A Plant A Day Till Spring – Day 61 – Brown-Eyed Susan

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“Brown-Eyed – Surrounded” – Summer 2013 – Frick Park – Pittsburgh, PA

“A Plant a Day till Spring” will highlight one plant a day, starting on the winter solstice (December 21, 2013)… And ending on the vernal equinox (March 20, 2014)… If all goes to plan I will be starting with old Snowdrop photos from 2013… And ending with new photos of Snowdrops in 2014…

One of my favorite wildflower memories from last year was a product of the photograph above… I was carefully working my way into a massive expanse of golden flowers in an attempt to take a few macros… Right around the time I got to the middle of the patch the wind started to pick up… As the flowers began to dance the feeding honeybees took flight… I guess since I was the only object not uncontrollably swaying in the wind… I became the preferred landing zone…

As I stood nervously covered in nervous honeybees… I suddenly became calm… The bees had no intentions of stinging me… They were just happy to have found a safe spot to rest until the wind relaxed… After a little while the wind relaxed long enough for the bees to resume their duties… It was right around this point that I came back to reality and realized I had a camera in my hand… I was kind of blown away at what had just happened… I took out the camera and snapped a single photograph of the expanse of flowers I was sitting in and made my way home… I had forgotten about that day until last night when I came across this photograph…

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Brown-Eyed Susan… Black-Eyed Susan… Any of the Rudbeckias really… Are very easy plants to grow… In fact… Wildflowers are some of the easiest… Specifically the types that flourish in full sun… These types of flowers are designed to thrive in neglect… Oftentimes surviving periods of extended drought without showing a single sign of stress… When someone responds to me by saying they do not have a green thumb… My reply is always look to nature for the answer…

Mother nature… Though she can be a huge bitch sometimes… She isn’t a stupid one… She has created plants for almost every climate on our planet… Now… I would be willing to bet that your garden matches at least one of those climates… Right… Armed with this information plant selection is only a few mouse clicks away…

I’m not sure what to say about this plant as far as the garden is concerned… It is perennial most of the time… I would go as far as calling it a tender perennial… Although it can survive most winters… A harsh winter will often kill it… Because of this Rudbeckia’s are voracious self-seeding plants… Each flower produces mass quantities of extremely viable seeds… This is basically the plants way of saying it will survive regardless of conditions…

Collection of seeds occurs in the fall… They can be sown on the surface of freshly prepared soil… I prefer to do this before the first snowfall… But it can also be done in the early spring… I prefer doing it before the snowfall because that is when it would happen in the forest… Like I said before… And will continue to say for the rest of my life… If you have a garden question… Ask nature before you ask anyone else… 9 out of 10 times you will find your answer… And experience something magical in the process…

plant petunias and question everything – chriscondello

If you want some science – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rudbeckia_triloba

These “Plant a Day Till Spring” posts are simply intended to kill time until spring when I start writing more… My source (where applicable) is Wikipedia.org… The photography is all my own… And I am adding my own information…

This website and all of the information presented within is provided free by the author… Me… It is my sole opinion and is not representative of anyone other than myself… You can contact me directly with questions at – c.condello@hotmail.com

Remember to tip… My Bitcoin digital wallet address is… 1JsKwa3vYgy4LZjNk4YmPEHFJNjPt2wDJj

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A Plant A Day Till Spring – Day 60 – Heal-All

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“Heal-All” – Summer 2013 – Frick Park – Pittsburgh, PA

“A Plant a Day till Spring” will highlight one plant a day, starting on the winter solstice (December 21, 2013)… And ending on the vernal equinox (March 20, 2014)… If all goes to plan I will be starting with old Snowdrop photos from 2013… And ending with new photos of Snowdrops in 2014…

Today is my birthday… But I prefer to think of it as my b-earth-day… And after 34 of them I can say without a doubt… I could live without them… But social conventions dictate I at least mention it… So yay for me…

Todays plant is the super sexy Prunella vulgaris… Though I prefer the common name “Heal-All”… I have also heard it called “Self-Heal”…

Heal-Al is not really one of those plants people take note of… It is rather small… The flowers are light-purple and insignificant… This plant will grow in almost condition… In fact… It is actually considered a weed in much of its range… Not exactly invasive… But when found growing in the garden 9 out of 10 people would pull it… And that’s why I chose it today… Because… That’s how I feel much of the time…

Heal-All is a magical plant… It is edible…It is a medicine… It has been utilized by Native-Americans throughout history… And yet 99% of us would step on it without even giving it a second thought…

I want to go on ahead and say I am not trying to suggest we do anything different… A plant growing where it is not supposed to grow is technically a weed… Heal-All also seems to actively spread seeds… When I find a patch of seedlings I rarely find just one… They grow in a thick mat wherever they germinate… And honestly… I pull it out all the time from clients properties… But I also strategically let some grow… It just takes a little bit of observation to pull the flowers off before they go to seed… Though the shallow rooted seedlings are easy to pull…

That’s it… Like I said… It’s my birthday and I have things to do…

plant petunias and question everything – chriscondello

If you want some science – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prunella_vulgaris

These “Plant a Day Till Spring” posts are simply intended to kill time until spring when I start writing more… My source (where applicable) is Wikipedia.org… The photography is all my own… And I am adding my own information…

This website and all of the information presented within is provided free by the author… Me… It is my sole opinion and is not representative of anyone other than myself… You can contact me directly with questions at – c.condello@hotmail.com

Remember to tip… My Bitcoin digital wallet address is… 1JsKwa3vYgy4LZjNk4YmPEHFJNjPt2wDJj

Get your own wallet at CoinBase.com

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A Plant A Day Till Spring – Day 59 – Datura

moonflower

“Sacred Datura” – Summer 2013 – Whitney Avenue – Wilkinsburg, PA

“A Plant a Day till Spring” will highlight one plant a day, starting on the winter solstice (December 21, 2013)… And ending on the vernal equinox (March 20, 2014)… If all goes to plan I will be starting with old Snowdrop photos from 2013… And ending with new photos of Snowdrops in 2014…

Datura wrightii… Better known as “Sacred Datura” or “Moonflower” is a highly poisonous perennial plant native to southwestern North America… It grows like a bush… Mine grow to 6′ tall… The stems are thick and the leaves have a blueish tint to them…

The plants common name “Moonflower” is a product of the fact that it is a night bloomer… The blossoms open right after nightfall and remain open until shortly after sunrise… Because of this the plant is pollinated by nocturnal moths in its native range… Though here in Pittsburgh the flowers last long enough into the morning to be pollinated by the morning bees…

Disclaimer – Datura is extremely poisonous… Although it will get you high… It will also kill you… I do not recommend consumption in any form…

The plants other common name “Sacred Datura” is a product of the plants hallucinogenic qualities… Datura contains the chemical Scopalamine… And although it will give you auditory and visual hallucinations… The actual levels vary from plant to plant… And even within different parts of a single plant… Coupled with the very low onset time of the effects… And the rather low dose required to be lethal… This plant is far more dangerous than it is fun… Just to put this in perspective… Around 20 teenagers a year are treated in Florida hospitals for Datura poisoning…

This plant was originally given to me by a good friend… I was handed a cardboard box of bare-root seedlings that had just been pulled from their garden… I planted a few in my own garden… Planted a few in front of the abandoned houses on the street… I even planted some in front of Nana’s house down the street…

Datura is a voracious self-seeder… Spiky (chestnut-like) seed pods begin to appear towards the end of summer… These pods grow to be around the size of a tangerine… Eventually they will begin to split… Then they explode… This explosion sends seeds far and wide… This is great as far as my abandoned house gardens are concerned… And as far as I am concerned I would rather look at Datura than mow grass… But as far as the ornamental garden is concerned… Well lets just say exploding seed pods is a less than desirable quality…

Dealing with the exploding seed issue is actually quite simple… I harvest my seed pods before they have a chance to explode… If I forget one and it starts to pop… I will place a paper bag over it before I pull it off the plant… This catches the seeds… I personally store the seed pods in paper bags over the winter… They will all pop after they dry out… Come spring all I have to do is separate the seeds from the pods which can be done by hand… The seeds can then be broadcasted wherever you desire…

plant petunias and question everything – chriscondello

If you want some science – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Datura_wrightii

These “Plant a Day Till Spring” posts are simply intended to kill time until spring when I start writing more… My source (where applicable) is Wikipedia.org… The photography is all my own… And I am adding my own information…

This website and all of the information presented within is provided free by the author… Me… It is my sole opinion and is not representative of anyone other than myself… You can contact me directly with questions at – c.condello@hotmail.com

Remember to tip… My Bitcoin digital wallet address is… 1JsKwa3vYgy4LZjNk4YmPEHFJNjPt2wDJj

Get your own wallet at CoinBase.com

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Practical Permaculture – Changing Spiritual Energy Through Gardening

moonflower

“Moonflower” – © chriscondello 2011 – Whitney Avenue – Wilkinsburg, PA – A night flowering plant… Highly hallucinogenic in the right quantity… Deadly poisonous in the wrong quantity… Can be very dangerous around children… Almost always resulting in fatal consequences… But I have to say the night blooming qualities of this plant… Coupled with the sweet scent… Makes it one of the more powerful plants as far as my garden is concerned…

Allow me to trip out on a topic for a moment here… Energy… Good energy… Bad energy… Natural energy… I believe it is all around us… We all can perceive these energy fields… But most of us are in such a damn big hurry every day that we simply don’t take the time out of our day to listen… Personally… I perceive them as waves… When those waves flow together… Harmony and peace are created… But when those waves work against each other… Dissonance and strife result…

I noticed this energy as a child… But having used heroin for the better part of my adult life I only recently started feeling the waves again… About a year ago I started to notice my perception of them was getting stronger… Almost hyper aware… Sometimes physically debilitating and rarely pleasant… I was actually pulling the weeds out of an old garden located in the backyard of a hundred year old house that is now apartments… I remember getting dizzy… And then physically ill… I had goose bumps… And was absolutely positive I was coming down with some horrible sickness… Interestingly… When I walked back into the alley… The feeling went away almost immediately… I smoked a cigarette… Drank some water… And went right back to work…

Now… I’m aware that this makes me seem like a crazy man… In retrospect… Everyone thinks I’m crazy already… But the moment I walked back into that particular backyard the sickening feelings came right back… As if they never left… I could feel waves of energy colliding into each other… They were coming from every direction without a rhyme or reason… Almost incoherently… The only thing that I could comprehend from my experience in that moment was that something really bad had happened on that property… Or something really bad was going to happen on the property… Either way… I left immediately…

The entire experience of that day left me searching for the energy again… Everywhere I went for the better part of two months all I did was search… Interestingly… I found what I was searching for everywhere I went… The problem was no longer finding the energy… But figuring out a way to stop feeling the energy so I could avoid going crazy… I soon realized now that the door was open… It could not be closed… So if I couldn’t get rid of the feelings… I would have to change the negative energy… To good energy… And the only way I could possibly comprehend doing this… Is with gardening… After all… Gardening is the only language I really speak well…

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“Zion” – © chriscondello 2013 – Whitney Avenue – Wilkinsburg, PA – The type of flowers that you plant in a spiritual garden are not important… What is important is that the flowers you choose raise your spirit… If a flower makes you feel good… Than it is positively affecting your spiritual energy… Which in turn positively affects the energy around you… And that my friends… Is the sum of what a spiritual garden actually is…

So where does this energy come from?.. I personally believe it is created through the interactions of life and death… The physical and the metaphysical… Both posses the potential of good and evil… And both are present around us at all times… Although I believe we are intended to perceive these energy waves… I think most of us simply don’t take the time to learn how to perceive them… Yet alone understand them…

If a human being is murdered… Does that act of violence leave an impression in the energy fields surrounding the location?.. I believe it does… Furthermore… When an extreme act of kindness occurs… Does that leave an equally strong impression of a different type?.. And if it does… How do these energy fields react with each other?.. Beyond that… Can I change a bad energy field?.. And can I change it through gardening… Something I personally consider a highly spiritual activity… My answer is yes!.. Of course I can…

Humans are not the only living organism in our environment that give off energy… Plants and trees do as well… I have felt that energy for years… I had never even thought twice about it until I started to prepare to write this post… And for the most part… Plants all give off good energy… The only time I have noticed a plant giving off bad energy was when it was suffering from a problem… Only after I remediate the problem in the plant does the energy change back into a good field… Gardening sometimes makes me feel like a god in this sense… After all… I can fix just about anything nature throws at a plant or tree… It’s you pesky humans that are tough to figure out… Always talking back… Giving lip… My plants don’t do that…

Now… I’m not claiming to be able to change the future… But I am claiming to be able to change the energy of a particular location through the act of gardening… Not just the look of the space… But the energy of the space… I have no references… I have no degree… I simply have the ability to feel the waves of energy in a particular location… And change them when necessary… Which if you live in a community like Wilkinsburg… A community that has been plagued in violence for the better part of the last 25 years… Changing the metaphysical energy of the entire borough is of paramount concern…

The particular mood of a communities people can be directly related to the conditions of the environment that surrounds them… If a group of people are living in a neighborhood full of abandoned houses and blight… The energy they give off will typically be negative… If the cause of the negativity is remediated… Then the energy will begin to convert… One persons negative energy has an equal effect on the people surrounding them… I can walk up to someone… And immediately feel the energy coming off of them… I often am planning my greeting based on those intuitions alone… And to be completely honest… I’m spot on 9 out of 10 times…

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“Climbing Higher” – © chriscondello 2013 – Whitney Avenue – Wilkinsburg, PA – A spiritual plant for many people… And a visual aspect of many religions around the world… They just make me feel right… They remind me of the past…

As an interesting side note… When I was still using heroin… I was told more than once that I gave off dark energy… Often described as appearing brown or black… At the time… I thought they were the crazy ones… Now that I have had time to reflect… I now notice it on other people when walking in the street… Almost as if I can see someones intentions without ever actually speaking to them… Though I must say… I have to be careful judging people before I have had a chance to meet them… It is just not fair… And I am not sure these intuitions are even close to reality…

So I am going to go on ahead and just say that these energy fields are real… And I am not crazy… And it is absolutely possible to change an energy field through gardening… Obviously any garden will do… Often… Just cleaning an area is enough to begin to change the spiritual feeling an otherwise blighted area may give off…

Using my neighborhood as an example… This street used to be a rough stretch of houses… 24 total homes… 12 abandoned and boarded up… The kids were so bad that they regularly chased residents out of the neighborhood… Then an artist from Wilkinsburg spearheaded a project painting boards to be placed on the abandoned homes… This project happened to coincide with my girlfriend and I moving onto the street… The boards were painted by community members and hung on the abandoned houses by the DPW… I did the landscaping with the help of some of the neighborhood children… And a neighborhood that at one time was considered too dangerous to walk down… Had become a small front porch community that is still a great neighborhood for children… And still for the most part… gives off good vibes…

Although I believe that the simple act of cleaning up an area is enough to begin to change bad energy to good energy… I think some plants posses certain qualities that will benefit not only you as a person… But the energy fields that surround you as well… After all… As permaculturists… We do not just garden for the physical yields associated with our plants… But also for the metaphysical yield…

Any flowering plant has the ability to enhance a positive energy field… Bright colors… Especially white… draw the eye and lift the spirit… If a plant has a positive impact on your spirits… Then it can be thought of as changing your energy… For me this is all plants… But what about nighttime?.. After the sun goes down… This for me… Is when most of my demons come knocking… This is often when I notice the most negative energy in the air surrounding me… Well… At least until I started growing Datura… Or more commonly called… Moonflowers… Which bloom as the sun goes down… And emitting a wonderfully alien scented fragrance… When a moonflower is blooming in your yard… It is rather difficult to think of anything negative… Especially when you are cast under the magical spell that the scent of Datura can have on a human…

Aromatic herbs are another plant I would consider for altering energy fields… Basil… Oregano… Lavender… Chamomile… Thyme… All poses spiritual properties that have often been used in rituals for thousands of years… A book on the subject would probably be more specific… But to date as I am writing this… I have never researched this subject at all… Again… This post is simply off the top of my head… I have no resources here…

Off the top of my head… Some plants that are supposed to have magical properties… Monkshood, ash, aspen, beech, black walnut, cedar, cherry, chestnut, daisy, dogwood, elder, elm, ginger, hawthorn (My favorite tree), hazel, hellebores, holly, larch, laurel, lovage, mandrake, maple, nettle, pear, mint, pine, privet, pumpkin, rose, rue, sage, sneezewort, valerian, willow, wormwood and yew… If you want more details on any of these… Google them with the words “spiritual or magical properties… Though I would like to stress that this list is very short… I could very easily argue the spiritual properties of any plant I have ever come into contact with… After all… I do not just put plants in the ground… I thoroughly introduce myself to each one… And make sure I have given it a home… Not just a hut… Any properly planted plant will look healthy… And therefore… Give off good energy…

I’m sure if I had taken the time to research this post… I probably would of found a bunch of books and websites dedicated to the “actual design of a spiritual garden”… I’m sure these books have rules… And special plants… And that is all fine and dandy… I’m not trying to discount that in any way… But what I am saying is simply this… If a garden makes YOU feel good… If it raises your spirits… Or anyone around you for that matter… Then that garden is effectively changing energy fields… I think it is safe to assume that if a garden has the ability to lift your spirit… And alter your mood… Then that garden obviously is having an effect on the energy fields around you… Not just within you…

plant petunias and question everything – chriscondello

If  you found this website to be helpful, please consider purchasing one of my photographic prints available here – http://society6.com/chriscondello – The information available on my site is free… As it will always be… At one time I had considered asking for donations… But I just couldn’t do it… I thought at least this way I could make a product available… If you see a photograph in this site that you would like a print of… Please just ask – c.condello@hotmail.com – Thank you

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