How do trees talk to each other?

I am so in awe of nature and how she is teaching us, reaching out to us so that we become better. Better stewards, better co-partners with her in all her diversity.
How is that happening? Suzanne Simard, from Canada, relates to us in this TED talk what her observations and studies show concerning the complexity of a forest.
Trees share information below ground. Hub trees or mother trees send carbon to seedlings. When she is injured she sends messages to her seedlings, the next generation of trees. She sends more carbon and defense signals to support their growth and longevity.

Suzanne has discovered that trees are super cooperators sharing carbon, nitrogen, phosphorus, hormones and more. The mycorrhizal network, fungal threads create a fantastic below ground highway where trade agreements occur, where substances are delivered not only among species but can include their neighbors. She also reminds us that the forest has a tremendous ability to self-heal too. So, what can we do to help our forests? Suzanne leaves us with 4 tips. I thought they were worthwhile so I will summarize them here.

    1. Get into the forest and get involved with local forestry programs. These folks know the local conditions.
    2. Save old growth forests. Why? they are genetic banks for species and mycorrhizal networks.
    3. When cutting down forests be conservative. Do some research. Where are the hub trees?
    4. Give forests the tools to regenerate and self heal

Woodrow Nelson from the Arbor Day foundation’s Time for Trees, podcast guest this week, describes the foundation’s incredible initiative to plant 100,000,000 trees by 2022. And, they are one-third of the way there. Impressive. Want to get involved? Click on the link and they will help you get started.

Trees are simply magnificent in their strength, their beauty, and their gifts. It’s time we appreciate the intelligence within our forests. What can you do today? Let us know. We appreciate your stories.

Enjoy. Judith

 

Podcast: Holistic Nature of Us: Meet Woodrow Nelson, Time for Trees

Description: Planting trees is one of the main focuses for the Arbor Day Foundation. Today’s guest, Woodrow Nelson, tree lover, and planter, talks about the Arbor Day Foundation’s initiative to plant 100,000,000 trees by 2022. What is truly remarkable is that they are one-third of the way there.

Join us as we talk about trees, their benefits, and how we can help replant especially in disaster sites such as those hit by wildfires, hurricanes, and tornadoes.

About My Guest: Woodrow Nelson is a lifelong tree planter while growing up in several Midwest states through a business career in California and Ohio before moving to Lincoln, Nebraska, to join the Executive Management Team of the nonprofit Arbor Day Foundation in 2006. He is inspired by hundreds of thousands of Arbor Day Foundation members, engaging them in the conservation work of the Foundation with impact in neighborhoods, communities, and forests across the globe. Woody and his wife, Joyce, enjoy time together with their children and grandchildren.

More about the Foundation at arborday.org

More about the Time for Trees initiative at timefortrees.org

Transcript: #67 Woodrow Nelson 

White Clover, an Underappreciated Beauty

 

 

 

 

 

While we wait for the rain to stop here in the NE, spring flowers brighten up our landscapes. The grass is an ‘Emerald City’ green. Bulbs rise, flower, come and go as we place seeds in the ground for early crops. Clovers will be coming up soon though I kinda take the little white clover blossoms for granted.

Botanical name: Trifolium repens

Common names: white clover, shamrock

Parts used: whole plant, Peterson’s field guides to medicinal plants states the entire plant can be used.

Uses: teas, washes for sores, ulcers, very popular in Europe. This plant was brought to our country with the early settlers during the 1600-1700’s. It’s short, a perennial and flowers from April to September with shamrock type leaves. As you can imagine, looking for four-leafed clover was and is considered a sign of good luck. In Europe, flower tea was used for rheumatism and gout. In North America, the Native Americans used the leaf tea for colds, coughs, and fevers.

Jethro Kloss, an American icon in the world of herbalism, lived from 1863 to 1946 and practiced herbal medicine. He used white clover blossoms in a tea to cleanse the system, especially if ulcers, boils or other skin ailments were present. He also noted that poultices, tea washes applied externally, helped heal sores, ulcers too.

White clover has been used for many years as a ground cover. It is useful as a ground cover for its nitrogen-fixing properties. There are nodules on the roots that literally grab nonusable nitrogen from the air and with the help of bacteria convert it into a plant usable form which is important for plant growth and provides protein source for foraging animals.

Benefits of White Clover: (from the University of Hawaii cooperative extension service pdf.)

1. Excellent for attracting beneficial insects, for reduced- or non-chemical pest management, for controlling erosion, suppressing weeds once established,

2. …and as a source of organic nitrogen good for quick growth and establishment,

3. …for bearing equipment traffic

4. …tolerates low fertility soils

5…. fair shade tolerance suitable for higher elevations

6. …good forage for animal grazing systems;

7. …high production, nutritional quality, and palatability

8. For use in plantation and orchard cropping systems including macadamia and coffee, in vineyards, and as a living mulch in vegetable cropping systems.”

In doing research for this article I came across a blog: insteading.com they use white clover as a living mulch, planting it in the garden to keep down weeds; eventually, it becomes mulch, retains moisture, attracts pollinators, and improves the soil. When I visited Michael Judd’s property, (author of Edible Landscapes), I saw his use of crops like mint growing in many places. He explained to us that he was not worried about keeping them harnessed. He cut them down periodically during the growing season and they became mulch there and then. It seems Insteading supports the same practices.

Last but not least, white clovers attract pollinators. White clover honey is one of the most popular honey here in the US, light in color and milder in taste.

Recipes:

Teas are easy: gather flowers, leaves at peak growing times, dry, store in glass jars. These plant parts can be combined with other herbs for tea making.  A few white clover blossoms along with red clovers can be added to ice teas too creating pleasing summertime drinks.

White clover flowers dried, then ground into flour can be added to bread recipes. Southern forager shares a bread recipe made from dehydrated and dried, ground white clover blossom flour. I have found forager sites have great uses and recipes for meadow plants.

I hope you look at white clovers in lawns, gardens, and paths a bit differently. This little plant often mowed and ignored provides a host of uses. Do you have a favorite recipe? Please share…I’d like that.

Enjoy. Judith

 

3 Garden Design Tips for Spring Planning

 

 

We’ve had a lot of rain here in the NE this spring. Yet we eagerly run out when the sun pokes through a cloud and continue to spruce up yard and garden. We plan our vegetable beds and flower beds and usually look forward to adding something new. I’ve got three great tips for you today to consider when nursery shopping:

 

 

1. Think foliage.

We drool over the new hybrid creations that flash color and design but I propose looking at plant specimens from a foliage perspective. Check tags and better yet research the plant first to make sure its compatible with native species in your region. Choose native or heirloom varieties. Then look at foliage types for texture, depth, and color. The trick is to plant-wide leafed plants next to ones that are lacier or with a finer texture. For example, hostas have a variety of colors, sizes, and shapes. Their strong root system makes them ideal next to wet areas, ponds. They can handle some shade too. Next, consider planting daisies between the wider leafed varieties such as Leucanthemum vulgare.

Years ago I planted several Hosta varieties ( deep blue leafs next to variegated white and green with yellow tints in between) in a relatively small shaded area to create a textured appearance. It takes a couple of years for new plants to fill in space but it’s worth it. Are deer a problem? Yes, they can be. Hostas are one of their favorites. I sprinkled cayenne pepper on leaves routinely and then added a nonobtrusive wire mess to the area.

 

2. Add food producing plants to your landscapes.

 

In previous posts, I have mentioned adding fruit-bearing shrubs such as blueberries, cranberries, and loganberries into more traditional non-food landscapes. If you spray and/or use chemicals then they are not edible. But if you have azalea, rhododendron bushes on your property, which like an acidic soil and are not treated, then you have a great match. Berries add color and provide food and habitat for many species. Get a soil sample done to make sure soil pH will support the berries. Blueberries, cranberries, and loganberries are all in the Vaccinium family and compatible.

 


3. Plant Wildflowers

Wildflowers can occupy a small land space. I especially recommend them if you have a field of “weeds” and its overrun. While the first year is the most work, the subsequent years need little to no maintenance, are drought resistant, and are sustainable. Meadows provide habitat, shelter, food, and water for so many critters, who are endangered today. My book, At the Garden’s Gate, has a chapter on how to turn lawn into a meadow in 7 easy steps.

We get creative in spring with our land spaces. After winter’s quiet and mono palette we look forward to springs renewal. I know I do.

I hope you found these tips helpful. What changes will you make in your gardens this year? Share your stories. We enjoy hearing from you. Judith.

 

 

 

 

 

Earth Day: Precious Water, Symbol of Life

 

My podcast guest this week, Grandmother Nancy Andry, shared her story, her wisdom and spoke about women as caretakers of the water. She is one of the singers, sharers, and promoters of the Algonquin Water Song. This incredible gift, the Algonquin Water Song is for us. Please listen to the recording and sing the song every day. We have misused our water, shown great disrespect for water as evidenced by the level of pollution that exists on our planet.
In the past 12 years, drinking water used by 49 million residents of the United States has been contaminated with bacteria, radioactive materials, and arsenic in levels that are both illegal and incredibly unsafe. 

Water, a powerful symbol in every culture, is our lifeblood. Water is connected to healing, cleansing, and renewal. I ask that you remember to give thanks for every drop of water you drink, bath in, wash in not just during Earth Day Celebrations but every day. Today I am adding the River Song sung by Brooke Medicine Eagle, and, a song for and with the creatures of the Oceans by Dr. Leesa Sklover, also a podcast guest.

Water is crucial to our existence on this planet. Please share these beautiful songs and sing the water song every day. Did you enjoy these songs? I hope so. We’d like to hear from you. Enjoy. Judith

 

Podcast: Holistic Nature of Us: Meet Grandmother Nancy and the Algonquin Water Song

Description: This Algonquin Water Song expresses loving gratitude for the water and raises the consciousness and connection of women with Mother Nature’s greatest gift. The song is easy to learn, and our hope is that millions of women will sing it, raising their own connection and awareness of the water they interact with daily even in the shower or at the sink. Sing it 4 times, facing each of the 4 Directions. We believe this is a powerful step to change, leading to both a spiritual as well as the environmental shift on our planet.

This song was written by Irene Wawatie Jerome for Grandfather William Commanda’s 2002 Circle of All Nations gathering. It is recorded with permission from the Wawatie and Commanda families and the Circle of All Nations Foundation and the Elders in Canada.

Please note: This information and use of the water song is shared here with permission. It is my intent to honor our elders and their teachings. Honoring our water is needed and timely. Women traditionally hold the water. It is with gratitude I share these messages, song, and information.

About My Guest: Grandmother Nancy is of Algonquin and French heritage and has followed the Red Road since childhood. Seeking out elders willing to teach, her first two mentors were Lakota, one an author, one a medicine man. An Ojibwa medicine woman, then a Mi’kmaq grandmother later adopted her. Community elders gave her permission to pour lodges since 1991. She served as a facilitator for a Native Women’s Circle in federal prison for 17 years.

A Sundancer and a Sacred Pipe carrier, she is acknowledged as an elder and a grandmother in her communities in Canada, where she was given instruction to bring out and share certain teachings. Grandmother Nancy is a well-known storyteller, sharing legends from many different Nations in schools, health facilities, and the pow wow circuit. She was a staff member of the Joined Nations of Connecticut, a youth organization for those of Native heritage. She has given talks in Calgary, Canada, St. Croix USVI, and at various centers in New York, Massachusetts, and Connecticut. She also owned and operated an equestrian business until retirement, and now incorporates Horse Medicine in some of her lectures about Native culture.

Transcript: #59 Grandmother Nancy 

Algonquin Water Song: click on this link to view the short video with the Algonquin Water Song. I hope you enjoy it. It brought me to tears. My heart sends a big thank you to our elders who share this wisdom. It’s timely and it’s special. Remember all comments are appreciated.

Enjoy, Judith

Never miss an Update!

Never miss an Update!

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates.

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Pin It on Pinterest