Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Horticultural Therapy ~ Linking People and Plants~ "Plants, not pills"

"You can bury a lot of troubles digging in the dirt".

Donna Covais, the ONLY registered Horticultural Therapist in Vermont!

In 1980, I studied with Alice Wessels Burlingame in Pontiac, Michigan.  She was a pioneer in the field of Horticultural Therapy and was a fabulous mentor.  She wrote the book: Hoe for Health.

I find The Song Garden to be a place of healing and peace.  I started the garden when my father passed away...I needed to 'bury a lot of troubles and sorrow in the dirt'...Without Dad, I felt I would float away and I needed something to anchor me, emotionally.  The garden has been my anchor and my sanctuary. 

In the 1950s, Alice Wessels Burlingame significantly advanced the field of horticultural therapy. In 1952 she formed a small workshop for those interested in using plant material to make others well. From this grew a nine-year study for the deaf, blind, and geriatrics to determine their needs. The findings resulted in Mrs. Burlingame’s publication, Therapy Through Horticulture. Her second book, Hoe for Health, contains research of her 25 years in horticultural therapy. 

I would also like to add:  She had me over to her apartment for lunch during my internship, and my friend, Teena, and I were delighted with the delicious soup that Alice prepared for us on the spot.  She simply poured a can of Campbell's Tomato soup into a pot, heated it with a can of milk, added crumbled up pre-cooked hamburger that she happened to have in the fridge, and served it to us with a dollop of Sour Cream!  Honestly, it was a memorably delicious lunch!  

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

How to make a grapevine wreath with dried flowers.

It's been a very crafty Thanksgiving Weekend with friends and family.  We made the traditional Clove Oranges, of course, and we got out all the supplies for making Grapevine Wreaths...with flowers that we dried from The Song Garden, plus pine cones from the ground and some moss and fixin's that we bought from our suppliers. 

Gather up a grapevine wreath, dried flowers/moss/botanicals, or what have you, and fasten them onto the wreath with glue from a Glue Gun! If you wish, add ribbon, make a bow, spray wreath with scented potpourri fragrance ( and you're done! Hang it as a wreath on a door or wall, indoors or out...or place it horizontally and add a hurricane lamp shade and candle and you have a wonderful centerpiece. Choose the colors depending on the season you'd like to celebrate!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Check out our page of photos of Mount Ascutney, in Vermont, and the Cornish, NH ~ Windsor, VT Covered Bridge (the longest covered bridge in the United States).

It's on the way to and from the Garden and Dan takes a picture from the same guard rail post almost every day, and has been doing this for years!!!  Follow the wheel of the changing year on this blog.  Dan says: "You can't have a Song Garden if you don't stay 'In Tune' with the EARTH"!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Thanksgiving Decoupage Mason Jar Leaf Luminaries!!! Spent the day with my sister and she showed me how to make her special candle holders. So easy! So Pretty!

Decoupage Luminaries

Craft Glue
Paint Brush
Leaves/Potpourri Botanicals
Mason Jars
White Tissue Paper
Tea Light or Votive Candles

~Brush the glue on the mason jar
~Place leaves and botanicals on the glue
~Cover with white tissue paper
~Brush the glue on the tissue paper

These will take a couple of days to dry.
When dry, you can place your candle in the jar, light it and place the jar on your dinner table.  Beautiful and simple.

I have to say that I had a wonderfully relaxing, almost meditative time making about 5 of these with my sister today.  We talked about everything under the sun while making some very pretty crafts that will be used for her Thanksgiving table.  Homemade feels so good.

Before and After

It takes a lot of work to have a mostly Annuals flower garden of this size:  62' by 70'.

                                                   Before:  (June 1st)

After:  (Aug. 30th)

Putting the garden to bed:

Planting 3,000 seedlings in the spring takes about 10 days and then pulling 3,000 plants in the late Autumn takes about 3 days.

Putting The Garden To Bed This Week

Three quarters of the garden:  Annuals
One quarter of the garden:  Perennials

Pulling all the Annuals and cutting back all the Perennials.
We will re- cover the rows with fresh landscape fabric.  We love landscape fabric, as it really does keep down the weeds.  Our rows are 70' feet long and 4 feet wide. Lucky to have this warm weather for our outdoor work.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

You don't need to be Martha Stewart to create a very comfy home brimming with warmth, love, and tradition. Homemade Grapevine Wreaths...

Been having a bit of the Empty Nest Syndrome around these parts I've decided to banish that feeling, realizing that this nest is not empty!  It's still a nest, it's just filling up with different things these days...and the little birds fly back and forth from their nests to mine it's all good!  I have one word for those feeling the empty nest blues:  CRAFTS!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

How to Make Pomander Oranges with Whole Cloves for Thanksgiving and Holiday Gifts and Decorations

'Tis the season for gatherings of family and friends!
Our family has a tradition of making Pomander Oranges as we sit together after a glorious holiday meal.  It's a great way to spend time together, chatting and laughing, as we all create our own little Pomander masterpieces.  The scent of fresh oranges and cloves is heavenly.

Supplies needed:
  • A Bag of Juice Oranges (Navel)
  • Whole Cloves (buy in bulk online~you will save lots of money that way. The small glass jars of whole cloves in the grocery stores are much too expensive! My big tip:   for Whole Cloves @ $11/lb. )
  • Toothpicks (Small Nail or Pushpin)
  • Red, Green, or Gold Ribbon
  • Simply poke a hole in the orange with the toothpick or nail 
  • and then push a clove into the hole!  It's that simple!  You can cover the entire orange in cloves (like my great  grandmother would do ~ only she did it with her bare thumbs!  OUCH!) or you can make swirls or other artistic designs.
~Tie a ribbon around the orange when it's finished and hang it in your closet or anywhere!
~Fill up a bowl with the finished oranges for a lovely table centerpiece.  
~Place the  orange in a drawer and use it as a sachet to add a sweet fragrance to your undergarments!  
~Makes a very thoughtful holiday gift for a dear friend/relative.  
~If you are making these pomanders as an activity at a party, each guest can take his/her orange home with them as a remembrance of the special time spent with you.

This is a very simple, EASY project that your family and guests will LOVE to do.  

Here are some pics of several of my family members having a fun conversation after a wonderful Thanksgiving meal last year (2010) while making the 'traditional' and much anticipated "Clove Oranges", as well refer to them!