Packing Pollen, Packing Luggage


If the honeybees could name this Flower, they might agree with the humans and call it “Autumn Joy” Sedum as we do.

This time of year, they can’t get enough of it or the exuberant Applemint that takes over one of the Rose beds every September. Each spring, I hope to do a better job reining in the “invasive” plants, but then I get so busy and when the dust settles in late summer and the Applemint, Tansy, and Asters are everywhere, the honeybees seem glad that I didn’t have time to tidy up these mother loads of pollen and nectar.


I am glad that the bees enjoy the sprawling glory of the late summer gardens because there is always so much other stuff going on in the early fall here that the gardens get a bit wild by default. I have to leave the invasives to divide and multiply when the zillions of pears begin to fall off the pear trees and have to be harvested before they get too ripe, I even had more of a challenge than expected this season with keeping up with the produce that miraculously survived the Slug Wars.

This year in particular saw me packing Lizzy off to live in a cottage at a nearby farm. She is working for this farm and also here. This means that when someone named Elizabeth answers the phone here, it IS the Elizabeth who made our Camino collection of Flower Essences and now works to get the definitions for a second set that she made on the Camino this summer. All this is all good news for the farm! We are loving having her here on the phones, invoicing, bottling and shipping.

The second packing job involved getting Emily on her way back to college. She returned from her summer job at a camp on Cape Cod just long enough to pour her laundry onto the floor, sort it, wash it, and then pack up for her junior year. And yes, she was at the beach in Chatham when the great white shark ate the seal. When we call her these days, we start our conversations with our own rendition of the Jaws theme song. I guess I should just be glad she wasn’t eaten by this shark, but really I am spoiled enough to wish for more. like that her college curriculum took place in the gardens with me. Oh well.

This past week also saw us packing Will off for a camping trip that was part of starting high school. Mercifully, he came home to our nearly empty nest after just a few nights away.

Finally this week saw us packing Jess and Deb off to an Integrated Health Pet Expo in Boston. We haven’t done any shows in almost fifteen years but these two intrepid souls were game, so we went for it. Getting ready was a might process and I must say I waved Jess and Deb off the hilltop with a sigh of relief that I wasn’t going to be the one unloading the cargo at the Fitchburg Marriott .

Jess called from the show last night and sounded very cheery. They will be there all day if any of you in the Boston area and want to go meet them and see all the snazzy banners that Jess made. How much I appreciate the energy of Jess, Sophie, and Lizzie who now happily move mountains for us!

So back at the farm with the week’s orders on their way, I turned my attention to planting the garlic. This is a crop that has to go in during the fall for next season’s harvest. I also made a few more Essences and took some photos of a few Flowers that have eluded me until now, like the wonderful Bottle Gentian.


This photo begins to suggest Bottle Gentian’s great strength at helping us hold our power and see clearly even amidst forceful change, times of chaos, or situations in which we are challenged to know our own strength. It is even good for packing frenzies. I should know.

Really, there never is a moment in the gardens or the woods when I am not bowled over by the generous and ever PRACTICAL gifts of nature, there to help us through every sort of moment. Even in a summer of rain, slugs, and packing boxes, there is so much to be grateful for!

Frosting Alert

We have been wonderfully wildly busy in the office- and yesterday when the day was done and the last package out the door, I settled into an Adirondack chair in the perennial gardens to enjoy the beautiful fall light at the end of the day.

When Jim came out to find me, what I THOUGHT he said was, “There’s a frosting alert.”

I was so very pleased.

Here the guy had been in a classroom all day trying to tame a bunch of feral sixth graders AND YET he was embracing his inner domestic goddess and was going to make us a cake WITH FROSTING.

I sat there completely content. What had been a happy day in the office followed by a happy time in the gardens was going to be topped off with FROSTING. I was hoping for chocolate.

Then he elaborated, “No Molly, what I said was there’s a FROST warning for all of New Hampshire.”

Adirondack chairs are not the easiest things to leap out of, but I was airborne in a nano second and on my way to the rest of the gardens to start covering the red shiso with season extender cloth.

Yes the shiso lives. Thank you all for your kind words about my desperate measures to save the shiso with plastic cups. The update is that the slugs learned how to climb up the plastic cups to the shiso but not before the shiso was finally about six inches tall and somehow not as tender or desirable a food source anymore.

Still, this hasn’t been red shiso’s best year here and that’s putting it tactfully, so every last leaf counts- all twenty of them……

Anyways, back in the spring when I wasn’t expecting such a rainy, slug infested summer, I planted the whole vegetable garden in a mandala shaped like a big daisy. And a lot of the daisy petals are these diminutive red shiso plants. Not the easiest thing to cover- petal shaped beds.

Nonetheless, it was a gorgeous clear evening as I covered the red shiso- it is always beautiful the night before a frost or near frost- it’s those clear skies that open the way for what Jim calls “radiational cooling” and what I call… well it is best not to say what I call it.

I was almost, but not quite too busy to notice how beautiful it was. I had Angels to plead with talk to, heaps and heaps of season extender cloth to pull out of the barn and all sorts of rube goldberg patterns to make with this cloth in order to cover every last plant.


It was this sort of thing everywhere. Those of you who have been reading this blog for a few years will recognize how tiny the red shiso is compared with other years. Tiny but determined.

Anyways, I got up at five this morning to go out with a flashlight to see what sort of situation I had my hands on- and it was a balmy forty degrees. OH HAPPINESS! This gave me a day to laugh at my silly frosting-frost misunderstanding and feel smug about having the red shiso live to grow another day.

Only thing is, twenty four hours later I was sitting in the same Adirondack chair, enjoying the same view when I hear the very same words again from the very same man, “Frosting alert.”

So I am off again now, back to the gardens to cover my teensy tiny red shiso babies. And Jim? I can only hope he is in the kitchen making that cake!