How did the Bermuda Flower Essences come to be? I owe it all to Lynn Tidman.
I met Lynn at a party in 1991. She was a willowy blonde, fifteen years older than me and very put together in a rather patrician sort of way. After being introduced, I expected to only briefly chat with Lynn, but the host of the party, Malcolm Grobe, asked me to tell Lynn about how I gardened. I started in with a vague description about fairies and the like. I expected the conversation to go nowhere, yet an entranced Lynn kept asking more and more and more questions.
The party was next door to the farm. The hostess, Teddy Grobe, didn’t have the food organized, so she asked me to take the guests for a tour of our gardens. As we wandered the gardens, Lynn had a million more questions. I remember her leaning in to me, sporting her signature light blue cardigan and asking again and again, “WHAT did you just say?” At the end of the tour, she wrote her name and address on a piece of paper and told me she wanted to learn more and would take ANY class I gave. This was followed by a postcard in the mail bearing the same message. The woman was on a mission!
All this surprised me very much, and Lynn would continue to surprise me. Right away, she had her own connection with the Angels and Elementals, and she took at once to life working with them. After Lynn took a class with me, she created an astoundingly beautiful and magic vegetable garden with her new partners. Then with time to spare, she began to spend several days a week here at the farm. She was, in fact, my first hire which meant I had no idea what I was doing and Lynn had to patiently wait for me get my sea legs as an employer.
When Lynn came aboard there was no office. We ran the business out of my kitchen which meant Lynn was suddenly in the middle of my life with three then four little children. She loved the scene, every funny moment of mess and chaos. Her own children, who became beloved friends as well, were older, and Lynn missed little people.
As our first bottler, Lynn bottled our Flower Essences with a measuring cup. However by the time we built our first bottling machine, I had discovered her lovely handwriting. From then on, she was our “Lady of Labels.” Lynn would go on to write literally millions of labels for us over the next two and a half decades.
Lynn had no problem working in the middle of our family life. In fact, when we finally built our first building dedicated to the Flower Essences, she was devastated to be removed from the kitchen. Almost at once she had become a grandmother to my children and a dear friend to me.
From the beginning Lynn could see the Angels, especially the weather Angels with whom she had a particularly deep rapport. Lynn’s extremely preppy looks made her like a secret agent in the worlds she travelled in. No one expected her to work with Angels to move clouds around or stave off storms, yet she had these abilities and was happy to demonstrate.
Over time, people would call her to make sure their daughter had good weather on her wedding day or a graduation wasn’t rained out. She always delivered. At one wedding, I saw her hold off the most enormous cloud bank for several hours. Sometimes we would discuss the advisability of messing with weather this way, but she was fearless about the consequences. She and these weather Angels were ever simpatico, so what did I really know about it? Nothing.
Because she looked like a lady who slept with her pearls on, she opened spiritual doors for all sorts of people who might otherwise not have listened. She was a new Age seeker without a whiff of patchouli and very happy to tell people at the meat counter at her local grocery store ALL about what she was experiencing. When Lynn was sharing her experiences, you could almost see the wheels turning in her targeted audience. People were both wildly surprised that seemingly conventional Lynn was talking about gnomes and also a little bit intrigued. Her credibility went to a good cause.
Lynn also had an incredible rapport with dogs. All dogs. Our goldens, Cody, Riley and MayMay would greet her when she arrive for work with moans of adoration. Cody especially went nuts. “Lovers in a past life”, Lynn always said. With her connection to canines, Lynn helped us sort out what was going on with countless beloveds and always knew the Flower Essences that would help most. She was an animal communicator before we knew the name for this calling. Needless to say, her life at home was filled with rescues devoted to her.
Before we even knew each other Lynn invited me to go out to Bermuda with her for a week. She later said that it had surprised her when the invitation came pouring out. How glad I was to be the recipient of a very rare Lynn blurt. She had grown up on Bermuda and had very British manners so this sort of spontaneous invite was unknown to her. During the decade preceding Lynn’s invite, my main trips had been to either the diaper pail or the compost heap , so I was thrilled to leave the children in Jim’s care and hit the skies with Lynn.
How I loved Bermuda from the moment we first landed. The houses were playful bright colors compared to drab New England’s barn red and white, and each was capped by a serene whitewashed roof. The whole island was one big garden with Flowers blooming everywhere in orderly profusion. The beaches really did have pink sands, and the water was as beguiling and luscious as any water I had ever encountered. I was in bliss.
Lynn’s childhood had been a wonderful one of motor boats, sail boats, tennis, dogs, dances, ferry rides to school and one crabby teacher named Mrs. Cuppleditch whom she and her classmates called Mrs Cupplewitch. Lynn’s mother still lived on Bermuda, but she was in poor health. Lynn came out to Bermuda frequently to check in to see how things were going for her mom and to sort out any problems. I was happy to go along for the ride.
While Lynn had grown up in a house on Hamilton’s harbor, her mother had later moved out to a house adjoining Mid Ocean Golf Club. This was a more rural part of the island, providing plenty of places for us to walk. Most mornings we would roll out of bed and onto the golf course for a brisk walk around all the holes. Sometimes we went out to Frick’s Point where Ross Perot was blowing up a coral reef. Then after an enormous bowl of oatmeal, always oatmeal, we would set off on errands and visits to Lynn’s many friends. All of them had beautiful old Bermudian houses AND GORGEOUS GARDENS.
As far as I could tell people we met fell into two categories. They were either lifelong friends of Lynn whom she had always called Aunt and Uncle or they were women who had been in her enormous Bermuda wedding. As I recall, there were seven horse carriages that took Lynn and her attendants to her Bermuda wedding. All of her friends were more than open minded about our adventures with the Angels and Elementals and equally happy to have us wander in their gardens, chatting to the resident Angels and Elementals. Lifelong Bermudians all seemed to have had their own close encounters with things on the other side of the veil, and our stories seemed to confirm what they already knew.
Almost from the first blossom we saw, we knew it would be fabulous to make Flower Essences from these new tropical Flower friends. We sourced canning jars and got to work. Lynn’s friends were incredibly interested and supportive. If a Palm tree was in bloom over an al fresco luncheon, our hostess would find a ladder so we could pluck its blossoms. Phone calls would come from friends telling us of a Flower we just had to see. No matter when we stopped in, Lynn’s friends would take us at once to see Flowers they thought we would be interested in. So many Flowers were hidden in grottos and old gardens we never would have found on our own. Once we were taken to a grove of ancient Grapefruit trees well off the beaten track. That was a sacred encounter.
I had so much to learn about the tropical and semi-tropical Flowers of the beautiful islands that made up Bermuda. There was so much vitality and life force in these Flowers. Pomegranate Flower Essence proved to be a powerhouse for women. Avocado and Loquat brought deep healing energies to the digestive tract. All the citrus including Lime, Lemon, Orange and Grapefruit had strong cleansing and healing energies. Cotton was fabulous for hair. These new Essences found a place in our collection immediately, and it was hard to imagine life without them.
As we wandered in the gardens, plants would call to us. Sometimes it was dizzying how many new friends we met. Shell Ginger spoke of cooling firestorms as did so many of the Aloes we found including Aloe Ciliaris, Coral Aloe and Aloe Vera. Kangaroo Apple lit up the chakras above our heads. Chinese Hat Plant centered and calmed. Clitoria surprised us with its dramatic energy that zipped up our chakras like a kundalini rising. And the Palms (including Date Palm and Chinese Fan Palm)! There wasn’t a Palm we met that didn’t offer a profound healing energy.
The gardens we had access to were curated gardens that included the very best tropical and semi tropical Flowers all waiting for us to discover. These beloved gardens had often been in the same family for several hundred years and had been lovingly cultivated all that time. Some gardens felt like something out of a fairy tale, others had energies I had never encountered anywhere else.
In between visits I read everything I could about tropical and semi tropical Flowers. One of Lynn’s aunts had literally written the book about Bermuda gardens. Her book remains a treasure in my life. When we were in this aunt’s gardens she would sit with us and identify all the Flowers we had found, often leafing through her book to share more information about a specimen. Her twenty five acre garden was one of my most magic and wonderful places I have ever visited. I was stunned by the wise and ancient presence of the spiritual beings we encountered in all these gardens, but I especially hold dear the experiences I had with the Nature Spirits in this particular garden.
When I developed photos from my trips, the Nature Spirits were often visible as big bold spots of light obscuring the scene. Not all Nature Spirits could fit in a photo. Some of the guardian spirits towered over us and their garden sanctuaries, rising several stories high. Bermuda is a special place for Flowers AND Nature Spirits with deep links to the very best of Atlantean Flower research and development.
We always ended our Flower filled days with tea at one of the old fashioned and wonderfully comfortable resorts on the island. Lynn of course would know everyone, so we were always welcomed everywhere. During one tea time at a resort run by a friend, we noticed a particularly dramatic Flower and set to work lowering its long dangling blossoms into our ready jar. Looking up from our task, we noticed we had gathered a shocked crowd of Brits wondering exactly what unseemly thing we were doing with tweezers. We hardly got to Lynn’s car before bursting into wild laughter.
Lynn invited me along on trips several times each year until her mom died. This meant we could make different Flower Essences during different seasons as even on Bermuda, Flowers didn’t bloom year round. We also read up on Flowers in between trips and created a master list of Flower Essences we wanted to make on any given trip.
As we learned about the strengths of various tropical Flowers we began to seek out specific Flowers for specific things. The scene at the resort had been part of our project to finds Flowers that would help Lynn’s husband with his prostate, kidney and bladder issues. We called this our search for “P” plants. We found that plants with long fuzzy blossoms like Monkey Tail and Screw Pine or Flowers like bottle brushes including Bottlebrush and Calliandra helped open up passageways in the urinary tract. Later we would learn these Flower Essences got things flowing everywhere, and they would be key ingredients in our powerhouse Flow Free Flower Essence mix. These “P” Flowers were much more prevalent on Bermuda than in our more temperate climate.
Lynn as a proper Bermudian would never have been more graphic about things than discreetly saying “P” plant. In fact, once I had a very mysterious and magical encounter at night with some Bermudian Angels and Lynn, though asleep, was with me in this out of body tour of the island. She only believed the story when I told her that her main preoccupation during the evening was whether her nightgown was sliding up while the Angels were flying us around the island. “That sounds like me.” She laughed.
Laughter was the main ingredient of our trips. For so many reasons these adventures on Bermuda filled us with joy and laughter. We climbed on top of buildings and stood on the roof of Lynn’s car to look at blossoms. We went out in tropical storms to look at blossoms. We leaned way, way over rocky cliff edges to look at blossoms. And all the time we were laughing.
After a long illness Lynn died last week. I am so glad for her release from a very difficult situation. I am also so very grateful that she listened to that little voice within pressing her to find out more about gardening with Angels and Elementals and pressing her to take a chance on an unknown houseguest at her Bermuda home. We had so much fun, and we made an amazing collection of Flower Essences together. Not a bad legacy for a friendship. Thank you Lynn.