Spring Magnolia Foraging & Creations~

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The cold of this spring has not deterred the blooms from blossoming! On my walks we bumped into a beautiful saucer magnolia tree (whose botanical latin name is Magnolia soulangeana). The flowers are characterized by a pink ombre outside and an absolute white on the inside as shown here to the left and below. I gathered three.

Read more about the creations that happened next here! 

South African Freedom Day! 4/27

kingproteusJoin us as we celebrate the heritage, celebrate the diversity of people and the revolutionary spirit which still permeates society today. How can we connect with what is happening on the ground, hear it from the people themselves, let us remember unity and strive towards compassion, reconciliation, understanding and peace.

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“Freedom Day serves as a reminder to us that the guarantee of our freedom requires us to remain permanently vigilant against corruption and the erosion of the values of the Freedom Struggle and to build an active citizenry that will work towards wiping out the legacy of racism, inequality and the promotion of the rights embodied in our constitution.” — South African History Online.

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2779-7370-0-0_1642653The indigenous giant protea or king protea (Protea cynaroides) is the national flower of South Africa. It is depicted in the state coat of arms, below the bird and represents the aesthetic harmony of all cultures and the country flowering as a nation. Other plants featured is wheat are emblems of the fertility of the land.

At the center you’ll find a shield which signifies the protection of South Africans, above which are a spear and knobkierie. “…this asserts the defense of peace rather than a posture of war. Within the shield are images of the Khoisan people, the first inhabitants of the land. The figures are derived from images on the Linton Stone, a world-famous example of South African rock art. The motto of the coat of arms – !ke e:/xarra//ke – is in the Khoisan language of the /Xam people, and means “diverse people unite”, or “people who are different joining together”. Read more at: South Africa.info

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The yellowwood family is ancient, having grown in this part of Africa for over 100- million years. The real yellowwood (Podocarpus latifolius), South Africa’s national tree, is found from Table Mountain, along the southern and eastern Cape coast, in the ravines of the Drakensberg up to the Soutpansberg and the Blouberg in Limpopo.In forests, the trees can grow up to 40m in height with the base of the trunk sometimes up to 3m in diameter. But trees that grow in unsheltered places such as mountain slopes are often short, bushy and gnarled. The bark of the real yellowwood is khaki-coloured to grey when it is old, deeply split and peels off in strips. The crown is relatively small in relation to its height and is often covered with grey lichen. Read more: http://www.southafrica.info/about/history/national-symbols.htm#.VT1g1KUqb8H#ixzz3YSIz09K8.

You can also appreciate the co-existance of floral diversity by checking out the gallery of the South African National Botanical Institute (SANBI).

CALL TO ACTION: How diverse is your neighborhood and how do you cultivate harmony? How do plant seedings co-exist in diverse communities? how do they greet and honor thy neighbor, how do they honor their community’s diversity and how do they integrate? Share your nature observations and stories here!

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Photo credits: Cultural Diplomacy in AfricaTrek Earth; Wikipedia; World Heritage Routes Travel; Deutsche Welle

Tea of the Week: Slovak Nettle.

Take a walk on the wild side. The wild side of colder mountain tops, where medicinal herbs can be found that is. Being that the winter-esque conditions of New York City won’t let up, let’s snuggle up to some earthy teas. Read more about our latest tea encounters from around the globe….sleeping bags are not included.

Art. Garden. Life. ~Frida Kahlo, NYBG.

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Is the title of a new exhibit at the New York Botanical Garden which opens in May 2015. Read more about our visit to Casa Azul in Mexico City. Also, join us in May as we tour NYBG’s exhibit and discuss the plants and painting collection! 

Sea Hibiscus, the Amapola mangrove tree.

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Check out our newest page addition to the community index of plants! Read our latest article on the Sea Hibiscus; also known as Amapola Mangrove tree.

Tea of the Week: Cinnamon, Comfrey and Mullein.

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Tea teachings by Cinnamon and Comfrey Leaf (and Mullein too!). Cinnamon and Comfrey Leaf tea remind us of the important of forgiveness. To be forgiven, we must forgive. To be shown compassion, we must be compassionate. Let us be prone to love, the connective tissue that holds our universe together. Read the tea recipe here as well as the meditation on forgiveness.

April 2015 Cosmology

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‘This is truly an eccentric month that will test us at every turn. There will be highs and lows, higher than you have experienced before and lower than you ever thought you would be able to handle….April 2015 is a month of questions and learning to live with them is key to how it unfolds for each one of us.” ‘With eclipses it’s often a case of the ‘subconscious becoming conscious’. Read more….