Monday, September 01, 2014

Late Summer Dandelioness Herbals Community Health Update

Happy Late Summer!  I love this time of year, with all the abundant harvests of food and medicine.  Sorting through what we want to and can accomplish, and letting go of the rest.  Trusting that what we haven't harvested ourselves will be gathered by others in the community who we can trade with or buy from.  It feels like an exhale, especially once the first hard frosts arrives - what's done is done.

While the days grow shorter and the nights grow longer, we may feel anxiety about moving  into the colder months.  With back to school time, autumn approaching, the leaves changing, moving into the time of honoring our ancestors, there's a lot of transition all around us.   And there are events in our communities and beyond to both celebrate and mourn.  The people of Palestine, communities of color in the US, and many other communities are under attack.  And all over the world people are organizing within their communities and beyond to work for justice.

Just today, allies across Vermont gathered names and went to local and state law enforcement to build on the work of those standing up in Ferguson, Missouri and the ongoing work of Migrant Justice and other grassroots organizations calling for police accountability and an end to racial profiling.

Movements for Justice and herbal remedies and education are completely interconnected and can deeply nourish each other.  This past week herbalists in C.VT sent herbal remedies to those participating in the Black Life Matters Ride.  As we harvest from garden plots, fields, and forests, may we share the abundance with community health projects/clinics and organizations near and far doing the day to day work to bring about true change in a sustainable way. 

 Donation from Central Vermont herbalists for the Black Life Matters Ride to Ferguson, MO. Black Lives Matter!

What's New & Save-The-Dates

-Community Self-Care: Nourishing our Nervous Systems for the Long Haul 

three-week work/play  Thurs evenings Sept 11th, 18th, 25th 5:30-8pm at the Fire Dept in Plainfield, VT. More info below. 

-Plainfield Farmers Market every Friday 4-7pm until Oct in the village.  More info here. Dandelioness Herbals vends most weeks, bringing herbal elixirs, salves, and some special treats not available on the online shop, such as aphrodisiacs, Kitties for Equality! catnip and valerian double trouble cat toys, and crocheted Roses.  Custom orders can be brought to market for pickup.

-Spa Fundraiser for Remedios   Sat Oct 4th 11-5pm, doors close at 4pm, Montpelier more info below

Dandelioness Herbals Blog

Check out my (Mis)Adventures in Container Gardening: Creative Growing & Herbal Disasters!

And it's that time of year again!  My friend from Wake Robin Botanicals and I just brewed up an amazing, spontaneous, nourishing syrup with roots & mushrooms & flowers & leaves.  Wanna make your own syrup for immune support, to build your iron, to get the tonic herbs
 you want to take daily?  Check out Elderberry (and other) Syrup Recipes

Dandelioness Herbals Facebook Page

With the gorgeous growing season in full-swing, I love to photograph medicinal plants - trees, herbs, flowers.  You can check out photos in these two new albums, which you don't have to be part of Facebooklandia to view!
In the Garden - I've been really noticing the admiring the pollinators this season...
Plant Besties - I love the plants that grow and thrive together as buddies!
Plant Walks! - Photos from plants walks out and about, in the woods and in town.

Dandelioness Herbals Online Etsy Shop
-Elderberry Ginger, whole Echinacea, & Tulsi Elixir Immune Health Trio  Three Dandelioness Herbals tinctures/elixirs perfect for back to school time, the change of seasons, and anytime you need some immune health support. Stock up for the colder months or share with friends and loved ones when they're feeling under the weather! 

-Stay Ready! nourishing elixir for thoughtful clarity helps us keep on top of our game, supports us through deadlines and actions, and helps us integrate information and experiences.  Great gift for students, community organizers, writers, and those who move between worlds and communities, cross-pollinating and building bridges in the spirit of solidarity.  Also available in the Green Tech: Herbal Support Kit for Students, Activists/Organizers, & Writers kit 

-Relaxation in a Bottle Choose Your Own Custom Tincture /Elixir to Relieve Stress.

New Class!

Community Self-Care: Nourishing our Nervous Systems for the Long Haul
Three Thursdays, Sept 11th, 18th, & 25th, 2014 5:30-8pm.  Plainfield Fire Department, Plainfield, VT

Feeling frazzled? Wound up? Burnt out?  Come replenish and rejuvenate in this 3-week work/playshop. We will nourish our nervous systems with simple (and free/affordable) self-care practices and make calming remedies collectively to bring home and share with our loved ones and communities. Each class will focus on three common abundant herbs that grow here, either in the wild or in the garden.

This is a hands-on class with lots of show and tell (& taste and tell!) and learning directly from the plants. And each other. We will focus on practical ways that we can integrate relaxing herbs both internally and externally into our everyday lives. While created with caregivers, gardeners, and community organizers in mind, all experience levels and backgrounds are welcome.

Space is limited. Please pre-register by contacting or 802-454-0102.  Accessibility: There are 3 steps in front of the building and 4 steps inside.

The 3-week series is $45-90 sliding scale ($15-30 per class, according to what you are able to pay). If you’re interested in participating, but the cost is out of reach, please be in touch. Please be in touch with any questions.  Facebook event page here.  

Feel Good, Look Good Spaahh! : Remedios Fundraiser!

Sat Oct 4th 11am-5pm (doors close at 4pm)
Vermont Center for Integrative Herbalism, 252 Main St, Montpelier, Vermont 05602

Treat yourself in solidarity! 

Support grassroot herbal remedies for the migrant farm worker community in VT. Come to the Feel Good, Look Good Spaahhh with Massage, Footbaths, Tarot reading, Herbal Teas, Flower Essences, Cupping, Facials, and Haircuts!

Remedios VT is a solidarity-not-charity project getting seedlings and herbal remedies to members of the migrant farm worker community in VT.
(Want to support Remedios, but can't join us for the event? You can contact/send a Paypal donation to: Thanks! Gracias! )

Facebook event page here.

More updates about this event and others will be added to the Dandelioness Herbals blog's Workshop and Events Calender and Facebook page.

If you would like to receive Dandelioness Herbal community health updates via email, please sign up on the blog's home page or email

Photos from the top: 
1. Late summer harvest!  With Red Raspberry leaf, Goldenrod, Yarrow, Blueberries, and St. Johnswort.   2. St. Johnswort oil for No More Deaths/No Más Muertes turns into Yarrow, Chamomile, Goldenrod, St. J oil for sore muscles, bruises, and minor wounds. 3. + 4.  Donation from Central VT herbalists for the Black Life Matters Ride to Ferguson, MO.  5. Crocheted Roses  6. Kitties for Equality! catnip and valerian double trouble cat toys    7.  Elderberry Ginger, whole Echinacea, & Tulsi Elixir Immune Health Trio  8. Plant Besties: Calendula & Heartsease Pansy/Johnny-Jump-Up  9. Abundant harvest. Red Raspberry, Lavender, Lavender Bee Balm, Sage, Yarrow, Goldenrod, and Chamomile.   10. Check out those pollen-icious saddlebags! 

Sunday, June 29, 2014

(Mis)Adventures in Container Gardening: Creative Growing & Herbal Disasters

My most recent trip to Ireland really inspired me to explore container gardens.  In previous years I'd been blessed with access to home gardens and/or a community garden plot, both planted in the ground.  However I had to move during the growing season that year and was really sad about my garden plot being far enough away to often not get there for many, many days at a time.   Also, not having that daily checking-in on the plants I was cultivating felt ungrounding, especially during housing transition.

It's said that the best fertilizer is the farmer's footsteps.  And weather you start plants from seeds or they come to you bigger, being able to witness their day to day growth is really special and a true education that can't be taught in a classroom or through books.  (Not to mention how much easier tending/weeding is when it can be done little by little, rather than during marathon gardening sessions that can feel overwhelming!)  Witnessing my friends' creativity while visiting them in Ireland inspired me to begin a container garden on my balcony upon my return, so that whenever I finally found my next home*space, I could bring my beloved plants with me.

I've documented some of the creative ideas, thriving plants, and botanical disasters for our viewing pleasures.  I will probably continue adding tips, lessons, and photos to this post, so feel free to check in on it again later and/or share comments below. 

Disclaimer:  I am not a "master" gardener.  I am a plant-lover that tends to wing it and am a perpetual optimist, encouraging others that it's not to late to transplant seedlings well into the summer, etc.  I believe in working with what you've got, DIY/DIT (do-it-yourself/do-it-together)-style and on the cheap.  I plant with care and say "good luck to you" to the plants, give them good soil, water, and sometimes brews of chamomile or seaweed, but rarely do I coddle them at all.   Check out some books in your local library/bookshop or online resources if you're interested in creating raised beds that are accessible for folks with physical limitations, vertical herb gardens, and more!

In Ireland:

Left: Sunflowers growing from a basket-container in an outdoor space converted into a pantry/growing space.  Note the gorgeous design of the glass in the door!  Love those.
Right: A set of drawers converted into a garden for Calendula and other plants.  Covered with plastic mesh to keep out lil critters.  Both photos from Kinvarra, Co.Galway.

Above: Container gardens at a hotel in Limerick, designed by my friend Val.  Check out her food blog Val's Kitchen.

Val's amazing container garden- Transforming a wee space into lots of food.

More Val's garden: using vertical space to grow lots of plants.  Love this paddle with notches that she got at the farmer's market - holding 4 pots of plants.

Above: Val's window gardens.

Above:  Vibrant azul/azure pots of greens, flowers, scallions, and more by the sea in Cork.

And back to the States:

Above:  So when I returned, I gathered some pots and started growing on the porch!  Looking for pots?  Check with local landscapers, the recycle center/dump, put a note up at work, let your friends know, etc.  A lot of people are happy to pass containers on!  Also, sometimes you can find them up for grabs on the side of the road, or at yard sales.  No need to go and spend lots of money buying new containers.  While in general I prefer natural materials, I prefer plastic containers over clay pots for plants, as they hold water better and require less watering.

Have you seen those mini-greenhouse?!  I was given one.  And then...

...this happen.  I went to the hardware store for a few minutes and when I returned, the seedlings I'd just planted were like this.  If your intuition doubts the plastic joints holding it all together, listen to it!

Then that same day, I found a big, low, sturdy table for free on the side of the road.  Planting the seedlings, Take 2!  Actually, when the mini-greenhouse collapsed all but two stayed in tact, so I really just apologized to the plants and moved them to their safer location.

Above: Trellising the peas.  Wait, what's growing in the peas?!  Oh, dang it!  Lesson learned:  if you put your containers under the bird feeder, things such as this will happen.  Especially if the primary visitors are grackles that only seem to want the black sunflower seed and send all other seeds down into said containers.  Overall, germination for the seeds I planted was great.  Germination for the seeds that the grackles planted was outstanding!

Above:  Whether planting in containers, or a garden in the ground, I like putting the plants that you're going to be harvesting closer to you/the kitchen and making them easier to get to.  ie. In a garden, there are certain crops you're only going to be harvesting once or a few times (Corn, Garlic, Pole Beans, Winter Squash), while there are others you'll be harvesting much more often (Chamomile, Cilantro, Greens).  Also, if having a pot of Basil on your porch will mean you'll harvest it more and enjoy your summer more, even though your garden is only 10" from your front door and you could plant Basil there, put a pot of Basil on your porch!  Enjoy the summer!

Above:  I thought that perhaps the popsicle-stick fortress I constructed for the Catnip plant would protect it from the neighborhood kitties.  I was wrong.  However, a friend successfully grew Catnip in their garden by surrounding it with prickly Milk Thistle plants, keeping both of her two cats out.  When I planted two Catnip plants in a home garden, I successfully communicated to the neighbor cat that one was for him.  The other was for me.  I pointed and explained over and over one day.  After that day, I would find "his" Catnip covered in his golden and white hairs and well-loved (read: crushed, and perpetually bouncing back).  Mine was left to grow and for me to harvest.  Thanks kitty.

Above:  I usually prefer growing edible/medicinal plants because they are so versatile and beautiful, but near to houses that may have lead paint or other badies, I prefer to grow flowers.  Just for pretty.  Or spiritual protection.  Or to use in foot baths.  Or for the butterflies and bees to enjoy.  I think it's also good medicine for workaholic, efficiency-oriented people to welcome some just-for-the-beauty-of-it-in-the-present-moment into our lives.

Above:  I love that in my village there are guerrilla gardening faeries that tuck plants along common ground.

In the kitchen: I like (re-)sprouting food to have fresh food in winter and just to be thrifty.  When I chop up scallions (aka green onions), instead of composting the octopus-y roots, I either put them in water or in a pot of soil.  They don't grow back as strong, but if you're just looking for some chive-y flavor, here you go:

Also, I was given one of these shapely glass containers to "force" bulbs in late winter/early spring.  While it feels pushy to "force" plants long before any bulbs have pushed up through the thawing earth outside, it is quite amazing to witness the growth of the green sprout, watch the development of the roots, and then have the total luxury of fragrant blossoms.  (I was so busy relishing the paperwhite blossoms that I forgot to photograph them!)

Thursday, May 01, 2014

May Day, Dandelions, and Fabulousness! Dandelioness Herbals Spring Update

Happy May Day!!!  I can't wait til the festivities!!! After May 1 March for Health & Dignity (info here) at the VT Statehouse at noon, and then at Sovversiva Open Space for an open house, BBQ, and showing of the new film about the life and community organizing work of United Farm Worker Union co-founder Cesar Chavez!!! More info here. 

Hooray for workers rights!  Universal health care!  Anti-biased policing policies!  And all the cross-pollinating happening between individuals and organizations on May Day and everyday, across communities and across borders!  May we all channel the powerful energy of spring into fabulous projects, good medicine, and gorgeous art!

In this Update
-Report Backs
-Dandelioness Herbals Remedies: Green Tech, Fabulous To Go, Activist Self-Care Kit, & 
  Spring Tonic
-Recent/Spring Dandelioness Herbals Blog Posts: Penquins, Self-Care, Creating 
  Herbal/Emotional Support at Marches and Demonstrations
-Upcoming Teaching /Events: Decolonizing Herbalism, Empowering Herbalists (aka 
  Intro the Herbalism for Social Justice), Herbalists Without Borders,  and more!

I was so happy to part of the Migrant Justice/Vermont contingent at the Not One More! Stop the Deportations march and rally in Boston, MA on April 17th, protesting the Obama administration's deportation of over 2 million of our community members and loved ones.  19 community members – both undocumented and documented -participated in a civil disobedience and were arrested, while throngs of supports marched for hours.  Those locked up at the detention center also showed their support through the bars/windows.  There are videos of this event posted here, and photos posted here

I was also really glad to attend the annual Reproductive Justice conference in early April.  I attended fabulous workshops: The Revolution Starts with Me!: Recipes, Remedies, Rituals, & Resources for Activist Self Care with Adaku Utah and Nicole Clark (check out their websites, SouLar Bliss  and Nicole Clark Consulting), The Politics of Adoption: Race, Identity, and Our Families' Lives about transracial and transnational adoption (check out Land of Gazillion Adoptees), and a workshop on supporting kids and caregivers, co-facilitated by a co-author of the book: Don't Leave Your Friends Behind: Concrete Ways to Support Families in Social Justice Movements and Communities.

...also at this conference Wake Robin Botanicals and Dandelioness Herbals unveiled their latest three fabulous collaborations, which are now available at…

-Activist Self-Care Kit: Supporting Change Makers for the Long Haul Dandelioness Herbals, Wake Robin Botanicals, and Mandala Botanicals have teamed up to offer the following three herbals: Speak Truth! Throat Spray, Sacred Basil Glycerite, & Solidarity Salve

-Green Tech: Herbal Support Kit for Students, Activists/Organizers, & Writers
Many of us feel the demands of long hours using technologies that can be draining or wearing on our bodies, both physically and energetically. These remedies support us to not only function, but to thrive while we meet demands and deadlines feeling focused and collected: 
Sharp Thoughts Herbal Tea, Stay Ready! nourishing elixir, Ache Relief Salve, and Calendula Violet Eye Serum. 

-Fabulousness To Go: Helping our real fabulous nature shine through with Brilliant Lip Shimmer, Fancy Glitter Crème, Fabulous Transformation Flower Essence, Fabulousness In A Bottle.  This basket contains all kinds of flower-mermaid-unicorn-rainbow-hippocamp-and-kitten magic.

-Also NEW: Spring Tonic - a blend of fresh roots, leaf, and sap that provides nourishing support during the transition from winter to spring. 

-Arnica drops and Lavender Spray: Creating Herbal/Emotional Support at Marches and Demonstrations

-Hope! Because Sometimes We Need Some Help: another Wake Robin Botanicals and Dandelioness Herbals collaboration penguins, poetry, & dance routines

-The Sweet Truth About Bitters
-The Dandelions Are Here!!  the whole plant is medicinal - flower, leaf, root, and sap!
-St. Patrick's Solidarity   Mexico/Ireland solidarity!
-In Case of (emotional) Emergency: self-care form to fill out to fill out when you’re feeling grounded, supported, calm, inspired, etc.  to read when you’re not.



-Sandra Lory of Mandala Botanicals and I will be teaching 'Decolonizing Herbalism, Empowering Herbalists' (aka Intro the Herbalism for Social Justice) at the following event, as well as presenting in the evening about Herbalists Without Borders projects:

Sat May 24th 2014, Coach Barn at Shelburne Farms, Shelburne, VT 
Inspiring day of herbal classes, walks, talks, & connections, followed by an evening including fresh dinner fare, music, cocktails, dancing, & festivities! We are enthused to offer classes from wonderful teachers: 7 Song, Mary Bove, Guido Mase, Larken Bunce, Betzy Bancroft, Jeff Carpenter, Melanie Carpenter, Sandra Lory, Brendan Kelly, Megan Godfrey, Leyla Bringas, Mary Niles, and many more to be announced! One hundred percent of the proceeds will benefit the Vermont Center for Integrative Herbalism's community herbal clinics.  More info to come here.  Facebook event page here.

-The Plainfield Farmer’s Market will be starting up in a few weeks, so you can visit the Dandelioness Herbals booth to taste remedies, purchase products, and chat.

-Interested in growing medicinal herbs for community health projects?  Members of Herbalists Without Borders are coordinating the growing of medicinal plants to distribute via community health projects near and far.  Interested in growing herbs for teas, salves, etc?  Please be in touch.

-I’m excited about hosting herbal medicine making days for community empowerment during the growing season, when the plants are most vital.  Learn to harvest in a good way, learn/share medicine-making skills, create remedies for community health projects, and create a kit to take back to our homes/communities.   All experience levels welcome.  If you have questions or ideas for venues, please be in touch.

Take care,
dandelionessherbals (at)  yahoo  (dot)  com

Please visit the Dandelioness Herbals Facebook page for info about upcoming events, photos of medicinal herbs, blog posts, links to good projects/resources, and more!

Til next time...

Images from the top:  
Migrant Justice represents! * Activist Self-Care Kit: Supporting Change Makers for the Long Haul

Participants of the civil disobedience at the Not One More Deportation! Boston Rally * As we march by the detention center, dandelion stays rooted beside us, embodying persistence and resistance, sending forth its seeds across borders and prison walls.

They send their love and support through the glass and prison bars.  To our comrades, brothers, fathers, cousins, husbands, grandsons, friends: you are not forgotten! * Green Tech: Herbal Support Kit for Students, Activists/Organizers, & Writers

Basket full of dandelion blossoms

Celebrating after the rally!  We Did It Before, We'll Do It Again! Power to the People! *  Dandelion roots  * Fabulousness To Go: Helping our real fabulous nature shine through