A Time to Plant (and die)

Seed Mandala

I can’t believe that it is already March and that spring is less that two weeks away. There has been a lot of bad news posted on-line lately. Not to mention fear, panic, and chaos that is only going to get worse. It is too easy to get distracted by it and for valuable time and energy to get wasted. I think it is important to cherish and enjoy each moment with my girls. I still wonder at the beauty, peace, and change happening in my own backyard. Thank goodness the weather is so warm and inviting. I am trying to spend as much time as possible outside. This week I cleaned out the garden beds, ordered seeds, moved compost and put in my peas. The hoop house is almost ready to go and I can start planting by the moon. The soil for the new beds will arrive in time for the Solstice. It really is my favorite time of year for so many reasons.

I also ordered some bulk dried herbs on-line for the first time. I am not in the position to have trees with bark or perennials with roots to harvest in my backyard pharmacy. I thought it would be more cost effective than going to my local herb store, which has gotten quite costly . What I bought still seemed overpriced compared to what I got and wild crafted in years past. Not really sustainable in the long run. Which means my vision of community based healthcare in the form of lots of backyard pharmacies is still so important and what I need to focus on. I need to adjust my formulas to be 90% plant material from my garden. I need to buy several greenhouses so that I can sell starts to friends. Even more garden beds need to be added so that I can increase my yields and then products. I want healthcare to be easy to access and affordable.

Signs of return of old friends

I get so excited when my perennials come back from their winter rest.  I trust that it is going to happen. I feel a sense of amazement and gratitude when it does. So far Lady’s Mantle, Catnip, Oregano, Angelica, Lemon Balm, Horehound, Motherwort, Yarrow, and Feverfew have blessed me with their appearance. Lavender and Rue never slept, they are tough old gals. With more space I hope to add Red Clove, Plantain, and Chickweed to the yard. Again I will try to get Hyssop, California Poppy  and Clary Sage to establish, prosper, and overwinter. I could use more Echinacea, Mullein, and Mint. I hate to harvest whole plants for their roots but it sure would be nice to have some spare Marshmallow and Elecampane for that.

I feel the need to contrast birth with death. Today on our walk  to eat brunch at a community restaurant-we passed a neighbor whom I have never met. He is 90 years old but looks 70.  He was loading a dumpster with garden tools, yard decorations, etc.-all in mint condition. I asked if I could have some ceramic mushrooms ( I am a big fan of moss and fungi)  that I spied in the pile of “trash”. He went on to tell me about the recent death of his wife, the future sale of the house, his unwanted relocation into assisted living, and his resignation to his own death within the next year. I won’t continue to write about philosophy and spirituality but I will end by saying …..When I got home I looked at my own yard, my own house of things, my husband and children. I realized one day our stuff, memories, lives, and bodies will be gone and forgotten. What is truly important? How do I want to use up the next minute I am graced with? Then there was the teaspoon that did a 90 degree turn on my saucer at the restaurant when nobody (that I could see) was touching it.

Dried Orange Peel

Tinctured hydrangea root

Planted echinacea

Started from seed-rue, basil, thyme, St. John’s wort, hyssop, elecampane, and angelica

Finished a vitex tincture (from my very own bush)

Been reading the Herb Fairies series to the kids

How are you trying to stay engaged with the outside world and be positive right now?

Published by blackbirdsbackyard

My backyard botanical pharmacy is located in Boulder Colorado. I began studying herbal medicinewhen I was 12 years old. In college I studied subjects like anthropology, microbiology, anatomy and physiology, After graduation I decided to go to midwifery school. I attended births and had a small practice until I retired early in order to be a mother full time. I have always had an herb garden, gathered plants and made my own healing formulas with plants. Over the last 30 years there have been many teachers and I have attended dozens of workshops. I am one of those people who is always reading, studying and learning. In 2019 I was called to practice as an herbalist professionally, using "plant spirit medicine" and bio-energetic ( 5 element)healing techniques. I feel that there is a big need in the community for my skills and talents. I hope to inspire others to start their own backyard pharmacies as a solution to species extinction and the healthcare crisis in America. Healing has also become a spiritual practice and way for me to feel balanced and connected with nature. I consult with clients in person, teach classes (adults and kids), give tours of my garden and offer apprenticeships. Health, joy, meaning, and support are everyone's birthright.

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