June Soul Gardening With Julie Grove
I have known and worked with Laura for over 20 years. She has been instrumental in my path of discovery. In truth, we have shared many lifetimes and have become dear friends in this one. She has helped me become comfortable with my gifts and brave enough to share my perspective. Over the years, we have shared many laughs and a few tears. I am honored to be part of her web site.
Since 1979, I’ve been the owner of a nursery and landscape company. My spiritual journey blossomed through my work in designing gardens. I have an affinity to discern the vibrational qualities of the plants, how they work together and how they affect us.
I live on a small ranch in a high mountain valley with my husband and trusted Bouvier. I have been told that the property has been a place of healing since ancient times and sits within a vortex. I write about what I see and feel from observing Mother Nature in my own back yard. The purpose of Soul Gardening is to give you, the readers, another tool to get through these changing and challenging times. I’m not a guru, I am a gardener.
We have a colony of magpies living at the ranch this year, 12 in all, parents and children, possibly even grandparents. Three spruce trees on the property hold the large twig nests and I mean large, probably as big as the nightstand next to my bed. We have watched the birds all spring and now the family has grown into summer. We have magpies everywhere! We, consisting of the magpies, my dog, and myself, walk about the garden discussing the happenings of the day. The magpies really have a lot to say on any subject it seems. Boo takes their chatter for granted as they wander together through the aspen grove.
June is a month of celebration….weddings, graduations, the summer solstice, the arrival of summer and the bounty of the garden. In the alpine garden, summer is a fleeting moment. Warm days are counted on your fingers and yet the cool nights keep the blossoms lasting longer than in lower elevations. Plants have adapted to the harsh alpine conditions, but can be a point of beauty in any garden. The wildflowers are beginning to appear in the fields around the ranch. The Lewisia and the Camus are blooming and both have an interesting connection to the Pacific Northwest history.
The Camus produce long narrow leaves and delicate blue flowering stems from bulbs. In the spring these flowers form a sea of blue in the grasslands and prairies of the northwest. These edible bulbs were a staple in the diet of Native Americans. The bulbs are not edible raw but were eaten baked or made into a bread and dried for later use. The Nez Perce tribe introduced Lewis and Clark to the Camus bulbs as a food source and saved the expedition from starvation. I will caution you that Mr. Lewis was never fond of the flavor of this food source and I must confess that I have never tried them either, upon his recommendation.
The Lewisia is another plant native to the Pacific Northwest. A small perennial succulent with brilliant flowers of pink, orange, or magenta and evergreen leaves. Lewisia has become a favorite in the alpine garden and in the garden shop. The plant genus was named for Meriwether Lewis and discovered during the Lewis and Clark expedition. I often use the Lewisia in areas of hot sun and poor soil conditions. Try this plant combined with other succulents or lavender in your garden and you will find a difficult growing spot can become a source of beauty in your garden. The bold flower color is unexpected and whimsical. This is Soul Gardening.
The native Kinnikinnick (yes, this is the correct spelling) is a wonderful addition to any alpine garden. This is a low growing woody ground cover with deep green leaves. In spring, pink flowers emerge turning to bright red fruits that feed birds well into winter. Kinnikinnick can withstand a difficult growing condition and thrive, extremes of heat and cold never phase this plant. This is another good and somewhat unusual choice.
All of these plants thrive in difficult conditions of the high alpine landscape. Each has unique characteristics that remind me to grow, adapt and add to the beauty of the world around me…even in challenging times. I learn to garden, for soul gardening.
With love to all of you,