Monday, June 22, 2009

Exhibit of Edible Plants in San Francisco

A Cacao Pod

Many food items that we take for granted today, have a very interesting history. I love studying the origins of such things as chocolate, vanilla, sugar, spices etc. I collect books on the cultural history of plant foods and ingredients.

So this new exhibit at the Conservatory of Flowers called Edible Expeditions, running from May 7 to November 1, 2009, is 'right up my alley'. I can't wait to get on my feet again, so I can go see it.

It features all kinds of foods which were originally from Asia or the 'New World' (North and South America) that were brought back to Europe centuries ago. Some became the products of plantation agriculture and thus played a huge role in the decimation of native populations, which led to the importation of slaves. Foods that we commonly eat today were once only available to royalty and the rich.

To see them growing in the 'tropical' climate of a lovely Victorian greenhouse, originally built in 1879, is in many ways a miracle. For most of us, this is the only way we will ever see them growing.

Since I lived in the Congo while in the Peace Corps, I got used to seeing papayas and mangos in the trees outside my window. People would just reach up and pick them, like we would grab an apple off a tree. It was great.

When I lived in Louisiana, I had bananas growing outside, hanging over my swimming pool. As a native Californian, I was thrilled to eat my own homegrown bananas.

At this exhibit, you will see vanilla, chocolate and coffee as well as taro, jackfruit and longan. You will see other edible plants from Africa, China, India and Brazil as well.

The Conservatory of Flowers is in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco. Click here for more information about this exhibit.

I have developed a new line of products using chocolate, which is very good for your skin when used externally. It is high in anti-oxidants and cocoa butter is lubricating and softening. I have a chocolate walnut sugar scrub, a chocolate lip balm, chocolate mermaid soap (see my Etsy shop) and a chocolate body butter in a tube.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Healing With Flowers Conference Coming in September

Another wonderful event coming up for those of you who love flowers, energy healing, aromatherapy, and flower essences. The event includes workshops and ceremony.

Healing With Flowers Conference

Rowe Conference Center
Rowe, MA
September 25 - 27, 2009

Steve Johnson, founder of the Alaskan Flower Essence Project, will be our special guest and keynote speaker.

Other presenters include:

Jane Bell, Jane Bell Essences.

David Dalton, Delta Gardens.

Carole Guyett, Derrynagittah Herb Centre.

Kathrin Woodlyn Bateman, Flower Essences of Fox Mountain.

Tony Lemos, Blazing Star Herbal School.

Fearn Lickfield, geomancer and flower essence practitioner.

Jasmine Hurtak, plant spirit healer and flower essence practitioner.

Pam Montgomery, Partner Earth Education Center and Sweetwater Sanctuary Essences.

Mark Carlin, Partner Earth Education Center will lead a sweat lodge ceremony.

For details and registration information visit:

Healing With Flowers Conference

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Vanilla Orchid Blooming at the SF Conservatory of Flowers

In a couple of weeks it will officially be summer. Hopefully I will be out of my cast and able to get outside. (I broke my ankle 6 weeks ago and have not been outside since then).

My garden has been neglected, only getting watered once a week by a friend. I miss my plants so much.

I receive email from the San Francisco Conservatory of Flowers. For those of you who can get there and love flowers and exotic plants, it's a must see. Since it is a large greenhouse, they can control the environment and so grow rare and exotic plants from all over the world. It's fantastic.

Right now the vanilla orchid is blooming and what I wouldn't give to see it. To read more about the edible fruit of the vanilla orchids and their culinary uses, click I use vanilla in my B.A.D. cordial. It has a way of softening and relaxing. Vanilla absolute, is quite expensive, but you don't have to use much. A Vanilla 'substitute' that I also use in perfumes and salves is Tonka Bean. It has a similar scent although milder and is affordable. I use this in my new Sacred Substance flower essence spray, part of my new 2012 line of products. I have made a flower essence blend called 2012 and the scented spray Sacred Substance. For more on 2012, go to my 2012 blog.

I feel that one issue that we all must deal with is learning to relax and soften. I know there are so many events going on that are causing us fear and stress, but as Caroline Casey says we need to slow down in order to speed up. For more on astrology, go to my astrology blog.

For culinary recipes using vanilla click

And for recipes from Sunset magazine with a Hawaiian theme, click

Speaking of Hawaii and relaxing, Jane Bell is giving a workshop this Saturday, June 13 featuring her new Hawaiian Flower Essences. Click here to go to her website.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

My Victory Garden

This year I decided that I would put more effort into growing food. I have had more or less success with that over the years for a number of reasons. I live in a redwood forest with only a small area that is cleared. The soil is clay and since I live in a canyon, I don't get much sun.

That being said, I decided to start my plants and seeds early in my small greenhouse. Everything was ready to go into the ground. I went away for a weekend training in Plant Spirit Healing with Pam Montgomery and broke my ankle.

Since then, five weeks ago, I have only been outside once to go to the doctor. I am stuck in the house because I can't get down the stairs of my porch, nor walk with crutches on soil.

My plants are marooned in the greenhouse. I won't be able to plant them for another 3 weeks or so.

Meanwhile, my roses are blooming like never before in the front yard. I feel they are sending me healing energy, calming me down and telling me not to worry. Usually by this time of the year, it is so hot that the gardens need watering twice a day. Right now, at 2:30 pm it is still overcast. It rained yesterday and is generally cold outside. The great thing about this is that my garden is not burning up while I am in here not able to do anything about it. It's as if the weather is cooperating to keep my plants hydrated.

Since I embarked on this journey of Plant Spirit Healing, everything has shifted. I have had to cancel many of the events where I planned to sell my herbal products. I am not sure where this will lead and I am not 'thinking' about it. I am instead listening. Listening for instructions. Eliminating the static whenever possible.

On the Herbal Highway today seaweed was featured, then on the Visionary Activist show, the talk on renewal resources - biofuels etc, featured seaweed. So the message for today is clearly about seaweed. I need to eat more seaweed.

Of the products I make and sell here through Etsy, my Sea Witch Salve includes an infused oil of Fucus I made from seaweed I gathered on the Sonoma Coast near where I live. The Hammam bars (soap) have seaweed in them too. Seaweed has so many uses both externally and internally. It is a wonderful natural fertilizer too. You can pick up all that dried up old 'dead' stuff on the beach and bury it in your yard for fertilizer. Traditional cultures all over the world have done this for centuries.