When one adventure ends, another begins. Storms passing through the area put a hold on our recent plans to kayak, but the garden still beckons. Our little Earth gardens are a Certified Wildlife Habitat through the National Wildlife Federation. Full of herbs and native species of plants such as the lovely bee balm seen here; a water source and shelter, we love watching the life in, out and all about our little urban oasis. Life abounds here! The majority of things growing in our urban gardens are edible and we do not use any chemicals, so this is a safe haven for our wild child and pets and sustainable to a wide variety of visitors: opossums, squirrels, chipmunks, a roaming skunk, a variety of birds including hummingbirds, cardinals, blue jays, gold finches, mourning doves, wrens, occasionally a hawk and one surprising day a turkey (in downtown Carlisle this is a rarity). Butterflies, bees, spiders and bugs all enjoy a drink from the pond and nibbling the nectar and pollen of our flowers, which means life can continue to grow and thrive.
Bee balm is just one of the many gorgeous greens and pops of color we have planted. Also known as wild bergamot it has a faint, pleasant aroma, is attractive to bees, butterflies, hummingbirds and tea drinkers alike! Bee balm is a balm to many ailments and has many culinary & medicinal uses. Always be sure to research all wild wonders first, before ingesting. We have several books in our shop on the topic of backyard foraging and wild, edible plants for those of you looking for starter guides.
Amidst the bee balm we have yarrow, echinacea, mints, lemon balm, calendula, black eyed Susie’s and much more! Some areas are wild & free with whatever naturally occurs in our urban habitat while others are dedicated to medicinal or culinary herbs. My Mom, the herbalist, dietician and nutritionist Jennifer Carman, shares her wisdom with me as I grow. Her sage advice includes: 1. Food is medicine and 2. Nature knows what you need, look at what’s growing around you and consider what it’s saying. For example, my garden is going crazy with lemon balm–good for stress relief and calming belly pain–two things I suffer from, so I use my lemon balm in a tea, add it to salads, small doses to smoothies and dry it in my home so I get the aromatic benefits. By the way, if you’ve ever attended Mother Earth News Fair at Seven Springs Mountain Resort in PA, you may have heard my Mom’s powerful presentations on food as a healing energy or sampled her amazing lavender, elderberry chocolate cake. Stay tuned for her famous recipe in a future post!
What I love about the herbs and native species in our little urban Earth garden is they can run wild with generally minimal maintenance outside of trimming, which we eat or hang up to dry and then store in recycled mason jars to use later, and, of course, weeding. Which is what I’m about to do. The weeds are calling and I must go! I love the feel of the earth on my hands. I love it on my feet too–it’s good grounding energy! When other aspects of life seem to spin out of control, planting, weeding and harvesting the herbs, flowers and small batches of veggies in my garden always seems to put things to right. It takes my attention off things I have no control over and refocuses it on something beautiful I can (sort of) control by what, where and how I plant things. Envisioning pulling out and discarding the things that cause irritation in my life as I pluck out the weeds is a balm to the soul.
It’s rewarding to start with a seed, nurture it, watch it grow, thrive, and interact with life surrounding it. The healing aspects of connecting to nature are plentiful. If you’re not sure where to start, keep it simple. Check out our carefully curated collection on the Goods page for a few of our favorite gardening tools including garden snips and garden soaps which contain apricot kernels as a natural exfoliant to get grubby garden hands clean, (all of these items can currently be purchased through our brick & mortar store and soon in our online store). Container gardens, using pots to plant a few of your favorite herbs and flowers to tease the palate and please the pollinators are very simple to create. The perfect small garden ingredients? Start with a container of your choice (be sure there’s a small hole for drainage in the bottom), add good organic soil up to within an inch of the top edge, add seeds or plants, sun, water and love! This is especially great for city dwellers who crave nature but have minimal space–bring the greens to you! We have a selection of heirloom and organic varieties of Art Seed Packs in stock in our shop in the wilds of historic downtown Carlisle, PA and they will be a highlighted item in our upcoming special feature sale. Designed by artists and full of glorious information and seeds, you can frame and display each little masterpiece pack when you’re done planting! Our greatest advice to novices, garden gurus and goddesses alike? Look for rainbows through the storms. Get Out, Get Here & Get Growing! Happy Garden Adventuring!
What’s next in the Earth Adventure Blog? Traveling With Dogs and Adventuring in The Green Mountains. Get sneak peeks on Earth Artisan & Outfitter’s FB and Instagram pages!