Blog: Gift Ideas for the Gardeners You Love

Tis the season for giving. Any gardeners on your list? Or perhaps you have family committed to helping the environment in some way. Maybe concerned about climate changes we are all facing? Gardens build diversity. Weeds supply nutrients. Trees create an invaluable ecosystem, complex and intriguing.

Why I love this book:  We enjoy a meal with artful presentation, right? From icings on cakes and cupcakes to garnishes on our main dishes, each flower or fruit carved into a garnish excites more than just our tastes. But, did you know there are flowers that can be added to recipes such as teas, salads, yogurts and cheeses that may be out of the ordinary? Yet these flowers are commonly found in our gardens. Rosalind Creasy, in the Edible Flower Garden, marries good cuisine and gardening. Her flowers/plants are arranged alphabetically which makes it an easy yet colorful guide. She includes How to grow along with How to prepare for each plant. In the end, she shares her favorite recipes.
Any surprises? Yes, for me I did not know that lilac blossoms can be added to yogurt. Something to think about in the Spring.

Why I love this book: In a word, COLOR. The author offers a color wheel and then lists plants by color to create a delightful and rewarding palette for anyone’s landscapes. He gives practical design tips, how to connect colors inside and outside to establish a flow between architectural designs, color schemes, and your favorite palette. I had an opportunity to create a larger garden off a deck. Mr. Smith’s book gave me ideas on how to implement the client’s needs with his inside view across a deck to a garden a bit below.deck level.
His plant lists alone are worth the cost of the book but there is so much more to enjoy.

Why I love this book: the table of contents makes it easy to find a plant family category and then look up problems. He uses an easy to read format I wish I could keep in my garden. Fun illustrations, graphics with a sense of humor and highlighted tips make it a treasure for the whole family. Plant suggestions, composting and recipes, this book contains so many worthwhile solutions, it’s a must.

Why I love this book: I appreciate weeds! They are often maligned and zapped with harmful chemicals yet they are often powerhouses of nutrients. Their gifts are many, some are edible and are nutritious, some are medicinal and offer a helping hand to what ails us. And, weeds tell us about the health of our soil too. Ever wondered why your cucumbers did great but not the tomatoes? The weed that is growing in the garden bed next to it could be trying to get your attention and let you know what the soil needs, what the soil might be missing, what could be at too high levels.

Mr. Pfeiffer ( 1899-1961) pioneered biodynamic farming in the US. He discusses weeds that appear each season and shows us what minerals are high or low. This is a new book for me, One I intend to take into my garden, investigate and observe more keenly what my garden is saying to me. Seems like I’ll be engaging in a new kind of conversation with my garden and I can’t wait!

Why I love this Book: Did you know trees talk among themselves and help each other out? I did not know until recently how complex the forest’s ecosystem is in managing nutrients and survival. Trees produce thousands of seeds so one can survive and thrive to maturity. There are older trees that maintain the forest and when we unknowingly cut them down we destroy the invaluable aid and gifts she gives to the others in her care. Pretty amazing, isn’t it? And it’s holistic too. What happens to one affects the whole.
Tending a forest for over thirty years in Germany, with keen observation skills, means we benefit. The author takes us through the life of a tree and shows us how gentler management yields more abundant results. He highlights in many ways how trees communicate and help each other. If one is stressed, the others through complex underground signaling, send some relief. I highly recommend this book not just for gardeners but for those who deeply care about this earth we live on.

Why I love this book: One author is a geologist and his wife is a Biologist and together they marry the world of soils and gut health. And they garden and wanted to create healthier soils. Anne developed a serious disease which gave her the impetus to dig deeper. ( Yes pun intended) Together their collaboration gives us, the reader, an in-depth look at soil and how that relates to growing healthy, nutrient dense foods which ultimately brings us better health. A must for the gardener and those who choose sustainable practices in our landscapes.

Why I love this book: John brings us into the energy and spirit of nature that has helped him co-create beautiful gardens. While his gardens are Australian based I enjoyed his practical advice about paying attention to nature. Nature speaks to us in many ways. Working in the garden with mindfulness, you may be pleasantly surprised by what you feel. So many of the gardeners I know can’t wait to get back in the dirt, plant and tend their gardens where a feeling of peacefulness, some magical connection stirs us.
His book covers many bases from composting, mulches, pond building and working with nature spirits and more. Practical yet poetic, a must for the beginner and the advanced.

Disclaimer: I participate in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for me to earn small fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliate sites. Thank you so much for supporting these efforts to pass on worthwhile and invaluable resources. And as I said before I love books. It’s a pleasure to share with you my favorites, especially for the gift-giving time of year. Enjoy. Judith

 

Blog: What You Need to Know About Naturopathy, a Holistic Medical Model

 

 

My journey into alternative medicine began because of my son’s health. As an infant and toddler, he had ear infections, was a restless sleeper. Troublesome, worrisome and perplexing, I felt forced to look at health in general and his in particular from a different angle. How could I create foundational health for him when traditional medicine seemed to be a band-aid? It helped with the crisis but didn’t seem able to get to the root of the problem?

He was born in New Jersey where naturopathic medicine was /is not licensed. When he was three years old we moved back to CT, my home state, where I found out naturopaths are licensed to practice medicine. Remember I was trained as a nurse in western, allopathic medicine so this was a stretch for me. But I was tired, tired of long restless nights with him, cranky daytimes and his ill health. I had to step off the medical model I was trained in, face my fears, ( I was told in nursing school that chiropractors, naturopaths etc were “quacks”) and investigate alternative medicine for myself. I learned a whole lot, became angry that good research was not mainstream though potentially helpful.

Through a series of synchronistic encounters, I met a couple fo N.D.’s, Naturopathic physicians, who were licensed to practice medicine in the state of CT. Through specific testing, we found out my son was very sensitive to certain foods. When I removed them from his diet, the results were miraculous. After three days of removing these suspected culprits from his diet, he slept peacefully. Gradually his ears improved and so did his overall health.

Naturopathy refers to a system of medical practice that combines a mainstream understanding of human physiology and disease with alternative remedies. Naturopathy grew out of taking the

cure from natural mineral springs and spas prevalent in Europe in the 1800’s. This model flourished in the 1800’s and early 1900’s here in the USA. However, hospitals and schools were shut down by the 1920’s by the rise of biomedicines and the Flexner Report. As complementary and alternative medicine experienced a resurgence in the 1970’s, we began to see N.D.’s in our cities here in CT.

This practice chooses natural remedies aimed at stimulating the body’s own healing ability rather than surgery and drugs. These Doc’s have the same medical school training as our allopathic, (western medicine) Doc’s do with a few differences.

congerdesign / Pixabay

First, they cannot perform surgery and cannot prescribe certain classes of drugs. However they are trained in homeopathy, supplements, nutrition, and some are well versed in acupuncture, body therapies, traditional Chinese herbs, Ayurveda herbs, and western herbology.

My podcast guest this week, Dr. Ashley Burkman, highlighted her approach, involving a comprehensive review of a person’s lifestyle, environment, work and study habits, routines, in order to address whatever her patients present.  On my first visit to an N.D. with my young son, I was surprised at the extensive interview and the quality time spent with me and my son. And it paid off. Little by little, we made dietary changes along with the addition of herbs and supplements. He improved. I finally felt he was regaining foundational health and vitality. And for the parents out there with small children, you can imagine my relief.

ExplorerBob / Pixabay

For the holidays: keep in mind bedtimes both your child’s and yours. We all function better with a good night’s sleep. Try different recipes that contain less refined sugars, refined flours and opt for more organic ingredients where you can. Put on relaxing music while doing kitchen chores. Laugh, smile and giggle. This is a wonderful time of year where true heartfelt giving, family, and friends surround us.

From my heart to yours, have wonderful holidays. Judith

Podcast: Holistic Nature of Us: Meet Dr. Scott Gerson, Ayurveda and the Immune System

Description: Ayurveda means the science of life. Ayurvedic Medicine developed and recorded over 4000 years ago, based on the keen observation of the outside world and how it relates to our inside world, is a great example of a holistic medical model. My guest this week, Dr. Scott Gerson, is licensed as an Ayurvedic physician and a Medical Physician practicing in NY and Florida. He seeks to build bridges between both worlds. Dr. Gerson gives us several practical tips and guidance for improving immunity and resistance, all perfect for the upcoming holiday season.

About My guest: Scott Gerson, M.D., Ph.D. (Ayurveda) is one of the world’s leading Ayurvedic primary-care physicians and is a prolific researcher in Ayurvedic Medicine who is well-versed in virtually all modalities of integrative medicine. He is the Medical Director of the Dept. of Integrative Medicine, Division of Research and Education at Jupiter Medical Center and Chief Physician at The Gerson Institute of Ayurvedic Medicine in Lake Mary, Florida where he treats patients through merging authentic Ayurveda, integrative medicine, and conventional medical approaches. Dr. Gerson is an Associate Professor at Tilak Ayurved Mahavidyalaya, Department of Kayachikitsa (Internal Medicine), where he earned his Master’s and Ph.D. degrees in Ayurvedic Medicine, a Clinical Assistant Professor, Dept. of Community and Preventive Medicine, New York Medical College, and founder of the Gerson Institute of Ayurvedic Medicine (est. 1982)

Transcript: #36 Dr. Scott Gerson

Blog: Korean Natural Farming: An Introduction

Nature heals itself. If we give crops, plants, everything they need to thrive we reap the benefit of vitally strong, healthy plants some of which are the foods we eat. My guest this week, Nigel Palmer, soil and garden consultant for The Institute of Sustainable Nutrition, mentions Korean Natural Farming or KNF. Curious I decided to do some research and found out it’s a farming model based on holistic principles. This system encourages us as gardeners and even large-scale farms to use what’s close at hand. Nearby forest compost, weeds cost nothing, making it easy to obtain and use.

This short documentary gives clear explanations of some of the fermented products used and why they are loved by plants. When we ferment with natural sugars, which mimics natural plant exudates, plants thrive. This system has recipes that create specific products such as IMO’s, which means  Indigenous Micro-organisms using rice, sugar, plant materials. I know I am going to make something, maybe only one product but hopefully more for my next growing season. I am going to look into what I can apply to my garden beds, closed down now, in preparation for the New England winter.

Easy, economical, using plant materials indigenous to our local area supports the plant kingdom’s needs and ours, truly holistic.
Have any of you looked into KNF? I would love to hear from you.

Remember to please like, share and comment. It’s appreciated.
Enjoy. Judith

Podcast: Holistic Nature of Us: Meet Nigel Palmer


Description: Healthy soils support healthy plants, create nutrient-dense foods, help create better health. It all begins with the soil. My guest this week, Nigel Palmer, is a soil consultant and teaches sustainable and regenerative soil practices with The Institute of Sustainable Nutrition, TIOSN, here in North CT. What’s good for soil biology, the “digestive system” of soil, is actually important for us. Join us for an informative discussion on growing nutritious foods from the ground up.

About My Guest: Nigel Palmer is a Bionutrient Food and Soil Consultant practicing sustainable, regenerative mineralization programs. He develops plant and soil improvement products by fermenting local plants, extracting minerals, and capturing then cultivating indigenous microorganisms. He uses the refractive index of plant saps and crops as a way of monitoring long and short-term plant health trends and the efficacy of the products developed.

Nigel is the Outside Consultant for The Institute of Sustainable Nutrition or TIOSN. He teaches sustainable regenerative gardening techniques, the keeping of bees, and discusses monthly, the night sky and many subtle nuances of the world out of doors.

Transcript: Nigel Palmer 

Blog: One Great Tea, Three Great Herbs: Get Ready for the Holidays

 

 

 

Autumn’s chill, holidays and colds seem to come at the same time. We bundle up, turn on the heat, stay indoors. with school parties and adult parties, maybe too much eating, lots of sweets. We seem to get a cold more easily this time of year, suffer from indigestion too.

My podcast guest this week, Janet Pagan, Ayurvedic Nutritionist, suggests a few simple remedies to ward off the beginning of a cold, soothe digestion. Ayurveda uses many plants to balance our dosha type. One ayurvedic tea, CCF, is quite helpful for balancing our digestive system. What I have learned in my herbal studies is that when our digestion is more balanced we feel better, we sleep better and our immune system is supported.

CCF stands for Cumin seed, Coriander seed, Fennel seed tea.

Cumin: Cumino aigro, is a small, herbaceous plant that grows to about 10″ in height. This plant is indigenous to Upper Egypt but found in many far eastern countries. Medicinal and popular in the Middle Ages for its medicinal properties, it was grown, used and sought after. But it does not have popular flavor and so was blended with other herbs. It has a carminative action, which means it aids in digestion.

Coriander: Coriandrum sativum, also known as cilantro, (coriander is the Spanish name for cilantro), is indigenous to Egyptian area. Tall, growing to a height of about 2′, its an easy addition to most gardens. Coriander is also a carminative and masks the flavor of cumin. I like to add it to my summertime vegetable juices. When it goes to seed, gather them and dry them. They keep well and you can begin to make your own tea blends.

Fennel: Foeniculum vulgare ( wild variety), a tall, hardy, perennial, growing to 4-5′, stems are often cut down for flavoring and even garnishing. Fennel grows for years and easily propagates from seed. It originates in the Mediterranean. Fragrant, a softer licorice-like flavor makes fennel a great choice to mask other flavors, such as cumin.

These three seeds are known to aid in digestive disorders from relieving flatulence, colic, diarrhea, cramps, even acid indigestion. They also stimulate our digestive juices which support the efficacy of nutrient breakdown in our stomachs and small intestines. Three well-known seeds, form easy to grow plants, can be added to your garden wish list for 2019. In the meantime, get some seeds, make your own tea. When our constitution is strong we can handle the changes in weather, the changes in diet, company, and parties with more ease.

Recipe:
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp coriander seeds
1/2 tsp fennel seeds
Add to 4 cups of boiling water. Let sit a few minutes. Sweeten if needed to taste. I recommend honey, maple syrup, or stevia but you may find you enjoy the flavors on their own. Try it plain first. Sweeten only if needed.

Ayurveda, as a recognized medical model, offers many simple remedies that work. I hope you get a chance to make this tea, enjoy its flavors. Wishing you good health.

“As long as we are not living in harmony with nature and our constitution, we cannot expect ourselves to be really healed. Ayurveda gives us the means.” David Frawley, Hindu teacher, author, speaker.

Judith

 

 

 

 

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