Archive for July, 2011

~ by Eileen Rosensteel

I plucked out my wing feathers-they said I belonged on the ground.
I stopped dancing and singing-they said I had no rhythm.
I silenced myself-no one was listening.
I stitched my eyes shut-So I didn’t have to see what was happening.
I dug my own grave and lay in it-So I didn’t have to feel the pain.
So I could be at peace
In the emptiness.
There in the pit
I found my bones
In the marrow of my bones
There was strength
In the pulsing of my blood
There was rage
In my flesh-Desire
I clawed my way out of that grave
Using my strength, rage and desire.
Carefully I cut away the stitches
To see the truth
I whispered my words to myself
I started to sway and hum
To my own music
Now I am gathering feathers

~ taken from We’Moon Calendar 2011

a gathering of feathers


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There are about 200 different species of Adiantum ferns. Mine is the species capillus veneris, or Venus-Hair Fern. They are tropical natives and like to live in the misty shade near waterfalls, so I keep mine indoors by the living room window and spray it with a spray bottle a lot. My spray bottle always has just a tiny bit of Miracle Grow in it, which I only use on house or potted patio plants. I have read that you should never spritz the leaves of your Maidenhair Ferns, but I only do it near the base of the plant and it’s thriving so I’m not going to question my decision to break that rule. It seems to like what I do and my orchids seem to like being near it so I keep them all together.

Maidenhair Fern - just getting started

Every once in a while I give it an aggressive haircut. There is always a moment of panic that it will not grow back, but it always does. In between the more aggressive cut, I keep the older, leggy and browned parts cut back which stimulates brand new little green furls of ferny happiness.

The Magic Unfurls

They can be propagated by diving the plant. Mine should probably be divided since it’s been in this pot for several years. I imagine it may be claustrophobic so maybe I’ll do it next Spring. They tend to go a bit dormant from September to March, so don’t get discouraged if it looks a little ‘off’ during those months. Propagation can also be done using the spores, the little tiny brown button things on the underside of fern leaves. The spores and the part of the leaf that they’re on turn brown when ripe. Since I always cut off the brown parts, I never have spores. No problem though, because I have never really wished for two ferns, always being happy with just the one to take care of.

like a miniature tropical rainforest

They definitely do not like to dry out and don’t really like direct Sunshine, just lots of light. The profile they make against the window is charming and always cheers me up for some reason. It’s one of my ‘happy plants’ I suppose.

Fluffy and Cheerful

This is the picture I took of mine this morning. As you can see towards the center there are some larger brownish leaves. This is where the spores will be. It has been a while since I trimmed it and it looks healthy and lush. I’ll probably leave it alone until next Spring except for a little trim here and there. The pot that it lives in has no drainage and, although it seems fine and is thriving, I should give it some room and proper drainage eventually. For now, it’s pretty.

Adiantum capillus-veneris

A bit of folklore…Adiantum is a Greek word and basically means ‘unwetted’ since the plant can be immersed in water and come out with completely dry leaves. This is how it came to be called Venus Hair representing how tidy her hair was when she arose from the foamy depths of the sea. As a plant of Venus it is said to grant grace, love, beauty, and fabulous hair to anyone who wears it, or so it was believed.

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There can be as many as half a million earthworms on an acre of land. The wilder field earthworms can live 4-8 years but our garden variety will live about 2 years under the right conditions. In that time they burrow and push air through their tunnels which loosens, mixes and aerates the soil. This helps the plants get to the nutrients and promotes good drainage. Chemical fertilizers may harm them, since they’re sensitive to changes in their dirt, so think about that next time you buy a nitrogen-high fertilizer at your nursery since this may prove fatal for your little friends. Give them and your garden mulch instead. As worms consume dead plant matter, they convert it into nutrients that plants can actually digest and they leave all that goodness behind in their poop. They can poop their weight in castings every day. Castings or worm poop, actually called Vermicast, is an excellent natural fertilizer for your garden and can be purchased by the bag at your local garden center. Lots of people have little earthworm farms so they can have extra castings at the ready. You can keep worms in a chest of drawers filled with composted organic matter and shredded paper. Maybe some day I’ll try it. Earthworms also provide a major food source for other critters like birds, rodents, snakes, beetles and snails. They are also a multimillion dollar international business, being imported and exported. So the next time you see an earthworm on the sidewalk, do Mother Nature a favor and plop it back in the dirt.

Magical Earthworm Poop

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Go ahead, you know you want to.

the most fabulous part of allowing Dandelions to grow is that there is always a poof ready for wish-making

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Lettuce...going to seed in the Summer heat

Yep, you read it right. The Hoarders are whispering in my ear: “Don’t keep that stuff, it will make you crazy and your kids will hate combing through it when you kick off and die!” I have even been guilty of hoarding plants, trying to keep the smallest little lettuce plant alive past its due date when I could have spent that time doing something more worthwhile, like painting my toenails or sipping herbal tea. Or caring for a plant that actually mattered. So lately I have been getting rid of things, books, clothes, junk in the potting shed, junk everywhere. There were even four pairs of my shoes in a bag that went to AMVETS yesterday and those of you who know me well know how difficult it is to get rid of shoes.

"Rawrr!" ....one of my long dead orchids...she had cute teeth.

From now on if I have it in my hand or it meets my gaze it’s going on my brain scales to be weighed for worthiness. Do I want to keep cleaning, dusting, watering, moving, staring at, or rearranging whatever it is for the rest of my days? No? Out with it then! Time for a major purge. The lighter the load the faster the middle-aged community college student right? Right! Time for stealth and no matter how fond you are of something, having it saps energy in strange ways so it better provide enough payoff to balance out the equation and there aren’t very many things that do that. There are plenty of cherished gift objects that I will keep and there will be more space in which to appreciate them properly.

The resident Muse at Summers Past Farms

Books are being donated to a worthy cause if I never intend to read them again. The internet has changed everything – there’s no need to keep CD’s or DVD’s or books that aren’t special. I’m not even selling any of it because, as my brilliant daughter pointed out after watching an episode of “Hoarders” with me, my time is valuable and selling stuff online takes up lots of time and that cost has to be weighed against something. Suddenly I’m feeling free of the weight of things and finished with that dance I do all the time of organizing and shuffling things here to there and back again because I think of a better place to put it. Now, the better place will be ‘outta here’ and I am free. Free Free Free. I hereby refuse to be manipulated any further by inanimate objects. Amen.

another of my long lost orchids...we loved them, every one.

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As promised, I took a lot of photos on the tour of the San Francisco Conservatory of Flowers. Terri and Emily took us there because the special exhibit was out of Amy Stewart’s book “Wicked Plants” which I have read and loved. The old Gothic conservatories and hot-houses are another love, so basically it was an awesome day all around spent with some of my most favorite people in the world ever. Thank you, Terri and Emily 🙂 I was going to find the names of all the plants and label them for you, but that would keep me from posting them sooner. Basically, enjoying the photos this time is better than worrying about the names. There are orchid things and waxy things and steamy things…mostly tropical things and some poisonous things…enjoy.

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The Walter Andersen Nursery has a section of handy fliers customers can take for quick gardening information. One of my favorite fliers was a list of toxic and poisonous plants. It’s handy because it describes the specific plant part to be avoided. It always amazes me how many common plants are toxic and I have finally become a smarty pants and forced myself to wear my gloves more often in the garden, even though I seem to be constantly missing the left hand…who keeps taking my left hand glove?! Anyway, I was planning on typing it here so I would have the list to memorize, but I found it online so decided to cut and paste instead – with all due credit going to Walter Andersen for sharing this awesome and important information. Thank you! (also, I did not edit or proofread the list in any way so any spelling issues or missing Latin are not my bad…and my inner OCD wants to add a lovely photo of each plant, but I locked her in her room for the day)

Toxic & Poisonous Plants via Walter Andersen Nursery:

Botanical Name * Common Name * Part of Plant

Agave spp. * Century Plant * Sap

Alamanda * Yellow Alamanda * All Parts

Alocacia spp. * Elephant Ear Plant * Juices

Amantis * Mushroom, many varieties * All Parts

Alstromeria * Peruvian Lily * Leaves, stems – dematitis in some

Amaryllis belladonna * (not common Amaryllis)Naked Lady, Belladonna Lily * Bulbs

Apple * Apple * Seeds

Asclepias * Butterfly bush, Goose plant * All Parts

Atropa Belladonna * Belladonna * Leaves, Fruit

Azalea spp. * Azalea * All Parts

Buxus sempervirens * Boxwood * Stems, Leaves

Brugmansia * Datura, Angel Trumpet * All Parts if Eaten

Brunsfelsia * Yesterday, Today & Tommorow * All Parts Suspect

Caealpinia spp. * Mexican Bird of Paradise, Poinciana * Pods, Seeds, Serious Illness

Caladium spp. * Caladium * Bulbs, Leaves – Swelling of Throat

Carica * Papaya * Sap

Carissa grandiflora * Natal Plum * Sap Suspect For Some Reason

Caryota palm * Fishtail Palm * Seeds

Catalpa spp. * Catalpa * Flowers

Catharanthus roseas * Vinca, Periwinkle * Sap, stem, leaves

Cestrum * Night-blooming Jasmine * All parts

Clitocybie spp. * Mushrooms * All parts

Colchicum (Not Crocus sativus) *Autumn Crocus, Meadow Saffron * All parts

Colocasia spp. * Elephant Ear * Juices can cause swelling of mouth

Convallaria majjalis * Lily of the Valley * All parts

Corenocarpus laevigata * New Zealand Laurel * Fruit is very poisonous

Crinum spp. * Crinum Lily * All parts

Cycas spp. * Cycads or Sago Palm * Seeds

Daphne odora * Daphne * All parts, especially fruit

Delphinium * Delphinium, Larkspur * All parts, especially seed

Dicentra spp. * Bleeding Heart * All parts, especially fruit

Dieffenbachia * Dumb Cane, Dieffenbachia * sap burns mouth, may cause swelling

Digitalis * Foxglove * All parts

Duranta repens * Sky Flower, Golden Dewdrop, Pigeon Berry * Berries are poisonous

Euonymous spp. * Burning Bush * Bark, leaves, seed

Euphorbia spp. * Candelabra, Pencil Cactus, Milk Bush * Sap really burns

Euphorbia * Poinsettia * Leaves, flowers, sap at most mild irritation if any

Ficus spp. * Fig, ornamental Rubber Plants * Sap, rarely causes irritation

Galanthus nivalis * Common Snow Drop * Bulb is toxic

Gelsemium sempervirens * Carolina Jessamine * All parts

Gloriosa rothschildiana * Climbing Lily, Glory Lily * All parts are poisonous

Hedera helix * Ivy varieties * Leaves, fruit not usually a big problem

Heliotropium arborescans * Heliotrope * All parts can be toxic

Hyacinthus orientalis * Hyacinth * Bulbs

Hydrangea * Hydrangea * Leaves, buds suspect

Hymenocallis spp. * Peruvian Daffodil, Basket Flower * Bulbs are poisonous

Ilex spp. * HollyBerries * suspect in some varieties

Iris * Iris * Rhizome

Jatropha spp. * Coral Plant * Sap, seed, fruit

Lantana camara* Lantana * Fruit

Ligustrum spp. * PrivetLeaves, * fruits cause gastric distress

Lobelia spp. * Lobelia * Most contain poisonous alkaloids

Lycospermum esculentum * Tomato * Leaves

Milea * China Berry Tree * Seed is poisonous if eaten in quantity

Mistletoe * Mistletoe * Seed

Myoporum spp. * Myoporum * Fruit and leaves

Narcissus spp. * Daffodil, Jonquil, Narcissus * Bulb

Nerium * Oleander * All parts

Nicotiana spp. * Tobacco, Nicotiana * All parts are poisonous if eaten

Omithogalum * Pregnant Onion, Star of Bethlehem * Bulbs especially poisonous

Parthinocissus quinquefolia * Virginia Creeper * Leaves

Pedilianthus tithymoloides * Redbird Cactus, Slipper Flower * Sap

Philodendron spp. * Philodendron * Stem, leaves

Pieris * Lily of the Valley Shrub * Leaves and nectar are poisonous

Plumbego capensis * Plumbego * All parts may cause irritation

Plumeria * Frangipani, Plumeria * All parts may cause irritation

Polyscias spp. * Aralia, Ming Aralia * Stems, leaves, flowers

Potato – Solanaceae * Common Potato * Green skin and shoots can be toxic

Primula spp. * Primrose * Leaves

Rhododendron * Rhododendron, Azalea * All parts

Rhubarb * Rhubarb * Leaves, use stems only

Ricinus communis * Castor Bean Plant * Leaves, seeds or beans

Solandra * Cup of Gold Vine * All parts suspect

Solanum spp. * Potato vine, Nightshade, Jerusalem Cherry * All parts suspect

Taxus spp. * Yew * Leaves, seed, stem

Thevetia spp. * Yellow Oleander, Thevetia * All parts

Wisteria spp. * Wisteria vines and trees * Seed, flowers, pods

Zamia spp. * Zamia, Sago Palm * Seed

This list is to be used as a GUIDE and is not complete. If you have any questions or concerns we suggest you call the POISON INFORMATION CENTER (800) 876 4766. Not all plants listed will cause death. Some may cause skin rash, irritation, burning (especially mouth and eyes), upset stomach, they are included too. A good rule of thumb is if you don’t know – don’t eat it. Better safe than sorry. (Walter Andersen Nursery)

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