was Miterwort, below. Both are also new Flower Essences as of yesterday.

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Miterwort has small cup shaped blossoms up its long stalks, all appearing to listen attentively. Given its double leaves in opposition at the bottom, I bet this one is about listening better in partnerships. I will need to take some and sit down and listen myself before knowing for certain.

The last Flower who insisted on being included in this blog was the familiar Wild Violet. Such a sweet face!

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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!