Plant Profile: Cornelian Cherry, Cornus Mas

If you like to pucker, then you’ll want to get acquainted with the sweet-tart flavor Cornelian Cherries.  The Cornelian Cherry Dogwood, Cornus Mas, is a native of west asia and carries an ancient culinary pedigree, being pickled as “olives,” used as gourmet floral-scented preserves, and even as the orginial sweet-tart “sorbet” in Persia. “Floral, complex, intriguing, distinctive, rich, unequaled” are often found in the long strings of adjectives writers use in describing the flavor of the cooked fruit, when sweetened or added to alcohol.  In the Great Lakes landscape, (it’s hardy throughout the Great Lakes Region) it grows to a … Continue reading Plant Profile: Cornelian Cherry, Cornus Mas

How to Make Better "Native Plant Gardens" with Permaculture

(This post is accompanied by this morning’s pictures of some charasmatic native flowers at Lillie House)  Hovering from flower to flower, the bumble bee embraces her partner and begins to sing. This is a new song, not the regular hum of flight, but a deliberate and intricate buzzing sung aloud for another living being. This is called “buzz pollination.” She knows exactly the notes and frequencies that will make the flower release its pollen, a living demonstration of how sound, song, and music can move something inside of us, too.  I learned this, and many other beautiful things, by watching … Continue reading How to Make Better "Native Plant Gardens" with Permaculture

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