It’s springtime in the garden- Yay!!!
This means there's a lot going on, and it also means there's a lot to get done! I’ve put together some tips to help you get out from under that To-Do list and make sure you have an enjoyable, gratifying and inspiring season. Let’s do this!
It’s springtime in the garden- Yay!!!
Around this time of year I often get asked this question: “Ok…. so what do you do in the winter?”
Well, scheme and plan obviously!
In the horticulture world, we are often a few seasons ahead: In late summer we’re designing and ordering spring bulbs, and right now I’m elbow deep in designs and orders for summer containers. Outside my window is a winter wonderland, but inside, my computer screen is filled with new Coleus combinations and tropical foliage varieties, and my desk is covered with seed catalogs.
The FIRST EVER VIDEO for the Blog! Here I share a simple technique for getting the energy to flow in your landscape to create more peace and beauty.
Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!
Have you heard all the talk about Carbon Farming??
Well, me neither. But don't worry, up until a few weeks ago I had no idea what it was either, and now I’m totally obsessed. It’s serious folks- it’s going to save our planet from catastrophic climate change. Yes, a real solution, within reach- we have the tools and we know it works.
Just let that settle in: Climate Change, that huge, hulking beast of a problem, so unwieldy, scary and complex, it feels inevitable it will be our demise….we can start to reverse it…in five years!!
The cool thing is that the answer to reversing global climate change is: PLANTS! And what is IN THE SOIL, in the very Earth itself. But we must first accept the mighty challenge to step up and heal her.Read More
I sat down with my friend and teacher, Judy Apicella, to talk about cultivating connection to things we really yearn for- connection to the planet, with ourselves, our spirit and also with the community around us. I wanted to speak with her because Judy is a shining example of someone who has created a lifestyle for herself where she can delve into these relationships on a daily basis; she is a farmer, herbalist, forager, yoga teacher, healer, homeschool mom, wife, sage, etc, I could go on!
I’m sharing with you some of the best gems from our conversation, let’s dive in shall we?Read More
Back in September I attended a stunning workshop at Floret Flowers, a two acre flower farm north of Seattle in Washington State. Erin Benzakein led the workshop with the amazing Team Floret. When I boarded the plane at JFK and headed west, I was filled with anticipation and excitement at all the beauty I would be exposed to- the farm, the workshop barn, the blooms! But little did I know that it would be the inner work that Erin did that I would find just as astounding!
I’ll start at the end: an armload of flowers, a beautiful sun lit field, a new tribe of friends and a profound sense of gratitude and abundance. How had I gotten here?? How had I been so lucky and so blessed to have experienced these past few days? It was an uncanny feeling when I realized it, but I think I can pinpoint the moment when this all got put into motion for me. It was a moment when I asked the universe for some guidance and some answers- and I did it with the help of a manifesting process I didn’t even know I had used!
I realized (with joy!) that this process was similar to what Erin Benzakein uses every year. Erin is Floret's founder and an exceptionally talented, world renowned farmer-florist. She is also a talented and tenacious business woman and an inspiring leader. She has really perfected the process for how she manifests things for herself and her business- and what's exciting is that this process is available to everyone! After a morning of orientation and onsite farming demos, she shared it with us in a discussion about goal setting. We were all seated in the farmhouse dining room when she brought out her ‘goal posters’ -a series of vibrant collages created with images cut from different magazines.
These were made during the downtime at the farm, usually in the winter, when she spent time alone in her room to focus on the upcoming year. This for her was where the process began. Each year was different, with each poster having a different tone and palette. The posters included images of flowers, landscapes, words- even people and fashion. They were all a representation of how she wanted to feel and what she wanted to accomplish in the next season. They were created from the heart, and were an illustration of what her soul wanted.
While my eyes wandered over her posters, I felt immediately at home. I LOVE making collages, I thought, why had I stopped? I used to make them all the time as art projects, to decorate my room, to make handmade cards, and even as a calming therapy when I was wrestling with a difficult situation. After September 11th, for example, I remember sitting on the floor in my bedroom with a big sheet of paper, instinctively cutting and pasting images, writing text and adding drawings- just trying to make sense of how I was feeling.
Many people recommend vision boards, which are similar, but Erin’s were a bit different than that, a little less specific, a little more intuitive, like an impression or an artistic creation, which is how I approached my collages.
My next immediate thought was, wait! Locking yourself in your room to take the time to simply FOCUS intuitively on yourself and your business (perhaps even in pajamas with comforting cups of tea and coffee) wait- can I have that please?! Can I please have some me time to focus and create a vision for my family’s future, can I please have permission to do this?! A deep longing bubbled up inside me- the same way that most of Erin’s followers have a deep longing to visit her farm and hold armloads of gorgeous flowers- I wanted to lock myself away in my own space with my magazines, scissors and glue!
But creating these posters was just the first part of her manifesting process. After she let the images and feelings inform her goals, she would then turn to her team, who would help her determine the specific steps that were needed to make these goals a reality. Where earlier Erin let her heart dictate the images on the page, now in this next step they used their minds to literally reverse engineer a project into being. When she longed to publish a book, for example, what were the steps backward, from publish to concept, that she needed to go through to achieve her goal? Then, and this is something that also sets Erin apart- she actually does it.
After that first day, I reflected on all the lessons and kept coming back to Erin’s process of goal setting, which seemed to be the foundation of her success. This concept of creating from the heart and soul, then manifesting it into being with the use of logic and action- it worked for Erin, but would it work for me?
After I asked this question, I immediately got goosebumps... It had worked for me, I realized, without me even knowing it!
I remember it clearly, an image I had created when my whole life was in flux. I remember sitting in my room, filled with feelings of indecision and worry, my future completely unformed ahead of me and desperate for inspiration. Everything was changing. I had loved my dancing career, but aspects of it had left me feeling physically and emotionally done. Where was I going? What did I really want? How could I use all my talents? How could I matter?
With these questions in my mind, I pulled out my supplies and started making a collage. Not on a huge poster board, which I didn’t have, but I made something very small, something intimate, like a whisper... I remember cutting out a picture of Brooke Shields- she looked attractive in a black bodysuit, seated on the floor in a cross-legged yoga posture, her torso twisting toward the camera. I then grabbed a stack of seed catalogs and started cutting out photos of flowers, every size, from large to small, and proceeded to glue them over the model’s face. The effect was like a kaleidoscope of petals that emanated from her brain.
That was it, that’s all it was, a little page covered with glue that I probably threw away two apartments ago. I hadn’t thought about it much until now, when I realized that it had manifested into my reality, it had arrived. I felt myself becoming that image. I had created it from my heart and soul, and then I did the work. I have been on a journey to re-connect with my health and spirit though yoga, and I’ve also been on a journey to re-connect with nature and the planet through my studies in horticulture and beyond. I let my feelings out on the page, and then did the steps.
And here I was. The next day, as we wandered through the dahlia fields of Floret, I felt extremely energized. I felt grounded and grateful, and my consciousness was literally expanding in flowers. I knew I had somehow created this experience- me, standing on a flower farm, holding an armload of ‘Jowey Winnie’ Dahlias in the lilting rain- it had all been set into motion for me, that afternoon when I asked the universe for answers and guidance.
…And the Journey continues…Now it is December and the garden is almost bare- a different type of beautiful. It’s time for thick layers and winter gear as the days grow dark earlier and earlier. I’m actually relishing this time. I’ve made a decision to work less hours these next three months, to give myself more time with my family and my own inspirations. The first thing I plan to do is get a big ‘ol piece of poster board, and pull out all those magazines I’ve been stockpiling…I hope you will join me in taking some time for yourself to ask the universe some big questions and to experiment with making an intuitive goal poster of your own. I hope this intimate look at Erin's process serves you and helps you manifest some big dreams this year.
Here’s to going inward, to resting, to planning and scheming, to creating in different ways, and to laying the foundation for a new, exciting, unformed future.
By this time of year your sweet and pretty garden has grown up into a wild and wooly extravaganza. There’s crowding you hadn’t anticipated, plants dying back in the late summer drought, maybe some powdery mildew from the August humidity, and plants flopping or breaking from heavy storms. It’s either everything you dreamed it would be (back in January), or now, kind of a mess?!
With garden maintenance, you get the opportunity to let your creativity shine. You have the opportunity to make decisions that will affect the feeling and aesthetic quality of your landscape, as well as the ecological benefit it will provide.Read More
Sometimes all it takes are a few words of encouragement…
I was at the counter at Hudson Valley Bee Supply in Kingston, NY, buying a huge jar of raw honey and some Calendula & Beeswax soap... I was all jazzed up from the all day course I had just taken called ‘Starting Right with the Bees,’ taught by the owners of the store, Jorik Phillips and Megan Denver. I had always thought it would be AMAZING to keep bees, but, you know, the circumstances would have to be perfect. When I had read all the right books, had taken all the right classes, hooked up with the perfect mentor, got all the perfect equipment and had followed an experienced beekeeper around for a few years, then, maybe I could take on my own hive.Read More
Yay, it’s springtime in the garden! This means there's a lot going on and it also means there's a lot to get done! I’ve put together some tips to help you get out from under that To-Do list and make sure you have an enjoyable, gratifying and inspiring season. Let’s do this!Read More
Don't you just LOVE travel? Different cultures, different people, new and amazing experiences, delicious food, shopping, overall fun-times....and for that plant geek in the mix: a whole new landscape to explore! Earlier this month we had an awesome family trip to Northern California. Sometimes the funnest thing to do is just sit back and look at cool plant pictures and gardening inspiration from distant lands... So for this post I'm sharing just that!
So without further adieu.....Read More
I was trying to maneuver an oversized bag of organic fertilizer, explaining the benefits of using a brand that included beneficial bacteria and mycorrhizae, when it hit me- THE EARTH, IT’S JUST LIKE US! “You know how you take pro-biotics to help your digestion?” I said to whoever was listening, jabbing my finger at the bag, “Well, this is the same thing!”
I’ve noticed a parallel between two trends that are gaining in popularity in both the organic gardening and Health & Wellness consciousness. In organic gardening and agriculture it is all about promoting a healthy soil biology; in Health & Wellness it is about promoting a healthy Microbiome. These concepts are essentially the same thing, and discussing the two together reinforces the idea that our very own bodies are a reflection of the macro-cosm of the planet.Read More
Nothing gets the ire of a certain type of Gardener than mentioning the words ‘Invasive Plant Species.’ Just whisper the words burning bush, barberry or phragmites, and watch them suck in their breath violently, in anticipation of a really good rant (I mean a REALLY good rant) where they will tick off a multitude of doomsday facts about the evil plants that are taking over our planet and basically ruining nature for the rest of us.
At a recent workshop I attended about Sustainability in Design there were a few of these kind of gardeners, and it hit me that when we want to be, us gardeners can be a pretty hateful bunch. We hate these plants (I mean REALLY Hate them) with all our hearts, with all our being. I watched one of the gardeners rattle off her laundry list of the latest invasives, totally consumed, flailing and desperate, and it occurred to me as I watched from the outside- that the gardener who is usually so upset, is usually ME.Read More