Weeds as Needs + Moon Cycles: the garden in the Spring.
Picture above: So far this year I have gathered dandelion blossoms (Taraxacum officinale) on the second Spring rising full moon. It was just one morning, in one field for one hour. Also pictured is purple dead nettle (Lamium purpureum) tops as well as white and purple violets (Viola spp.).
My garden is a wild herb garden, I also like to call it my micro mini nature sanctuary. Here is where I have learned most about nature. Learning to respect and listen to it. Finding connection through all the senses, including the ones we have yet to name.
Pictured above: garden one week after the full moon.
This year is the 16th year I have worked with this piece of land. This year I am focusing on listening more than ever. Listening through the heart from intuition is how I exist here. I try to learn from what I see, what I must do: namely growing things that I can use for Plant Makeup.
Pictured above: Rescued lemon balms (Melissa officinalis) with resident peppermint x spearmint ((
Herbal medicine is a way to look at what is growing here. This year we have five year old Echinacea purpurea plants. I believe at 7 years they are most viable. Unless I am thinking of ginseng. Ginsengs, like American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius), holds its greatest vitality as it ages. However, perhaps I am intuitively feeling as if I can experiment with Echinacea roots to see if their maximum vitality is also similar to ginseng. These are the types of experiments carried out in this sanctuary.
Pictured above: garden 3 days before full moon.
This year I was given the gift of site from this piece of the Earth to concentrate on planting wild Spring medicinal plants that are already growing or need to be 'rescued' from places where they might be deemed a weed. Sheep sorrel (Rumex acetosella), ground ivy (Glechoma hederacea), wood sorrel (Oxalis acetosella), feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium) are some of the amazing medicinals I have rescued and planted underneath the current new moon (at the time). One of the greatest rescues was finding over 6 lemon balm babies from a 12 year old resident mother plant scattered in the nearby woods.
Pictured above: purple dead nettles (Lamium purpureum), its name derived from the plant being similar to nettles, but it's stingers are not active. These were gathered on the second Spring rising full moon in two consecutive afternoons. And dandelion blossoms (Taraxacum officinale).
I think it is important to follow the moon cycles. At least so far, in being aware of them, I become more aware of myself doing similar things when it is the new moon or full moon.* Or finding gathering plants from the wild or harvesting from the garden is best done on the rising full moon (realizing just now that I did plant the garden before the new moon!). This cycle can also play into intuition with planting and gathering greatly.
Picture above: A Japanese honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica), or wild 'volunteer' that arrived three years ago with the wind, in my garden.
A new insight I picked up this year was only gathering a certain plant from the wild at a single specific moment. As if the heavens open just for those few hours and you are given permission to take the wild gifts you need. This helps anxiety levels when you ride a bike down the street and see so many of one type of plant. You will know that you already gathered what you need for the year and can just admire their beauty. Some plants scream to me for attention, as if they want to come home with me a be part of Plant Makeup. It's a beautiful thing, but I also am aware of when they want to stay.
Pictured above: lilac (Syringa vulgaris) + beach rose (Rosa rugosa) transplant babies week 3. Update - all three beach rose transplants made it, as well as two of the lilacs.
My Foraging Rules: 1. Ask for permission from the plants first. 2. Take only what you need (the way I work is within the context of running a small business, but one might take the same amount for, for example a dandelion wine) 3. Within a patch, leave plants to almost live by the rule 'leave no trace', as if you take only 1/4 of a single patch leaving the rest to grow! One could almost say it is a form of guerilla gardening lol. 4. After the harvest make sure you are responsible for all plant material to the end of its existence. If you decide not to use parts - compost! So you can complete its cycle.
Pictured above: Garden at waning crescent, before a week of Spring rains.
Full moon energy in Spring is for the flowers. If you like to store flowers for medicinal and edible purposes, I love collecting right before the full moon, where the flowers are just about to peak at their blossom stage. In this sense all the energy of the plant is being directed right into the flowers. A beautiful movement energetically of the plant when you think about it from a healing perspective.
Pictured above: lilac blossoms (Syringa vulgaris) at the perfect stage for gathering, drying and storing.
This year I gathered lilac flowers right before the full moon. It inspired me to create little starters in my own garden. I took three babies growing around a mother lilac tree. I am currently nursing them in pots. The key is to transplant very young plants from the ground with as much of the root system as possible. Then keep them out of the direct sunlight for the first week and use a spray mister to keep them as watered as possible. Using growth hormone is something you can apply to the roots, but I only use it if it is around. I don't go out of my way to buy anything from a garden supply store because I like to keep things as natural as possible but I am an opportunist in the practice of sustainability.
Pictured above: Beach rose (Rosa rugosa) with a waxing moon in mid Spring, before budding and flowering.
I also took three baby rose bushes growing around a mother plant in the wild. The soil I put them in has more sand than the lilacs. It is important with transplanting to match the original soil the plant was once in as much as possible. So my experience with beach roses have been very successful with transplanting. It is a plant that LOVES water. So with watering it during the transplanting period, it benefits greatly and thus may be why it is more successful. It takes about 2 months (I'd say) until they grow out their pots and can be transplanted in the garden or bigger pots.
Pictured above: budding lilacs (Syringa vulgaris)!
Hope you enjoyed the Spring edition of being one with nature from my perspective. I am now experiencing the gifts of the Summer and am excited to share when the time is right, just like those perfect times we are given gifts from the Earth and can share back, life in harmony.
*(When it is a full moon, usually the energy is greater, pulled upwards like the high tide. When it is a new moon, usually the energy is more sunken in towards the ground, or a low tide)