I’m quite sure few would disagree that keeping a light heart has been challenging over the past few months. There are so many reasons a heart can feel troubled, either literally from illness or metaphorically from the end of a relationship, the death of a loved one, a parting of ways, or the result of disheartening current events. No matter what the circumstance, there are times when the heart—and spirit—are heavy.
Whatever the loss—emotional or physical—it can manifest itself as quite palpable, physical pain in the chest. Many of us know that emotional pain can feel just as crippling, just as real, as the pain experienced during a physical crisis of the heart. Whatever the cause, when in pain, we need time and energy to heal.
And, as I so often say—there’s an herb for that. Read More
As we spend more time at home these days, the speed at which dust and dirt accumulates is thrown into sharp relief—especially with windows open, wind blowing, and pollen dusting. If you’re anything like me, then a clean space opens the mind, relaxes the body, and makes spending so much time at home more rewarding.
Even those of us who normally eschew harsh chemicals have probably found ourselves reaching for them recently. However, in and around these more serious cleansing measures, we can reach back into nature for materials that clean and disinfect naturally. Let’s look at a few you might already have on hand. Read More
This year the theme for Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens is Wicked Wetland Wonders—and here at the Gardens we have an abundance of wetlands! Many children have spent afternoons catching frogs while participating in summer camps, field trips, and pond investigations in the Children’s Garden pond. There are so many other wetlands here and all around Maine to learn about and explore as a family. Read More
Aromatherapy is the fastest way out of your head and into a more measured, peaceful place. The sense of smell is one powerful message-delivery system, allowing us to tap into a powerful fusion of smells, memory, and emotion—a phenomena you’ve probably experienced countless times.
Why does it work? First, a definition: very (very) simply, aromatherapy is the use and study of aromatic essences on one’s state of mental and physical well-being. It takes advantage of the unique way our bodies assimilate and download information carried by the volatile oils that make various substances, well, smell-able, for lack of a better term. Read More
I think we can all agree that we’re not living in the easiest of times. Luckily—as I tell my herbal clients and students—there’s an herb for that.
Fiddleheads are out! Searching for these edible beauties is a great way to spend time outside on these beautiful spring days! There are many different varieties of edible, yet-to-unfurl ferns around the world, but here in Maine, our springtime delicacy is the ostrich fern (Matteuccia struthiopteris). These young ferns, most commonly found near creeks, rivers, wetlands and moist woodlands in early spring, look like small green fists punching their way through the soil. The main way to identify the edible fern is to look for a “U” shaped stem. Once you have found a patch, harvest them when they are 6” or so from the soil, and the frond is tightly curled, leaving a ½” stem “tail.” Read More
One of the biggest things I’ve learned at Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens is what I don’t know. They say that’s the first step in knowing- well we’ll see about that. What I might know about though, are a few common mosses found in Maine that are distinctive, easy to ID, and will get you on the road to learning more about moss identification! Read More
There is nothing young children love more than creating art for their friends and families. As an educator, I have a collection of drawings, potholders, paintings, and small sculptures children have created for me out of things they find around the house. One way I’ve found to take this creative side of children into the woods is by having them create nature bracelets while we hike.
If you’re here, you’re probably interested in plants (just a lucky guess…). And while we might be a dab hand at growing them, what about brainstorming unique ways of using them? So, with that in mind, let’s talk skincare.