Creating harmony, simplicity and peace in the landscape......

"Everything that slows us down and forces patience, everything that sets us back into the slow circles of nature, is a help.

Gardening is an instrument of grace. "

May Sarton

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Today - internet radio show at 3 pm EST 'Finding Serenity in Nature'

Reminder: Today - Thursday, Sept 30 at 3:00 pm Eastern - I will be on Bente Hansen's internet radio show, 'Intuitive Healing'...We will discuss 'The Benefits of Finding Serenity in Nature' is on Voice America - 7th wave Network...
Since 1999, Bente Hansen has assisted clients internationally in their journey to w...ellness and inner harmony. She is an inspirational speaker and an amazing energy healer, channel, medical intuitive, author and teacher. not to be missed....

VOICE AMERICA 7th Wave - Intuitive Healing (

If you miss it you can always go and listen later on that site

Monday, September 27, 2010

My Upcoming Guest Appearance on Internet Radio with Bente Hansen

Thursday, Sept. 30 at 12 Noon Pacific Time on 7th Wave Network

Log in to Listen to my Radio Interview on Bente Hansen's compelling and fascinating show,


Log on to Listen, click on the following:

She has asked me to be her guest on
Thursday, Sept 30 at 3:00 pm Eastern to discuss

'Explore the Benefits of Finding Serenity in Nature'

Since 1999, Bente Hansen has assisted and empowered clients internationally in their journey to wellness and inner harmony. Bente is an inspirational speaker, energy healer, channel, spiritual counselor, medical intuitive, author and teacher. 

She has published two books, Messages From Beyond and The New World of Self Healing. I can personally attest to her phenomenal abilities and incredible insight....

It should be an interesting program! The blend of her insight and metaphysical view of the world with my 'earthly delight' approach ( thanks J. Nolte for that ) ....Yin and Yang for sure.

Missed the Live Shows? You can hear Past Episodes On Demand and Podcast Ready on the radio network

Check out Bente's Book!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

TULSI - India's Sacred Herb.....'Holy Basil'

I am sitting here, drinking a lovely cup of Tulsi tea, and I realized I should share tulsi with all...Tulsi tea provides a calming effect and its anti-stress properties are well known in India.

Also known as the Queen of Herbs, it is the most important plant in the Hindu way of life.

What is Tulsi (Holy Basil)?

TULSI  (Ocimum sanctum), known as Holy Basil - is the sacred herb of India. (Please note it is a different plant from the pesto variety of Basil, Ocimum basilicum.)


It has been revered for over five thousand years as a healing balm for body, mind and spirit

The leaves, flowers, fruits, root, branches and the main stem and everything about Tulsi is sacred in India; even the soil under the Tulsi plant is holy. ( Padmapurana 24/2)

The Tulsi Shrub

Vana Tulsi

Tulsi  is indigenous to the Indian subcontinent. It is a bushy shrub about 18 inches high with oval and serrated leaves (the leaf colors range from light green to dark purple, depending on the variety). In the wild, tulsi is an annual, but it can be kept as a perennial by trimming it before it forms seeds. The plant has delicate lavender-colored flowers, and its fruit consists of tiny rust-colored nuts.

The Benefits of Tulsi

According to Indian Ayurvedic medicine, Tulsi promotes purity and lightness in the body, cleansing the respiratory tract of toxins and relieving digestive gas and bloating.

Tulsi leaves offer a rich source of essential oil, containing eugenol, nerol, camphor, and a variety of terpenes and flavonoids. The oil is a strong antiseptic against many kinds of disease-causing organisms, including bacteria, fungi, and parasites. The oil is also an antioxidant and is used for pain and arthritis. Recent scientific reports have confirmed its healing potential in medical conditions ranging from diabetes to cancer. Furthermore, Tulsi may even possess useful antibiotic activity, have a blood pressure lowering effect.

Tulsi Helps Soothe Stress

 A number of studies of animals have shown that tulsi protects healthy cells from the toxicity of radiation and chemotherapy and it seems to influence the neurochemistry of the brain in a way similar to antidepressant medications.

If you are taking tulsi for stress relief, some people recommend growing your own plant from seeds or cuttings and nibbling on a few leaves every day.

 (A new business idea for you! 'The Tulsi Source'...I am not kidding, what a great contribution to our society...)

In India, Every Household Grows Tulsi

this photo is from the Seeds of India website -check it out for Tulsi Seeds

Holy basil is sacred to Lord Vishnu and is an incarnation of the goddess Tulsi, offering divine protection. Many Indian families keep a living Tulsi plant in their homes – tending to it with great care and reverence.  It is typically grown in an earthen pot in the family home or in a the garden.  

Tulsi plant adorned, from tulsi tea website

Lord Shiva described the power of Tulsi , saying'

" ....Every house, every village, every forest, wherever the plant of Tulsi is grown, there misery, fear, disease and poverty do not exist. Tulsi, in all aspects and places,  is holier than holy.

Where the breeze blows through Tulsi plants, it spreads Tulsi's fragrance making the surrounding area pious and pure. Lord Vishnu and other gods shower their blessings on the people who worship and grow Tulsi....

Those who plant and nurture Tulsi in the Shiva temple or in any other place of worship,.... are twice blessed by the gods.... "

So enjoy of cup of Tulsi tea or maybe two...

Friday, September 24, 2010

Our 'Larger Body' can be found in a Serenity Garden

This world into which we were born is alive.

It is our larger body.

The intelligence that connects us to this natural world is far more encompassing  than we realize.

As Dr Joanna Macy writes,

 "We are as intrinsic to our living world as the rivers and trees,

woven of the same intricate flows of matter/energy and mind.

Having evolved us into self-reflexive consciousness,

the world can now know itself through us,

behold its own majesty..."


Thursday, September 23, 2010

A Circular Vegetable Garden - An Edible Landscape

This is not my vegie garden - it belongs to Martha Stewart, literally down the road from my office.

A day ago I attended a cocktail party at the New York Botanical Garden celebrating Martha Stewart and her Edible Garden there. As usual, it was a gracious event, much as all Martha's endeavors are.

Martha Stewart's Herb Garden at NYBG  in spring

Martha Stewart's Herb Garden at NYBG in summer - cynara (CARDOON) in the center

I walked through her Culinary Herb Garden, a display of the finest culinary herbs personally selected by Martha. The three tuteurs  (I call them metal obelisks but what do I know?) in the garden were the lovely feature of the herb beds.....

The tuteur in Martha's Herb Garden

This herb garden is referred to as an edible garden. I call it an herb garden..this leads me to ask - How is an edible garden different from an herb or vegetable garden?  The contents? The layout? The location? The intent?

Garden to the left is also Martha's...

Whatever the answer to that question I would like to share my circular 'edible garden' with you ...or what I call a great design for a vegie garden....

It derives from my opinion that edible plants prefer to grow in circle (biodynamic principles appeal to me). It also makes it more manageable and easy to maintain - and I am a veteran of the straight row vegie gardens - I know what I am talking about here. Circles win every time.

Charles Hubbard Garden in Nova Scotia

So won't you follow me into a circular edible garden? I made this video yesterday - please ignore the overhead airplane noise..

Colocasia  ( an edible aroid) in my edible garden

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Prospect Park Gateway Design Competition

Can you think of a better way to greet visitors to Prospect Park than police barricades?

Call for Entries:

Create a New Gateway to Prospect Park at Third Street
A Design Challenge from the Park Slope Civic Council

The Park Slope Civic Council is sponsoring a design competition for a new Third Street entrance gateway to Prospect Park, to replace the existing New York City standard movable barriers, and it will be a highly visible, significant new architectural element of the Park.

The Park

Prospect Park is a 585-acre urban oasis located in the heart of Brooklyn, New York City’s most populous borough. The masterpiece of famed landscape architects Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux, who also designed Central Park, Prospect Park features the 90-acre Long Meadow, the 60-acre Lake and Brooklyn’s only forest.

The nation’s first urban Audubon Center, the Prospect Park Zoo, and the Celebrate Brooklyn! Performing Arts Festival are just a few of the cultural attractions that make their home here at the Park.

The new design will address the following criteria:

•Provide an attractive, contemporary, contextually appropriate, and visually clear entrance gateway, with a sculptural, graphic, and functional contribution to the Park perimeter.
•Enhance the pedestrian and bicycle access, and provide a welcoming symbolic entry gate to Prospect Park
.•Provide bike lane access. There is a new bike lane on Prospect Park West, which ties into the existing bike pathways on the Park Roadway.
•Provide a barrier to automotive traffic (the Third Street entrance roadway is now permanently closed to nonemergency, non-Parks vehicles).
•Provide the ability for one person to open and close the barricades as needed to allow emergency and/or Parks vehicle access 24/7
.•Potential prototype for future use at all Park entrances/exits, creating a uniform appearance and easier maintenance and replacement parts
Click on this to go to this site for all the info:  Prospect Park Gateway Comp.
You can take the girl out of Brooklyn...but you can't take Brooklyn out of the girl....

With these tips, anyone can grow lavender -

With these tips, anyone can grow lavender -

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Art and Reindeer Moss

Softened preserved natural Norwegian reindeer moss is a fun decorative touch for potted plants, the perfect covering at the base of plants, dried arrangements, mossy tree branches, set around stones, and any other idea you may have. It comes in a wide variety of colors which makes it a must have, especially in autumn...

You can buy it in boxes or bags.

Here are some colors (among many):

It is really a lichen - a combination of a fungus and an alga, which form a symbiotic relationship and a new plant. The algae have chlorophyll and are capable of making their own food, while the fungus has spongy threads to support the plant.

There are so many things you can do with this living material....Make items from it like shown below:

Or make 'high art' from it.  The artist Olafur Eliasson made an entire wall from reindeer moss and has exhibited it in museums around the world....(why didn't I think of that?)

This installation is appropriately titled Moss Wall.  It is a wall covered from floor to ceiling in reindeer moss, a study in living texture. It resembles what I have done on a hidden wall in my house which was to put a carpet on a wall... I call it, Carpet Wall. (not).

This is from a flikr file
Annie Chicago, a designer, was so inspired by the Moss Wall that she made one herself for a fashion photo shoot. She writes about the moss wall she saw in the museum,

"There was an entire room devoted to a wall covered in reindeer moss in the exhibit. It smelled so lovely and over the duration of the exhibit, the moss changed in color. It was so beautiful and filled me with a deep sense of hope. The mossy space felt very magical, and I wanted to capture that feeling in my fall 2010 collection. So i set off to find some moss."

She did a great, great job - check it out:

Annie Chicago Photo Shoot - reindeer Moss Wall

... with reindeer moss

This is getting very cool....

and the final result? Finis!

Who needs wallpaper?

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Moss Tabletop Gardens and more

Moss and serenity go together......

Many gardeners have become interested in using moss in their landscapes. But imagine capturing the lush serenity of a moss garden and shrinking it down in a miniature tabletop moss garden. The deep colors and textures of moss can create an outdoor (or indoor) container garden that is soothing to look at and fun to touch! How to do this? Well, the Martha Stewart people suggest filling a galvanized-metal planter (available at garden centers) with fresh potting soil and two kinds of Irish moss (the dark-green Sagina subulata and the chartreuse S. subulata 'Aurea') to create a checkerboard pattern. After a few days, they say you plant the moss in your garden. What a great idea!

this is from \- Outdoor Entertaining Ideas and Recipes

The Moss Acres website also sells a Tabletop Zen Garden in a Japanese-style ceramic bowl that features an assortment of Mosses, Christmas Fern, and river stones. You put it together yourself....
Water your new indoor garden once a week and mist it frequently to enjoy rich contrasts of tranquil greens.

There are many kinds of mosses you can use - take lift them from the outdoors (that is what I do) or order them on line at moss
Sunset magazine suggests a table top moss garden set atop a cookie sheet:

This info comes from sunset magazine website and is by Sharon Cohoon and Kathleen N. Brenzel

Pasadena landscape architect Heather Lenkin created the centerpiece above. Buy floral moss and soak it in water to make it easier to work with, tear off chunks, squeeze out excess water, then place moss atop a table.

On the moss, center a votive tray with a Graptopetalum succulent in each candle slot―no need for soil. Mist to keep the arrangment fresh.
Spanish moss with a bronze sedum
 Black reindeer moss with a blue-gray tillandsia

Green reindeer moss with tiny violas

There is is the simple moss bowl shown in 'whoneedsthegrass' blogspot.:
I love this one - great gift idea  for your gardening friends..go out now and collect the moss and rocks and ferns, find some inexpensive bowls, grow it on and give the best gift ever come holiday time....
Now for a kooky moss idea ( I ma dating myself - who says 'kooky' anymore?):

and my favorite of all - phony, baloney moss stones:

Moss and serenity go together......