Growing a Better Life

This morning I ate handfuls of raspberries, mulberries, strawberries and Nanking cherries on my daily walk around the garden. I also stopped to nibble a few bites of mint, some cilantro flowers, and hyssop. This ancient culinary herb seems to change flavor significantly through the seasons, something our ancestors would have been familiar with as they used it to flavor their meals.  Since we use good Permaculture design and strategies like heavy mulching, polycultures and self-organizing plant communities, our garden doesn’t require much of us, but it gives back a great deal: beauty, diverse nutritionally dense foods, fuel wood, craft … Continue reading Growing a Better Life

Living with a Forest Garden

Our scholars are learning that forest gardening has been nearly universal amoung human cultures, “the oldest human land use,” it’s being called. It’s certain that some form of “Agriforest gardening” system has been a large part of the way that most humans who have ever lived have met most of their needs, right up until very, very recent history.  Becoming forest gardeners, we re-take our rightful place as the gentle, kind “keystone species” of our ecosystems, learning to work with nature, as a part of it, rather than against it as an outsider.  How to start? You already know. We … Continue reading Living with a Forest Garden

Lillie House Forest Garden Tour Saturday at 1:00

This Saturday we’ll be giving some free tours of our garden, with a discussion on the basics of Forest Gardening.  It’s a nice time of year to see our young forest garden, as the summer flowers have begun their show and the pollinators are taking full advantage.  If you have questions about starting a forest garden or where to begin, this weekend would be a good time to chat about it.  We’ll also have a few plants for sale/trade, including valerian, blood-veined sorrel, marshmallow, comfrey, bellflowers, bee balm, anise hysop and a few others. If you don’t have the cash … Continue reading Lillie House Forest Garden Tour Saturday at 1:00

Mulberry Truncheon: does it work?

(Contorted Mulberry) A “truncheon,” which sounds like something Captain Caveman might have used to beat people over the head with, is actually an old-fashioned form of vegetative propagation or “cutting” that’s ocassionally useful for a variety of tree species including willow, hazel, certain dogwoods, and allegedly all species of Mulberry (which we would report is false.)  These cuttings, alternately called “live stakes” are large branch cuttings, about the size of an arm, or the perfect size to beat someone over the head with. (A coincidence?) The leaves are removed, and the stakes are buried or driven deeply into the ground.  … Continue reading Mulberry Truncheon: does it work?

Permaculture Plants: Allium Unifolium

Now that’s a flower that looks so good you could eat it right up. And as it turns out, you can! In Permaculture, we’re always looking for good multi-purpose perennial plants and in that regard you can do no better than the beautiful North American native wild onion, allium unifolium, or “single-leaved onion,” which in actuality is neither an onion (it is not in the “onion” species Allium Cepa) nor single-leaved (it usually has 3.) But never mind that, just look at it! It’s a star in the garden, soft-colored, delicate and detailed up close, but at the same time … Continue reading Permaculture Plants: Allium Unifolium