Posts Tagged ‘Garden Update’

Garden Firsts: Columbine, Iris, Sea Kale, Rhododendron, Roses, and the Portable 2017 Garden


Stunning columbines this year! It is crazy windy today, so some of these photos aren’t as clear as I’d like. Too pretty to keep to myself, though. 🙂


Flowering sea kale, is an edible perennial that looks good all season. Even better, you can eat every single part from roots to shoots to leaves to buds to flowers:


The first of many varieties of irises bloomed today:

This scabrosa rose makes huge hips, but the bees and I love the flowers, too:


Ever since I was a child, rhododendrons have bloomed on my birthday. This one came a few days early, right behind a pink geranium I’ve overwintered since our time in Madison:



I’m loving this rag tag, makeshift backdoor planter. I just stuck these pots outside to get them out of the way while moving plants as I made way for those from the blue house. This pineapple sage, red geranium, mystery plant, and ivy seem so happy and spontaneously coordinated, though, that I left them on concrete blocks I needed to move out of the garage anyway:


Speaking of rag tag, this year’s annuals are very portable. Here’s my non-perennial and perennial cuttings garden, potted up and ready for a late June transplant to our new location:


So far so good. I needed to empty our Garden Tower for easier moving, and I didn’t want to waste the soil. Ideally, containers begin with fresh soil, but I mixed in Epsom salts and worm castings to add nutrients. Once we arrive at the new spot, I’ll transplant these into 20 gallon fabric bags I bought for tender fruit and berry bushes. It will be a gradual shift to the permanent raised beds, but I got these huge, handled garden bags on a super discount. They and a strawberry filled Garden Tower will allow me to have a productive garden even as I observe the yard for more permanent hardscaping and planting.

At first, I thought I might skip gardening altogether this year, but I just can’t bring myself to do that! I’ve got big plans for edible perennials in our new front yard, and the backyard will have raised beds and container fruit trees and berry bushes. Rather than rush something permanent, I decided to compromise — give myself a fully productive garden in a very small space while I allow the land, shadows and microclimates to inform what happens longer term.

Updates to come …

Garden Update: Heaven Scent

Our yard smells too delicious not to share these photos. Enjoy!










Garden Update: Bursting Forth and Bittersweet

I’ve been so busy with sessions and house hunting, which makes this season’s Dance of Spring a little bittersweet. The literally thousands of bulbs I’ve planted as recently as last Autumn have begun their smiling jigs and Sufi swirls. I still contend that this circle of miniature daffodils I planted around our North Star Cherry tree, visible from the stairwell’s window, was one of the very best gifts I’ve ever given myself:


You can also see the chives poking through as they prepare to bloom in the season of alliums, while the Elfin Thyme ground cover awaits warmer weather.

As David and I view property after property, Continue reading

The Photo Version

As promised, here’s the photo version of ‘Twas the Weekend ‘Fore Autumn:

The Weekend ‘Fore Autumn


‘Twas the weekend ‘fore Autumn and all through the yard,

All the plants were a’thriving, including the chard.



The bees dined on asters; the cushaw had grown.

The mums nearly bursting, the yard freshly mown.


Thai basil hummed purple; eggplants danced in the breeze–

The garden so fragrant, it drew many a sneeze!


Sweet potato vines covered the sides of the trough,

And on sedum and zinnias, butterflies sipped on and off.


For the first time in years, the holly had berries.

Boltonia blossoms delighted the faeries.


As Fall Equinox split the light and the dark,

Those flowers all giggled at anything stark.


The Robinhood roses had been blooming since June–

So hard to believe ‘twould be Halloween soon!


Late Summer in the Garden

The days are getting shorter, and the light has softened, dipping slightly lower in the sky. The blooms of summer have subtly shifted into more of an autumn palette — still bright and yet somehow tinged with more golds, reds and brownish pinks. Here are some photos from today and yesterday.

Zinnias begin to come into their glory as we move into Autumn:


The first of several green striped cushaw squash made an appearance, alongside some marigolds and at least two more winter squash buddies. These cushaw squash grow to the size of toddlers with almost zero effort:

Green striped cushaw

Garlic chives bloom at this time of year instead of in spring like their purple cousins. Here you can see this popular insect spot, alongside purple leaf shiso (great in a hazelnut pesto!), eggplant, tomatoes, parsley, bush basil, zinnias, and cosmos.

garlic chives and shiso

The sweet potatoes in the Haus Am See trough are getting ready to bloom alongside lettuce, purple cabbage and zinnias, and some of the perennials are finally starting to take root. The trough further back currently has another white scallop squash plant, lettuce, cosmos and calendula, but I recently seeded it with cold hardy Lucullus chard and giant winter spinach. Once those come in, the squash might go. I can’t keep up with the single one I have growing out back — not sure why I planted a second! The sunflowers all over the yard continue to attract dozens of goldfinches, bees, and silly squirrels and chipmunks who climb the stems.

blue house troughs

Blackeyed Susan’s really shine at this time of year:

black eyed Susan's

… and sedum has begun its shift from white to pink to deep reddish brown:

misty sedum

I will leave you with yesterday’s bouquet speedily put together between thunderstorms and carefully delivered to David’s mom. As I stretch the seasons of bloom, I believe she’s up to about 35 weekly bouquets per year — not bad for a former wasteland in zone 5b, but I am determined to do even better!

late August bouquet

Blessed Be … and be the blessing.

Garden Photos, Vibration Shifts, and the Value of Retreat

I’m not sure what the weather’s like where you are, but here in Northern Indiana, we’re experiencing a drought this summer. I can’t even remember the last time it rained, so most of this year’s garden time has been watering rather than some of my more ambitious projects. With all the new fruit and nut trees and first year perennials in the blue house’s yard, I’ve spent much of my garden time making sure everything gets a good solid start, but in recent days, even some of far more established Faery Hof yard’s toughest plants have required extra TLC.

Despite this additional responsibility, I’m so grateful to spend meditative time among the flowers, trees, birds and bees, since earlier years involved hauling over 25,000 pounds of wood mulch, dispersing truckloads of compost, and weedwhacking between lawn mowing. This year’s drought means anything unintentional and ignored in poor soil has grown incredibly slowly, which means garden time allows for much more creation and nurturing rather than destruction. While going all Shiva has its merits, I’ve found the peaceful, running water, selected abundance, and intentional growth mirror my own quiet, yet rich retreat state.

I’ll share some photos below, along with links to retreat ideas for those without their own, live-in garden paradise. I hope you enjoy the beauty and healing. I’d also love to know if anyone can identify these prolific volunteers.

Mystery plants

At first, I thought they were jewelweed, come to counteract my lovely poison ivy ground cover that I keep meaning to eradicate but haven’t succeeded in fully removing due to proximity of other plants. You can see the mystery plants here on the north side of our house near coleus in a barrel, a zephirine rose, forsythia, rhododendron, “coral bells” heuchera, ferns and the poison ivy. Anyone know what they are?

north side of our house

Aside from these carefree gems, I’m loving these Thai Purple Podded Yard Long Beans. They had a slow start, but once established grow 7-8 inches of each bean per day! You can see them here with volunteer sunflowers in front of them. Thank you, Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds!

Thai Purple Podded Yard Long Bean

Last night we had a totally homegrown produce stirfry, including the Thai yard long’s, kalette (which appears to be exactly the same plant as my previously grown tree collards), poblano peppers, parsnip, green beans, Thai and Italian basil, and kohlrabi. We did use some non-homegrown organic, wheat free tamari, ginger, apple cider vinegar, birch sweetener, and a pinch of garlic powder for seasoning. Still, our tongues and tummies sang with homegrown goodness! You can also see our second crock of pickles, started yesterday after removing and cutting up the first batch.

all home grown dinner

Indeed, it’s cucumber and white scallop squash season! That probiotic rich sauerkraut (shown here with the Perfect Pickler setup for Mason jars) also came directly from the garden, and I’m enjoying the results of double-grown cabbages. If you cut them just right, you can often get two crops out of the same root. All but one of the earlier cabbages are growing strong again. Between all the probiotics and the daily green juices and green smoothies, it feels like spa time as our bodies soak up nutrients and sunshine.

August Morning Produce

No spa stay would feel complete without fresh flowers. These double hollyhocks needed a trim, and so our downstairs bathroom got a sweet infusion:

White hollyhocks

David’s mom gets fresh flowers pretty much every week, unless we leave town. Yesterday’s featured cosmos, bachelor’s buttons, pincushion flower, zinnias, echinacea, and Maximilian sunflowers (a less invasive edible cousin of Jerusalem artichokes):

Sunday bouquet

Some people have asked about the blue house (aka Haus Am See) yard, since I don’t show as many photos of that newly planted zone. It’s still getting established, but you can see some fun developments below:

Blue house backyard

The asparagus half circle has begun to grow in. Next year, that curved, mulched area on either side of the herb spiral will form a 4-6 foot ferny hedge surrounding a round picnic table/gathering area. To the right, you can see one of the nine hazelnut trees spread across both properties. The far right edge shows another of the tree watering rings I’ve needed to bring out again this year. Along the back fence you can just make out more asparagus, some first year hollyhocks, and two of the three paw paw trees. To the upper left, you can see the brand new roof (finally!) on the neighbors’ garage that inspired so much of my earlier vertical gardening.

That thing had been caved in since a tornado in 2009, just sitting there like an immobile, decaying eyesore, despite years of city citations, landlord complaints, offers to provide free labor for the repair and more. It simply would not budge, but somehow, all those Reiki Healing Attunements and magic seem to be taking root, because not only has that garage been repaired, but neighbors also got a new roof and windows for their house. The apartments on the other side have vastly upgraded their tenants, and for some reason, even though Goshen has a rental shortage, at least two of the eight units remain vacant.

Further down that street, another rental sits vacant next to a house for sale. The residents of those units never used to mow their lawns and were often loud and bizarre (in a disturbing, not intriguing way). Now, the yards are neatly mowed, and the houses await residents who fit the rising vibration in the growing radius of Faery Hof and Haus Am See. I find this all so interesting, as I’ve pulled my energy into very focused, hyper local retreat just to what I can see or hear around me — unless we leave town. While our area is mysteriously upgrading, I’ve heard that other spots in town have a big meth issue, and many downtown stores are now vacant.

We don’t intend to stay here long term since we’re winding down our required presence here for David’s parents’ transition to the next phase of their lives. I just find our experiences here so illustrative of how you can raise your own vibration and intensify your own focus and energy and have that ripple around you in healing ways.

A friend and I caught up at the Moringa Tree in Elkhart, and she said she almost missed out house picking me up. At first, I thought, “How could you almost miss this place?? It’s so far afield from the rest of its surroundings. It stands out.” On the way home, though, after driving though dry, blight ridden areas, we almost missed it, too. That demonstrated the reality of a suspicion I’ve also long had that when places or people become so vibrationally different than their surroundings, they disappear.

When we first moved to Goshen, I decided to start eating more cooked food to make my vibration dense enough for locals to see me. At first, I thought everyone was incredibly rude, because they would just ignore me, even while talking with David. Then I began to notice that if he turned to speak with me, people would jump back, startled as though I just appeared out of nowhere. Again and again, people said, “Oh, I’m sorry, I didn’t see you there.” Food is one of the easiest ways to moderate the density of your vibration, so adding a little cooked vegan food brought me into more normal range for at least some of the locals. In recent months, I’ve gone back to very, very high raw, lots of green juices, and only super fresh cooked food, and people just look through me again.

Those with strong faery, artistic, or Druid leanings still see the yard and apparently do see me on the rare occasions I venture out in Goshen; however, curious things keep happening with shapeshifting and size. Throughout the day, my own body morphs size and shape — not bloating, totally different body types and sometimes fitting in clothes or styles, other times not at all. Our friend Tim said something similar about our yards — that they “look way bigger than they are,” but what’s funny is that sometimes they look way smaller than they are, as when a car zips by so fast you’d blink and miss the entire block. I’ve been playing with a lot of timeline shifts, magic, sigils, and spending most of my time in Nature, magical studies or phone sessions, so I expected some time bending. Apparently, space is bending, too. With all the rabbits here, it’s a little like Wonderland.

In any case, the Haus Am See yard, continues to fill in and grow. I harvested garlic earlier this year and replaced these troughs with more white scallop squash, lettuce, cosmos, zinnias, red cabbage and sweet potatoes, which will eventually trail and bloom like morning glories. Behind the troughs you can see new annuals, perennials, a gooseberry and the bottom of a witch hazel — all of which will eventually mature into another faery flower patch and woodland:

I find Nature so healing and full of wisdom! Just wandering the yards each day and observing how plants interact with one another, as well as listening to the birds and watching all the critters, bees and beneficial wasps, butterflies and sensing faeries and gnomes fills me with an expansive sense of magic, which continues indoors with all the plants and elements inside. Although we do not intend to stay here long term, I feel called to foster an ecosystem that later tenants can easily maintain and enjoy.

This year’s respite from heavier labor feels just right after life’s intense detour this spring, helping my father in his final weeks, followed by moving my mom from their house of 30 years into a thriving and beautiful set up in her new home and community. After all the hard work, it feels good and right to water and harvest for awhile before finishing my permaculture final project and beginning new writing ventures.

If you long for retreat but don’t have a garden or woods near you, you might find Dana’s recent post on The Druid’s Garden quite insightful: The Druid Retreat For Spiritual Work and Healing, Part 1: Why We Go On Retreat, Preparation, and Herbal Allies. As usual, Dana offers a myriad of ideas and tips for solitary or group healing activities.Those who know they prefer a moderated healing retreat, might appreciate Elicia Miller’s Emotional Healing Retreat in Costa Rica. I’ve spoken with several previous attendees who experienced profound and lasting shifts in only seven days.

Whatever and however you decide to retreat, do take some time for yourself! Resting, nurturing, slowing down and recharging make us all so much more resilient, and when the time comes for action, we will have much more to give — and from a much stronger, deeper place. Wishing you quiet blessings and good things!

Garden and Other Updates

What a delightful, intense, tasty and adventurous few weeks we’ve had! Here’s a little photo update of the garden and life this past little while.

Highlights include a visit from my sister and nephews en route to Evanston, IL to visit my brother and sister-in-law and take in a soccer game and Chicago’s sights and Fourth of July fireworks. Erica and the boys stopped here for a few hours for their first time tour of Faery Hof, Haus Am See, and the gardens. I harvested loads of veggies and herbs for “Uncle Craig,” and we all picked raspberries and drank homemade chocolate mint tea. It was a lovely visit, followed by an evening with David’s sister, who was also in town. That week featured our first tomatoes of 2016 and a red white and blue bouquet for David’s mom:

David and I have spent the past three Saturday’s in Michigan — at Silver Beach, St. Joseph’s, Grand Rapids, and Kalamazoo. These locations are one to two hours and a zillion miles away from Northern Indiana. We’ve feasted on Mediterranean and Ethiopian food, ate at a fair wage vegetarian diner, toured multiple farmers markets, metaphysical bookstores, hiked nature trails, strolled along rivers, viewed green walls and city wide murals, walked with our feet in my beloved Lake Michigan and more. “Kids in candy shop” doesn’t even begin to describe our relief to learn such places exist near here. Ultimately, it would be nice just to live in a much more harmonious location, but while we continue to tie up loose ends in Goshen, it’s nice to know we can spend an hour or two in the car and find fab international food, music, nature preserves, and kindred spirits.

My sweet faery twin, Tania Marie, is never far from my heart or phone. As usual, we’ve been on very different yet synchronized adventures. This past Saturday, we even drove behind a facsimile of her “Magick Bus” just as she and I were texting about our intended next phases. We’ve been planning a visit with her Dave and my David at the end of October, which will feature fun in Michigan locales and restaurants:

Magick bus

The prior weekend, we also took a long delayed trip to South Bend to visit our Buddhist/Druid/poet friend Tim, who introduced us to a magickal tree along the river. His tree, in turn (or perhaps the faeries who live in his tree), introduced me to a five to seven tree grove. It was a total power point, and we each received activations in this five tree grove that features two twin trees, and thus carries both five and magical seven energy. David and Tim both felt the temperature change at the spot I indicated. I got drunk on the energy — a joyful and exuberant gift from deep within Gaia’s realm. Here’s Tim’s tree, who acts as Guardian of the Grove:

Magical tree in South Bend

Meanwhile, back at Faery Hof and Haus Am See, the flowers, trees and faeries are making their own magick:

morning gloriesblue bedFront yard early July 2016frontblue bed and giant sunflower

Note the nearly ten foot sunflower — part of the Squirrel Exchange Program. Those little rascals dig up so much of our yard, but they do occasionally plant fancy tulips and giant sunflowers I’ve secretly wanted but neglected to purchase. The garden also provides even through seeming mishaps. Below you can see some coreopsis that wouldn’t fit in David’s mom’s bouquet, along with a branch of the pear tree that got too heavy to bear its fruit. I’ll be making some kind of baked unripe pear dish, and the gorgeous wood of this branch will make a wonderful new magick wand:

Pears, wand and codonopsis

In a world of all possibilities, regardless where we currently reside, this embroidery David found before we moved here says it all, with real live cosmos, too:


Blessed Be

… and continue to be the blessing!