Art Of The Harvest

Harvest: Unexpected Projects Using 47 Extraordinary Garden Plants by Stefani Bittner & Alethea Harampolis, Ten Speed Press, 2017. 

A beautifully photographed, gift-worthy guide to growing, harvesting, and utilizing 47 unexpected garden plants to make organic pantry staples, fragrances, floral arrangements, beverages, beauty products, gifts & more. Every garden can produce a bountiful harvest! This practical, inspirational, and seasonal guide will help make any garden more productive and enjoyable with a variety of projects using surprising and often common garden plants, some of which may already be growing in your backyard.

Early Mid Late Season Index & Plants & Produce Pages From Harvest: Unexpected Projects Using 47 Extraordinary Garden Plants.

Discover the surprising usefulness of petals and leaves, roots, seeds, and fruit: turn Tumeric Root into a natural dye and Calamintha into lip balm. Make Anise Hyssop into a refreshing iced tea and turn Apricots into a facial mask. Crabapple branches can be used to create stunning floral arrangements, Oregano flowers to infuse vinegar, and edible Chrysanthemum to liven up a salad. With the remarkable, multi-purpose plants in Harvest, there is always something for gardeners to harvest from one growing season to the next.

Oregano Flower Infused Vinegar & Vin d’Orange & Fruit & Herb Wreath Pages From Harvest: Unexpected Projects Using 47 Extraordinary Garden Plants.

Floral Branch Arrangement & Lavender Mint Tea & Rose Water Skin Toner Pages From Harvest: Unexpected Projects Using 47 Extraordinary Garden Plants.

Sage Garland & Calendula Infused Essential Oil & Mid-Season Herb Salad Pages From Harvest: Unexpected Projects Using 47 Extraordinary Garden Plants.

Spring Project Lilac Flower Cream Recipe From Harvest: Unexpected Projects Using 47 Extraordinary Garden Plants.

An ancient French technique, enfleurage is the process of extracting a flower’s perfume into odorless vegetable fat. The process used here is a simple method that will capture the fragrance of Spring in a jar. The cream can be used directly on your skin or to flavor favorite sweet dishes. It is best to use the Lilac’s tiny blooms straight from the shrub, picking them in the morning when they are the most fragrant.

Ingredients & Directions: 

  • 32 ounces extra-virgin coconut oil
  • 10 cups lilac blooms picked from the heads in 2 cup increments as needed
  • Pick 2 cups of lilac blooms. Place the coconut oil in a small saucepan and melt over low heat until it is completely liquefied. Pour the liquid into a 10 by 10-inch casserole dish and allow it to harden. After the oil has hardened, score it with a butter knife. This will help the scent of the flowers penetrate it more deeply. Layer the tiny lilac blooms onto the oil, covering it with 2 inches of blooms. Place a second 10 by 10-inch casserole dish upside down atop of the first one. Use electrical tape to seal the two dish edges tightly, and place the dishes in a dark area.
  • After 48 hours, remove the tape seal and discard the spent blooms. Pick another 2 cups of lilacs, add another 2 inches of flower blooms to the oil, and seal again for another 48 hours. Repeat this process three more times, for a total of five cycles with fresh blooms each time.
  • Scrape up the oil from the casserole dish, place it into two 16-ounce jars, and seal the lids. Store in a cool, dark place; the flower cream will keep for up to 3 years.

Stefani Bittner & Alethea Harampolis Of Homestead Design Collective & Their Previous Books.

About

Stefani Bittner and Alethea Harampolis are the owners of Homestead Design Collective, a San Francisco landscape design firm focused on creating beautiful gardens that provide harvest. Homestead provides design and full-service organic maintenance, harvesting, bee keeping, floristry & composting services. Stefani is the co-author of The Beautiful Edible Garden: Design A Stylish Outdoor Space Using Vegetables, Fruits, and Herbs (Ten Speed Press, 2013) and Alethea is the co-author of the best-selling books, The Flower Recipe Book & The Wreath Recipe Book: Year-Round Wreaths, Swags, and Other Decorations to Make with Seasonal Branches (Artisan 2013 & 2014).  Stefani and Alethea’s work has been featured in San Francisco Chronicle, Sunset Magazine, C Magazine, Los Angeles Times, NY Times, Martha Stewart Living, Better Homes and Gardens Gardenista.

Bath Bouquet

This Spring fill your space with the refreshing scent of Eucalyptus harvested from the forest, or found at a local florist or farmer’s market. Freshly cut fragrant branches of Blue-Gray Eucalyptus are scentsational and striking in a vase on their own, and country chic mixed with other botanicals displayed as a garland. Hang a cluster as a door decoration to create a scented welcome for guests. Or turn your bathroom into a do-it-yourself personal spa by hanging an aromatic bundle from the shower head!

To make the bundle, gather the stems together and simply wrap them with natural twine, then hang the bunch upside down in a spot where it won’t get directly sprayed with water. The steam from the shower will help release the aromatherapy essential oil power of the plants, and carry the scent through the entire room. It’s that easy! A powerful medicinal pick-me-up with its rejuvenating and antiseptic attributes, good for the mind, body and spirit. You can also create Bath Bouquets with Lavender, Rosemary, Mint & Lemongrass stems to improve the room’s air quality, while adding a pretty touch of bohemian Green. #savourthescent

Be More Tree

Be More Tree: A Journey Of Wisdom, Symbols, Healing, And Renewal, by Alice Peck (Author), Melissa Launay (Illustrator), Published by CICO Books, September 2016.

Discover how all trees can mirror us, teach us, and heal us. From author Alice Peck who reflected on the Maple tree in her backyard, and began to notice and then study its intricacies and changes, which became her regular meditation and inspiration. In Be More Tree Alice sensitively and eloquently shares what she has learned from that Maple tree, and from the trees all around us. Every tree tells a complete and ongoing story -from its powerful taproots to the birds that alight on its fragile high branches. Trees reflect our lives through their perseverance and seasonal rhythms -always changing yet consistent. They evolve along a much more protracted timetable than humans. Like us, trees feel and react to their environment, and communicate with us in subtle but distinct ways.

Here readers are invited to investigate and cherish trees from four perspectives: their roots -wisdom and understanding; their branches -symbols and rituals; their leaves -healing and science; and their seeds -transformation and spirituality. All of these elements show us how, although they live outside us, trees offer a path to our inner selves. From the Bodhi Tree to the Garden of Eden, the Druids to forest monks, medicines to tire swings -people have always received physical, psychological, and spiritual sustenance from trees. Filled with insights from botany to poetry, ecology to mythology, and herbalism to sacraments, Be More Tree explores the ways these grounded yet soaring entities can steady and move us, teach and transform us, inspire and comfort us. #fortheloveoftrees

A wonderful book for readers interested in the intersections of nature, folklore, and spirituality. Beautifully written and illustrated with an inspiring ecological point of view, that includes fervent prose, meditations, mantras, and prayers to help deepen the reader’s relationship with themselves, nature, and the interconnectedness of all things. This is the book The Artful Blog wanted to write! For more tree magic mystery and lore see previous posts: Art Of The Tree & Book Of Trees.

Flower Lovers

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This is that magical window of quiet time that comes during the darkest month of Winter. In New England, February is a great time to cozy up by the fire, reading and sketching out big dreams and garden plans for the year ahead. It’s a welcome opportunity for a fresh start that The Artful Blog looks forward to every season. #wintertherapy

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As ideas grow and seed catalogs start pouring in it’s easy to get caught up in flower fever! Leafing through the glossy pages is an annual ritual that gets gardeners through the Winter with dreams of growing something new and wonderful for the next season. That said, it’s important to keep in mind how much room you actually have to plant and what you can afford after you consider irrigation and compost and other critical supplies. That’s why it’s important to take the time at the beginning of the year to make a master plan. The planning process will help you refine your goals, identify necessary supplies and schedule all of the important dates and tasks to have a successful flower growing season. Some ideas to get you started might be to create: Garden Specs Worksheets, Cutting Garden Wish List, Garden Supply Shopping List, Garden Design Sketch Pad, Seed Sowing Schedule, Field Notes, Sample Cutting Garden Plan, and a Botanical Materia Medica Journal. #botanicalbeginnings

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One of the places The Artful Blog draws inspiration from is the beautiful Floret Flower Farm -a small family run flower farm in Washington’s Skagit Valley that specializes in growing unique, uncommon and heirloom flowers. Known in the industry as a thriving research and education farm dedicated to giving flower lovers the tools and information they need to grow the gardens of their dreams. In addition to maintaining the farm, they also teach workshops for fellow farmers, designers, and flower lovers so students can explore their fields, and learn their tried and true farming methods, as well as how to arrange with local, seasonal material. And for those who aren’t growing their own flowers, they’ve developed a worldwide network of growers, Floret’s Farmer-Florist Collective, through which you can access locally grown blooms, wherever you live. #fortheloveofflowers

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All of this has led to the soon-to-be-released book “Floret Farm’s Cut Flower Garden: Grow, Harvest, and Arrange Seasonal Blooms,” which gives step-by-step details on how to cultivate your own flowers in any size space. The book shows off some of the most stunning varieties they have ever grown on the farm, many of which are primarily available to wholesale growers. But because they wanted folks to be able to grow the same flowers you see in the book, this last year they developed their latest offering: the Floret Seed Line. In the online shop, they offer more than 100 hard-to-find flower varieties sourced from the finest seed breeders in the world, plus dozens of Dahlias, Spring Flowering Bulbs, tools & supplies, and paper goods. Including a gorgeous 2017 Garden Journal & Daily Planner The Artful Blog picked up earlier this year. Brimming with loads of helpful advice and gorgeous photography. #blissfulblooms

floret_book

Floret Farm’s Cut Flower Garden: Grow, Harvest, and Arrange Stunning Seasonal Blooms, by Erin Benzakein (Author), Julie Chai (Author), Michele Waite (Photographer), March 7, 2017.

From Erin Benzakein, a leader in the locaflor farm-to-centerpiece movement and owner of internationally renowned Floret Flower Farm, Cut Flower Garden is equal parts instruction and inspiration -a book overflowing with lush photography of magnificent flowers and breathtaking arrangements organized by season. This beautiful guide to growing, harvesting, and arranging gorgeous blooms year-round gives readers vital tools to nurture a stunning flower garden and use their blossoms to create showstopping arrangements. With irresistible photos of Erin’s flower farm that showcase exquisite blooms, tips for growing in a variety of spaces and climates as well as step-by-step instructions for lavish garlands, airy centerpieces, and romantic floral décor for every season, Floret Farm’s Cut Flower Garden informs and entices gardeners of all skill levels.

For more garden & flower inspiration see previous post Art Of The Seed about the Hudson Valley Seed Library, known for artful seed collections featuring original artwork that celebrates the beauty and diversity of heirloom gardening.

Color Of The Year

greenery

Pantone Color of the Year 2017 Greenery 15-0343.

According to the Pantone Color Institute -the global authority on color, Green will be everywhere in 2017. Not just any old Green, of course: Pantone 15-0343, colloquially known as Greenery, a refreshing Yellow-Green hue with distinct character. A shade that evokes the first days of Spring when nature’s Greens revive and restore, symbolic of new beginnings. Illustrative of flourishing foliage and the lushness of the great outdoors, Greenery is nature’s neutral, described as “a combination of warmth and a certain cool.” An attempt to distill and forecast this year’s prevailing mood into a single tone. #colorforecast

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Pantone Color of the Year 2017 Greenery 15-0343.

Greenery bursts forth in 2017 to provide us with the reassurance we yearn for amid a tumultuous social and political environment. Satisfying our growing desire to rejuvenate and revitalize. Greenery symbolizes the reconnection we seek with nature, one another and a larger purpose. ~Leatrice Eiseman, Executive Director of the Pantone Color Institute

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Pantone Colors of the Year 2016 Rose Quartz 13-1520 & Serenity 13-3919.

Last year, Pantone took the seemingly radical step of choosing two colors, Serenity and Rose Quartz to reflect the gender-bending move toward “equality and fluidity” taking place across society and fashion. That said, The Artful Blog’s immediate impression was more “He’s A Boy” and “It’s A Girl,” and although sweet and light, restful and Zen, too baby-hued somehow undermined credibility and likeability. Pantone recovers this year with more adult and aesthetically pleasing Greenery that resonates both literally and metaphorically, even universally. “There’s a Japanese concept called ‘forest bathing,’ which says that when you are feeling stressed, one of the best things to do is go walk in the forest,” says Eiseman. “But if you can’t do that, what can you do? Bring Green into your environment. Put in on your body, or in your house or near your desk. That symbolic message is very important.” #fortheloveofgreen

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Pantone Color of the Year 2017 Greenery 15-0343.

The color of the year is a bit of an assist to the fashion, beauty, interior design industries, and product and graphic design, all of which can use it as an organizing principle and marketing tool. Greenery makes for a lovely pop of fresh color woven into a sophisticated botanical print with other neutrals or in monochrome, and sings smartly in tandem with complementary colors, sartorially speaking, however The Artful Blog cautions a light hand. Just as Rose Quartz and Serenity conjure Pink Flamingos along the shoreline, Greenery, as a single note, veers toward Kermit The Frog if not tempered judiciously. #sesamestreet

We The People

we_the_people

Contemporary street artist Shepard Fairey well-known for his Obama Hope illustration in 2008, has designed a series of beautiful illustrations called ‘We The People’ in protest of Donald Trump’s inauguration. The posters feature women of minority: Muslims, Latinas and African-Americans, the three groups in Fairey’s view that have been most criticized by Trump and may be the most marginalized and vulnerable in a Trump administration -a sentiment many of us share and fear. The posters were made available before the historic Women’s March on Washington January 21 st, 2017, and all five illustrations are still available for high-resolution download from The Amplifier Foundation -the art machine for social change here. #artinaction

On Fall Splendour

splendour

What though the radiance which was once so bright
Be now for ever taken from my sight,
Though nothing can bring back the hour
Of splendour in the grass, of glory in the flower;
We will grieve not, rather find
Strength in what remains behind;
In the primal sympathy
Which having been must ever be;
In the soothing thoughts that spring
Out of human suffering;
In the faith that looks through death,
In years that bring the philosophic mind.

~William Wordsworth