There are few things about Green Hope Farm that have generated more controversy as the fact we do not take credit cards. While I can ramble on ’til the cows come home about what I believe the Angels reasons are for this overarching financial structure, I never have felt I had a full grasp on the whys of this guidance.
Yes, it has led to much more of a direct relationship with the folks getting our Flower Essences. It is a straightforward exchange without middlemen. Yes, it has created an atmosphere of goodwill and trust that I am deeply grateful for. Yes, I have liked many things about this oddly old fashioned financial set-up. But the truth is, I really have no full understanding of why the Angels continue to ask us to run Green Hope Farm in this way. All I know is that the Angels reasons must be good since this is a considerable inconvenience to some of you, especially to our international customers.
The reason why I am thinking about this today is because of this year’s Red Shiso crop. The main “vegetable” garden was planted 1/4 in vegetables, 1/4 in Flower and 1/2 in Red Shiso going out in rows from the center of the garden like rays from the sun.
Here is what the Flower part of the garden looks like right now though I never think distant shots do justice to the Flowers.
There are an especially large number of Zinnias both the large ones in the first photo and the wonderful profusion series in shades of pink, apricot, copper, orange and gold. The Flowers section is a triangle opening to the east towards Ben’s new house. It feels like a welcome aboard celebratory garden to me.
And here below is a look at part of the Red Shiso section.
The Red Shiso germinated well this year, and because I had removed all mulch from the gardens, the snails and slugs were more manageable than some years. We seemed poised for a growing season without too much controversy, heartbreak or head scratching.
However, soon the Red Shiso was competing with volunteer Calendulas, and my guidance from the Angels was to remove a minimal amount of Calendula plants and leave them to generously fill in between all the Red Shiso rows.
I dearly love Calendulas, but no one can accuse them of being polite in their presence in a garden. They will take up all the space given them and then twice as much besides. So this summer has seen me trying to push back the Calendulas so that the Red Shiso can get taller than these Flowers, thus paving the way for both plants to thrive. I have checked in a lot about this guidance to leave the Calendulas, much as I check in about things like credit cards frequently because this really matters a lot. We can lose any crop in the gardens and go on about our business EXCEPT the Red Shiso crop.
Late last week another person who grows Red Shiso emailed me that her Red Shiso crop was completely overrun with a virus and that she would have no Red Shiso this year. Calendula is a very grounded protective crop with incredible Elemental energy. Once she emailed me, I could feel how this year, the Calendula was protecting the health of the Red Shiso. This was my first heads up as to one reason for the Angels’ advice.
Then we had a big hail storm.
The hail was up to a quarter in size and did more damage than any hail storm I can remember. Many plants were shredded beyond recognition like the lily pads and the leaves on the Sunflowers. Crops like lettuce and bean plants were chopped right there in the gardens. But in the wind of the storm. the Calendula plants flopped over on the Red Shiso and protected most of it from damage. The Red Shiso where there were no Calendulas had severely damaged leaves. The rest was fine.
There is such grace in the Angelic nudges and prods we all receive. As I surveyed the limited damage done to the Red Shiso by the hail, I could only be glad for my willingness to listen to the Angels’ guidance and follow through even when their advice makes no sense to me. But mostly I was just grateful for all the support we get from our tireless and patient Angels that don’t take too seriously all our sputtering and head scratching when we don’t understand their advice, but just keep on gently providing course corrections to see us on our way with minimal bumps and maximum growth.