Plants just make me happy. How grateful I am for the nourishment that the plant kingdom provides for us - physically, emotionally, spiritually. I've experienced great delight when seedlings that I've planted push through the soil, on their way to becoming a perfect example of the what the architects of their plant kingdom designed for them. In other moments, I've felt angst and guilt when some of these little seeds don’t make it. Too much or not enough sun, proper soil, water, wind, etc. As much as I try to follow a rhythm of planting according to the biodynamic calendar, sometimes it's really humbling to realize that I’m just a small part in this giant wheel of creation.
With or without my participation, the seasons will change. The plant that at one point was blooming, blossoming and flourishing will decay and wither, until the next cycle starts up again.
Yes, there are some basics to keep in mind. Having nutrient-rich soil and a knowledge of how much sun you have is a good place to start. A dear friend and colleague, David Miles, taught me how to make sun charts, to map when and where the sun was strongest and to notice the shady spots. I think a few things have changed on our property since the last time I made these charts. There are some trees that came down in the last few storms, opening up new possibilities for plantings.
Now is a time of year when many seeds are ready for planting - whether they start as seedlings inside, under grow lights or if they are planted directly into the soil outside. There is something so magical and joyful in watching the tender shoots make their way out of the tiniest little seeds. This year I’ll continue to sow chard, kale, collards, holy basil, Italian parsley (with seeds saved from Italy!) all indoors; along with zinnias and calendula. Some of these botanicals will be offering up their healing gifts in the salves and tinctures that I’ve made for the apothecary.
Not only do I like to grow herbs and plants for use in the kitchen, but I also love to grow flowers. There are the plants that nourish us physically as they are meant for cooking or teas (garlic, kale, rosemary, etc) and ones that nourish us emotionally with their visual beauty.
One of my favorite flowers to grow is the sunflower, which I started growing 4 years ago, after we returned from a trip to Italy. There, I was gifted a sunflower seed head from my ancestor’s garden in Calabria. Oh my, I never knew how emotional I could get when planting these little gems of gold, all destined to open up their smiling sun faces in the month of August, in the sign of Leo (I can't help but think of a lion's mane when I look at sunflowers!). I remember that year wanting it to be a surprise birthday gift for my husband, but that’s another story for another blogpost.
In the meantime - here’s a simple green drink to help cleanse our internal rhythms. As I begin to plant seedlings indoors in preparation for gardening season, I'm feeling excited by Spring's arrival and inspired by the color green. This drink is in honor of a new season, new beginnings, new growth and renewal. Something to sip as you’re contemplating clearing out a closet or perhaps starting to grow your own fruits, vegetables and herbs.
EMERALD GREEN DRINK
(makes a little more than 2 cups)
1 packed cup of fresh mixed herbs - Italian parsley, cilantro and dandelion greens
1/2 T chopped fresh ginger
1 c fresh squeezed grapefruit juice
1 1/2 T fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 T raw honey
1 c spring water
Dash of cayenne pepper
Place all ingredients in a high speed blender and blend until the leaves liquify. Allow to stand for an hour or two. Strain and discard the solids. Enjoy!