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managed to start my paperwhites on time for once!

he's been gone two years as of Nov. 7th, and this final collection of his work was just released. beautiful. find it at your local bookshop.

i've had our autumn playlist on repeat lately, you can tune in here.
find what else we're listening to at the studio via our insta-highlights...

fortifying myself with this beautiful fresh turmeric from Norwich Meadows Farm + finding inspiration in Diaspora Co.'s new zine.

p.s. ways to help those impacted by the fires in CA

a few november notes

open studio hours - autumn into winter

It seemed like a good moment to bring this recipe back from one of the past editions of my newsletter, given the sweltering temperatures in the city this last week. These are so easy to make, and are a wonderful way to enjoy your chai when it's too hot to dream of sipping warm tea.

chai popsicles

1 cup raw cashews
2.5 cups water
3 heaping tbsp. chai
4 (or more) medjool dates (pitted)
3 tbsp. coconut butter
pinch of sea salt

Soak the cashews in fresh water for a few hours for overnight, then drain and rinse. Bring the 2.5 cups water to a simmer, add chai and simmer gently for 5-6 minutes, strain and allow to cool. Blend the tea infusion with all remaining ingredients in a blender, adjusting the sweetness with more dates (or even a spoonful of maple syrup), according to your preference. Strain through a fine mesh sieve, pour into popsicle molds and freeze.

for a little extra oomph, you could add:

to modern chai no. 1 - a spoonful of rosewater
to modern chai no. 2 - a shake of cacao powder
to modern chai no. 3 - a pinch of freshly grated ginger
to deeply rooted chai - a dash of golden magic

Be sure to stay hydrated and don't forget your sunscreen!

p.s. my daily sunscreen go-to, in case you were wondering...

a popsicle recipe from the archives

This is one of our native plant beds at 6th & B Garden. It grows more lush and intricate each year and attracts a beautiful variety of birds and pollinating insects. We had just begun to transition the area under our giant willow tree over to native shade plantings in the summer and autumn of 2012 when were visited by superstorm Sandy. The willow, top heavy and shallowly rooted, fell over in the high winds. We managed to clear most of the branches in the days following the storm, but we had no way to remove the stump, and so it remains.

A memorial to a beloved tree, and now a habitat for city wildlife, but also a reminder of the way that climate change (in the form of fierce storms and other extreme weather) is already impacting us here in New York City. And, of course, across the globe. The Puerto Rican community of Lower East Side has been deeply impacted by the devastation of Hurricane Maria in PR last autumn. We must continue to demand accountability from our elected officials not only around recovery efforts there, but also around addressing the root causes of our global climate crisis. This list is from December, but it is likely that these grassroots organizations on the ground in Puerto Rico would still appreciate your support, if you are able to donate. 

Our garden is proud to participate in a program called Gardens Rising, which is helping create infrastructure in community gardens on the Lower East Side to absorb stormwater, harvest rainwater and otherwise mitigate the impact of extreme weather conditions. It’s hoped that this program will function as a pilot effort on the way to implementing similar programming citywide.

What struck me the most after the storm, was the way that our community in the garden functioned as a safety net. Gardeners went to check on our elderly members, the garden became the de facto meeting place in the absence of communications technology, resources were shared freely. We looked out for each other. It was a little window into what the world could look like. I don’t want to oversimplify, being in community with each other is hard work. But we all do plenty of things every day that are hard, like care for families amidst the chaos of daily life and struggle to do creative work in late capitalism, etc. We learn how to do hard things, in order to survive.

I’ll leave you with this quote from Rebecca Solnit’s book, “A Paradise Built in Hell: The Extraordinary Communities That Arise in Disaster”, where she discusses this topic so eloquently: 

“The map of utopias is cluttered nowadays with experiments by other names, and the very idea is expanding. It needs to open up a little more to contain disaster communities. These remarkable societies suggest that, just as many machines reset themselves to their original settings after a power outage, human beings reset themselves to something altruistic, communitarian, resourceful and imaginative after a disaster, that we revert to something we already know how to do. The possibility of paradise is already within us as a default setting.”

So much going on around us these days does feel like a disaster. And so many people are envisioning something better and working to bring that into being. Observing the evolving landscape in our tiny city plot and having committed to care for it together with my neighbors, I believe that this hard work of transformation is not only possible, but that it may be the very work we are here to do.

musings in the garden at the beginning of another hurricane season

{ bloodroot | Sanguinaria canadensis }

It is such a joy to see our little collection of native spring ephemerals return each year, sprightlier and more established in their places than the year before. The habitat we've created here in the heart of New York City truly feels like a tiny sylvan paradise. Even if you have a very small space, I encourage you to seek out the native plants that thrive in your conditions and give them a try. We've found enormous satisfaction in seeing our collection grow and in knowing that we're helping to restore a bit of habitat, however small, for birds and pollinators. And for our hearts, as well.

Here are a few things in bloom now...

{ rue anemone | Thalictrum thalictroides }

{ sharp-lobed hepatica | Hepatica acutiloba }

{labrador violet | Viola labradorica }

I also wanted to share a save-the-date note about our upcoming Plant & Bake Sale at 6&B Garden. We'll have seedlings and houseplants (and sweet treats!) of all sorts available for purchase at this annual fundraiser for our events program. The garden puts on hundreds of events each season, all of which are free and open to the public, including workshops for all ages, film screenings, and music and dance performances. Mark your calendars for May 12th and 13th, 11am-5pm each day. 

Hope to see you there!

And on the subject of spring botanicals, I also wanted to share a few things I've been reading lately:

wild spring foods (I shared Sophia's lovely piece over on our FB page this week, too)

forage, harvest, feast (coming out in August, but can be pre-ordered now! Marie also has many wonderful blog posts about the wild foods of New York City, here)

a helpful primer on New York spring ephemerals via the Brooklyn Botanic Garden

and make sure to visit the instagram tag #nativeplantlove for a little inspiration

I'm also thrilled to be a part of Abbe's fundraising efforts (along with an amazing group of other plant folks!) for her Skid Row Herb & Foot Care Clinic in Los Angeles. Visit her site here to purchase raffle tickets and see all the incredible prizes you could win!

grow with love,

spring in the garden

Perhaps you've been dreaming of the gardening season ahead, too? In the last week or so, I've been sorting through seeds left over from last year and seeds collected from our native plant collection at 6&B in the autumn. One crucial thing to note about many native plant seeds is that they need a cold dormancy period (called "stratification"), to mimic what they would experience outdoors in the elements, in order to germinate properly. Some native plant seeds can also be sown in the autumn, if there is a safe and protected spot in one of your beds for them. Since I typically start my seeds in late March and early April, and many of my native plant seeds need between 30-60 days of cold treatment (placed in a damp coffee filter in a small bag in the fridge does the trick!), I've been doing a bit of planning about what to plant this year, and where it might go in our tiny 8 by 5 foot community garden plot. Things that won't fit will be sold at our annual Plant & Bake Sale, to raise funds for the bustling season of garden events ahead, and still more seedlings will be given away to fellow garden members, traded for other coveted baby plants, or plunked in at the last moment, in desperation, wherever a little space can be found.

If you're interested in preparing to save your own seeds starting this season and beyond, here is a wonderful guide. And some advice for germinating them.

I'll be planting various milkweeds from seed saved at 6&B this last autumn, including swamp milkweed (Asclepias incarnata), a beautiful white milkweed (Asclepias verticillata) and the brilliant orange butterfly weed (Asclepias tuberosa), all of which support a variety of pollinators.

I was also thrilled to support the fundraising campaign for Milkweed Medicinal seeds last year, and came away with a truly gorgeous collection of certified organic herb seeds, carefully selected for their potency and vigor, that I will be planting from again this year including Baical Skullcap (Scutellaria baicalensis), Clary Sage (Salvia sclarea), Tulsi Kapoor (Ocimum sanctum var. Kapoor) and many, many more. It looks like their site may be down for maintenance right now, though, but an update will be coming soon, according to this post. UPDATE: here's their new site!

For an enormous selection of medicinal plant seeds, as well as potted starts, I turn to Strictly Medicinal Seeds, in Williams, OR. I adore receiving their old-school hand-illustrated catalog in the mail, and I appreciate their focus on certified organic, open-pollinated and GMO-free selections. My beloved rose geranium plants at the studio came from Strictly Medicinal as starts, and have given me much scented joy over the years. 

I haven't made a purchase yet, but I've been following Owen's work at True Love Seeds ever since I took a seed-saving workshop with him at the GreenThumb GrowTogether (a local community gardening conference) a few years back. If you garden in NYC be sure to sign up for this year's conference, more info here

"Truelove Seeds is a seed company offering rare, open pollinated, and culturally important vegetable, herb, and flower seeds. Our seeds are grown by more than 20 small-scale urban and rural farmers committed to community food sovereignty, cultural preservation, and sustainable agriculture. This collaboration is an opportunity for growers to share their own seeds and stories and to bring in extra financial support for their food sovereignty and agroecological projects."

I'm really looking forward to placing an order with them for a few treats for our children's vegetable garden, which we source from all season long for the kids cooking workshops that M and I help facilitate.

I also made a small, but indulgent purchase from Floret this winter for a few frilly little things, including a California poppy called "Thai Silk Appleblossom Chiffon". Who could resist a name like that? I've also been experimenting with carnation essences quite a bit in the studio, so I decided to grab a packet of the supposedly very fragrant heirloom "Chabaud La France" carnation, to do a little in-person research with the flower itself.

And to fill in the gaps, I always love placing an order with High Mowing for the basics, including greens to sow in succession (even in the smallest of spaces!), and parsley and cilantro to snip for garnishes throughout the season.

If you're local, you may also want to check out the 13th Annual Seed Celebration & Swap happening at the Old Stone House in Park Slope on February 10th. More info here!

Have you started your garden dreaming yet for the coming season? I'd love to know what you'll be planting!

seed sourcing


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