Friday, June 27, 2008

Pictures of the Garden

Paul's Himalayan Musk on the gothic arbor.

Daylilies and William Baffin rose.
Foxgloves, lupines, campanula and lamb's ears.

Borage. I will eat the flowers while working in the garden. I also have a white variety.

Apothecary Rose. Fragrant!

Yellow foxglove.

And the pink foxglove.
William Baffin roses near the birdhouses.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

I've been tagged...

Tina Sams, of The Essential Herbal, just tagged me to answer the following questions and invite other bloggers to participate:

Ten years ago...
I was living outside Omaha, Nebraska. I worked as a medical transcriptionist. I belonged to a lot of fun groups including the SCA, EGA, ANG, (apparently groups with three letters) and a few others. My rheumatoid arthritis was becoming very bad.

Five things on today's to do list ...
~ meet with a producer at the local public access TV station (he wants me to do a few shows on herbs and crazy quilts)
~drop off a wholesale order of Green Spiral products to Wellington's Herbs and Spices
~work on the Hoffman challenge quilt
~harvest chamomile, roses, arnica and lemon balm if it doesn't rain
~read the latest Hollerbeier Haven herbal newsletter that came two days ago and I haven't had a chance to look at!

Snacks I enjoy...

Fresh cherries, peaches, strawberries and raspberries
Ice cream
Baked goods - which can easily be a meal
Popcorn (no salt and very little butter)
A square of good chocolate

Things I would do if I was a millionaire...
Make an artist's retreat and invite my friends to come create, laugh and play
Help out my kids
Really expand the gardens and put in that castle tower in the back 40 I've been wanting

Places I have lived....
New York state along the Canadian border
Mojave Desert
Great Plains
Catskill Mountains
Virginia Beach

Other bloggers:

Monday, June 23, 2008

On Crazy Quilts and Roses

I'm stitching a piece for this year's Hoffman Challenge. The featured fabric is the peacock fabric. The deadline is one month away! But, this wall hanging is EXTENSIVELY hand stitched and embellished. It's slow work, but good work! The central peacock I stitched with silk embroidery floss (Pearsall's silk).

When the garden is this beautiful, it's difficult being inside working on a project. Right now, the roses are really starting to bloom and the air is perfumed richly. This is Apothecary Rose (Rosa gallica) and is an ancient rose that was used in official pharmaceutical preparations. I make Rose Petal Jelly and Jam, vinegar, tincture, glycerite, crystallized rose petals, rose butter, rose couscous, and anything else I can think of that incorporates roses!

This rose is Constance Spry. She's a beauty and highly prolific.
This is William Baffin, one of the Canadian Explorer Roses, which means it is exceptionally hardy and does extremely well for us in Zone 5.
We have many, many other roses and Paul's Himalayan musk is enchanting us with its scent. How can such a diminutive rose have such a huge olfactory impact?
Today's chores included making cider/sage jelly, Healing Comfort salves, planting more carrots, beets and various herbs as well as stitching. It's a good life.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Full Moons, Solstice and Fairies

Last night there was a full moon. Tomorrow night is Solstice. Talk about magic in the air. As any good fairy lover knows, a full moon or a Solstice are prime times to perchance view the fey folk as they go about their business. When the two events happen so closely, it's sure to double your chances of spying a fairy. So, armed with my camera and a shiny rock (should I step in a fairy ring and be whisked away to another world, I needed a bargaining chip!), I ventured forth. I kept my mind and my heart pure and sent out a psychic call to those of the Other World. Very gently on the breeze I could hear laughter and the tinkling of bells. Silently I crept closer to the commotion. There!, down by some creeping thyme and Jackpot tansy, there was a convocation of fairies! And I wasn't the only one who had happened upon the group.

Obviously, a very important fairy speaker was addressing those assembled. I couldn't make out the voices - to my ear it was just a faint whisper in the air. But I imagine the topic might have been the value of thyme blossoms in a potion or a discussion on the luminosity of fireflies.

The bumble bees also flitted in, offering drinks of freshly collected nectar...

Friday, June 13, 2008

Lucky Friday the 13th

I was born on the 13th of a different month and have always considered the number 13 lucky for me. It's a beautiful June day and I am lucky indeed to be able to be out in the garden. Here is a picture of the rugosa roses in bloom and a jar of rose petal jelly I made.

And clematis is lovely this time of year...
I was picking red clover this morning. Trifolium pratense. I pick the flower heads and the first three leaves that are just under the flower head. The flowers bruise easily, so I pop them by sliding my hand up the stalk and being careful not to squish the flower.
And here is a basket getting filled with blossoms. I'll dry them and add them to tea blends.
Chamomile is blooming madly now too. Ahh...the sweet apple scent! I harvest by gently raking my hand through the blooms, from mid stem to the top. The flowers just pop off in my hands.
Arnica is blooming too. I have a couple beds of Arnica chamissonis and am getting a bed started of Arnica montana. The A. montana has been a little difficult in getting established, but it is getting there.

Friday, June 6, 2008

wild yam

I love the textural aspect of this wild yam leaf!

Our web page is running smoothly again.

On Saturday, June 21, I will be teaching an introduction to Herbalism at Wellingtons Herbs and Spices in Schoharie, NY from 10:30-1:00. Cost is $35. Call Carolyn at 518-295-7399 to register.

Sunday, June 22 is Day 3 of the Herbal Study program.

On Wednesday, June 25, I will be leading an herb walk at Green Spiral Herbs from 6:00-7:30 p.m. Cost is $20. Call Betty at 518-827-8730 to register.

On Saturday, June 28, I will give on a talk on Sage - Beyond Thanksgiving and vending our herbal stuff at the Oriskany Herb and Flower Festival at the Parker Scripture Botanical Gardens on 121 Second Street, Oriskany, NY. The event runs from 9 - 3:30.


My dear friend, Margaret, let me know that Nicholas Kniel was having a blowout sale in his ribbon shop. She asked if I wanted anything. Puhleeze! So, I sent her some money and these are the glorious goodies I got! Yahoo. Can't wait to use some of these wonders. After my son's upcoming wedding though...

The comfrey is looking tall and proud.

And the tree peony is opening its gorgeous blooms!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008


We've had a very difficult time with our website recently ( ) and have been working to remedy the situation. There are a few things I would like to mention that I can't update on the website.

We are now open Tuesdays and Thursdays from 2-6 p.m. If you are needing salves or dried herbs or any of our other products, come on up to Huntersland on our open days. Also, feel free to wander the gardens during that time. Please, only during those times unless you have made an appointment otherwise. Thanks!

The website is showing last year's info on the news category. We are NOT having another open house in June this year. Last year was a one-off thing to celebrate becoming a Botanical Sanctuary. June DOES bring:

My son getting married

Introduction to Herbs class that I will be giving at Wellington's Herbs and Spices in Schoharie, NY on June 21. Call 518-295-7366 for more info.

Day 3 of the Herbal Study Program on June 22

A Guided Herb Walk around our gardens on Wednesday, June 25 from 6:00-7:30. Email me at to register. Cost is $20 and includes refreshments.

Saturday, June 28, we will be vending at the Oriskany Herb and Flower Festival in Oriskany, NY and I will be giving a talk on Sage: Beyond Thanksgiving.

June 2 blooms

William Guinness columbine. I love the dark color of this!

Bearded irises that smell like grape kool-aid. Delightful.
This iris is known as orris root and the aged, dried rhizome is used as a fixative in potpourri.
Bleeding hearts are very late to open this year due to the very late frosts and freezes we have had. I love the look of the blossoms against the rocks here.

It has been a spring that has been cold and dry. Although February and March were some of the wettest on record around here, April and May have been some of the driest. And May was very cold. In fact, last week we still had a morning temp of 29 degrees. So, the last few days saw us finally planting tomatoes, peppers and such. And the lilacs are finally blooming and the rhododendrons are just opening. Plants would pop up and then get hit by freezes, time and again. Very strange spring!