Category Archives: 7 Acre Wood Musings

Botanical Sanctuary Network – 2017 Summary

[In 2017, 7 Acre Wood Farm was recognized by the United Plant Savers as a Botanical Sanctuary. There are 90 Botanical Sanctuaries in North America (12 in Virginia). The following article will appear in the Spring 2018 edition of the Journal of Medicinal Plant Conservation.]

How a 7-acre botanical sanctuary can help heal a community’s people and soil

2017 was our first year as a member in the Botanical Sanctuary Network. The formal recognition from the United Plant Savers and seeing our name listed with the other like-minded conservationists across North America, we felt a difference in how we related to the land.

Our first impulse in 2017 was to better understand what plants were growing on our property. Equipped with over one dozen plant identification books, we set out to identify as many plants as possible and were delighted to realize in our first year as botanical explorers, we identified 231 plant species! We were especially pleased to learn that over 90% of the plants identified had some medicinal property recognized by Native Americans. We will continue this identification quest in 2018 and expand our search to include bryophytes, lichens, fungi and grasses.

Anne smelling black cohosh (July 8, 2017)

To improve habitat for medicinal plants, we invested time and energy to fence off areas in the forest and meadows that contained plants listed “at risk” on the UpS website, denying the deer browsing rights to ginseng, bloodroot, black cohosh, echinacea, and goldenseal. These protected areas will now allow us to expand our plantings of cultivated medicinal plants and encourage the spread of wild medicinal plants.

Marshmallow plants enjoying a swale-full of water. (August 7, 2017)

In keeping with permaculture design principles, we were able to turn what at first appeared to be a liability into a opportunity. Living at an elevation of 2,400 feet with a slope between 10-15% means two things; we live in a colder hardiness zone than our friends in town and, when standing outside, our feet are rarely level. We took advantage of relatively steep topography and created a series of swales to collect, move, and store rainwater. In 2017, we increased space dedicated to cultivated medicinal herbs by creating approximately 1,000 square feet of planting space in these new swales.

After entering a partnership with our local electric cooperative in which we assume responsibility for managing the electric utility right-of-way with vegetation that will not conflict with the electric wires, we continue to transform the formerly barren landscape into a vibrant habitat that supports pollinators and medicinal plants.

Last year we were both invited guest speakers at area garden clubs and local libraries and continue to accept invitations to speak on our medicinal herbs and efforts at creating pollinator habitat. In addition to sharing resources, herbal teas, tinctures, and salves, we also share seeds from our medicinal plants to family, friends, community members and participants at our workshops. This year, we are excited to accept an invitation to be instructors and share our knowledge and experience growing medicinal herbs at the Allegheny Mountain Institute, a permaculturally-inspired educational non-profit organization training young adults creative food growing systems and public outreach.

 

 

 

Resources mentioned in a recent presentation (February 13, 2018)

From Seed to Herbal Medicine: A Year’s Journey to the Heart of What Really Matters  (February 13, 2018, Warm Springs Library)

*** Information provided below is for educational purposes only. Consult with your medical provider and/or a licensed herbalist before embarking on a journey with herbs. Use of particular prescription drugs and/or the presence of specific medical contraindicate(s) the use of specific herbs.  Merrily A. Kuhn & David Winston’s Herbal Therapy & Supplements, A Scientific and Traditional Approach is my primary “go-to” when looking for contraindications with herbs.

Sample Herbal Medicine URLs introducing topics in our talk

  • Rosemary Gladstar is a favorite of ours, whether you’re with her in person or watching via YouTube and links to her website ( sagemountain.com ), you’re in for a treat! Laughter and learning rolled into one!

 

Rosemary Gladstar: Fire Cider Remedy

 

 

Deb Soule: an Avenabotanical video – Yarrow (Achillea millefolium)

 

 

Rosemary Gladstar’s Garden Wisdom: Yarrow

 

 

Susan Weed: Dandelion Medicine

 

Morag Gamble: Our Permaculture Life – Calendula

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w46LHwBz4_4

 

Morag Gamble: Make Calendula Flower Oil: for skin care, healing & eating

Morag Gamble: Make Simple Calendula Salve

 

Conservation/Preservation:

Seed Catalogs:

Where we get our tree seedlings:

Books that have influenced our thinking:
(listed in order to go along with our presentation)

How did we get here?

  • The Dynamic Laws of Healing. Catherine Ponder. 1972. DeVorss & Company
  • The Oversoul Seven Trilogy. Jane Roberts. 1973. Hay House, Inc.
  • The Search for the Girl with the Blue Eyes: A Venture Into Reincarnation. Jess Stearn. 1968.
  • Edgar Cayce: The Sleeping Prophet. Jess Stearn. 1967. Doubleday.
  • Many Lives, Many Masters: The True Story of a Prominent Psychiatrist, His Young Patient, and the Past-Life Therapy That Changed Both Their Lives. Brian Weiss. 1988. Simon & Schuster.
  • No Ordinary Moments: A Peaceful Warrior’s Guide to Daily Life. Dan Millman. 1992. H.J. Kramer, Inc.
  • The Magic of Findhorn. Paul Hawken. 1976. Bantam Books.

 

  • Permaculture: A Spiritual Approach. Craig Gibsone and Jan Martin Bang.  2015. Findhorn Press. Findhorn, Scotland.
  • A Sand County Almanac: With Essays on Conservation from Round River. Aldo Leopold. 1949. Oxford University Press.
  • The One-Straw Revolution: An Introduction to Natural Farming. Masanobu Fukuoka. 1978. Rodale Press.
  • Scripture, Culture, and Agriculture. Ellen F. Davis. 2008. Cambridge University Press.
  • Agriculture: Spiritual Foundations for the Renewal of Agriculture.  Rudolf Steiner. 1993. Biodynamic Farming & Gardening Association
  • Earthdance: Living Systems in Evolution by Elisabet Sahtouris. 2000. iUniverse.
  • Gaia: A New Look at Life on Earth. James Lovelock. 1979. Oxford University Press.

 

Winter: Research

  • An Agricultural Testament.  Albert Howard. 1943. Oxford University Press.
  • Self-Reliance.  Ralph Waldo Emerson. 1841.
  • Gaia’s Garden: A Guide to Home-Scale Permaculture. Toby Hemenway. 2nd Edition. 2009. Chelsea Green Publishing Company.
  • Restoration Agriculture: Real-world Permaculture for Farmers. Mark Shepard. 2013. Acres U.S.A.

 

Spring:

  • My Work Is That of Conservation: An Environmental Biography of George Washington Carver. Mark D. Hersey. 2011. The University of Georgia Press.

 

Summer: Caring

  • The Holistic Orchard: Trees, Fruits and Berries the Biological Way. Michael Phillips. 2011. Chelsea Green Publishing Company.
  • Bringing Nature Home.  Douglas W. Tallamy. 2009. Timber Press.
  • Does It Matter?: Essays on Man’s Relation to Materiality. Alan Watts. 1970. Pantheon Books.
  • Beyond the War on Invasive Species: A Permaculture Approach to Ecosystem Restoration. Tao Orion. 2015. Chelsea Green Publishing.
  • The New Wild: Why Invasive Species Will Be Nature’s Salvation. Fred Pearce. 2016. Beacon Press. 

 Fall: Harvesting and Makin’ Medicine

 

 

Rethinking reason and the things I learned in college

  • Voltaire’s Bastards: The Dictatorship of Reason in the West.  By John Ralston Saul. 1992. The Free Press, Maxwell Macmillan International, New York, New York.
  • The Lost Language of Plants: The Ecological Importance of Plant Medicines to Life on Earth. Stephen Harrod Buhner. 2002. Chelsea Green Publishing.
  • Sacred Plant Medicine: The Wisdom in Native American Herbalism. Stephen Harrod Buhner. 1996. Roberts Rinhart.
  • The Secret Teachings of PlantsThe Direct Perception of Nature. Stephen Harrod Buhner. 2004. Bear and Company, Rochester, Vermont.

 

Additional Websites:

aldoleopold.org

 

2018… A year for writing

The sun smiles upon a pollinator garden near the greenhouse.

Anne and I will be periodically posting to our blogs on a wide range of topics. You’ll be able to search through these postings by clicking on our names and then a specific category (Herbal Medicine, Reiki, Do it for the pollinators!, Esoteric Leanings,  etc.). In addition to keeping our family and friends up-to-date on our passions we hope to connect with like-minded individuals to share information and provide support.