Yuletide Musing: The Lore of the Holly

Holly by Katheryn Laible

Known now as a symbol of Christmas, the Druids regarded holly as a symbol of fertility and eternal life, and thought it to have magical powers. The Romans associated it with Saturn…agriculture, fertility and the harvest. Although the berries are poisonous, it’s been used as a healing plant by Indigenous Americans, who made a tea of it as a heart stimulant.

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A Few Good Places to Give

Long Island needs more people to give to local organizations addressing our local challenges. Here are just a few to consider:

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Down to Earth with the Synchronicity Network – Thanks for Great Resources!

Photo of Bee on Aster by Katheryn Laible

Here at home, one way Katie’s been overcoming pandemic poos is through her garden. It works!!! She’s been weeding, mostly, identifying local and invasive species with apps like PlantNet and iNaturalist, and then wrestling those who’d best go out of the Earth until she’s too tired to do it anymore.

The reward has not only been a tremendous amount fresh air and healthy stress sublimation, but a yard full of gorgous asters, goldenrod, wild raspberries and delighted pollinators! In recent week, the birds have started coming. It seems her yard is well rated on the Zagats Migration Edition!

She’s been grateful for the Huntington Gardeners and the Long Island Native Plant Gardening Group on Facebook as she’s overcome her well-earned terror of poison ivy and endeavored to cultivate and better understand her own hyper-local ecology. They are wonderful!!!

You can find others in our ever-evolving Down to Earth with the Synchronicity Network (submissions welcome!). Soon, we will add KMS Native Plants LLC, one of a growing number of sources for local plants and an excellent resource itself!

Autumn is a great time for planting. There are still a few weeks to take advantage of it! Katie has been transplanting volunteer native trees and plans to purchase native plants this weekend! Her gardening grand finale for 2020 will be the Winter Solstice, when she will honor a tradition started when her first child was tiny: Planting bulbs as a rite of faith that spring will dawn again.

This helps, too! Brain Pickings, we love you! Speaking of well-known appreciators of Long Island and human nature, Maria Popovich recently resurfaced this lovely meditation on Long Island’s own “Walt Whitman on Democracy and Optimism as a Mighty Form of Resistance” Read it, and carry on with whatever great mission you are on!

 

Support Your Local Ecology!

-Photo of bees on asters by Katheryn Laible. Photo of Beth Fiteni provided by Beth Fiteni.

Our dear Beth Fiteni of Green Inside and Out was recently sharing word of a native plant, pollinator, and organic lawn care webinar organized by the North Fork Environmental Council.

Though the event passed, she says it was really informative and encourages folks to keep checking the NFEC Facebook page and the NFEC YouTube Channel for all the great resources they plan to share. She looks forward to offering the full video herself on the Green Inside and Out Facebook page once it is ready to go!

Meanwhile, Beth offers some basic tips for an organic yard:

  • Avoid toxic pesticide use; instead use natural, non-synthetic fertilizers and compost to feed the soil.
  • Mow higher to shade out weed seeds and ask for natural pest control products at your nursery.
  • Choose native plants that require less maintenance- Check out the Long Island Native Plant Initiative for species best suited to our region.

The LINP is just one resource mentioned in a collection of Earth-and-Local-Ecology Friendly Landscaping Resources. that we ourselves compiled a few years ago. Grateful to all who contributed to it (send us more!) We’re still referring to it regularly!

One we will add soon is BlossomMeadow.com, which Beth recommends as a great LI company that participated in the NFEC webinar. There, they taught about various types of bees and where they live so we can create suitable places for them in our own yards.

YOUR Picks: Favorite Local Shops

The Firefly Artists

We asked. Here’s what you told us! We warmly encourage you to join us in celebration of Small Business Saturday every day by going out and supporting Long Island local businesses. This list barely scratches the surface of favorite local places that only exist because people like us spend money there. We’ll keep updating it and encourage folks to keep adding to it. We’re thankful for every one!

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A Marriage of Art and Science to Address Global Food Insecurity: PlantingSeed Jewelry

Photo of GrowMore Jewelry

Dr. Kate Creasey-Krainer seems as much an elegant permaculturalist, dedicated to environmental health and sustainability, as she is a highly trained and published plant geneticist. She believes that science is only as good as the integrity of the science communication with those of us who aren’t experts.

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Down to Earth with the Synchronicity Network – Thanks for Great Resources!

Last updated July 3, 2020: Anxious to get our hands dirty, and eager to do it in the most helpful way possible, we reached out asking folks in the know for their recommendations for Earth-and-Local-Ecology Friendly Landscaping resources. We received great responses!

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