Make a Lasting Impression

Many of us are under the Arctic Vortex…
It’s a great time to plan to add interest to the garden…  The dead of winter allows our mind to envision a clean slate… to see the bones of our landscape.    Plan enhancements to the garden to create a pleasing view from inside…
Snap a photo out the window, print and using tracing paper – draw what you envision… Plants, small wall or man made enhancements…

Or why not sign up for a class?

Many County Extension Master Gardeners offer classes.  Check out they the nearest Arboretum, Botanical Garden or Garden Centers.  If lucky to be near a University, check their websites, as many run symposiums this time of year…

I remember being accepted into the Wake County Master Gardener Program in 2000. We were given a directory of all the certified Master Gardeners. Reading them all, I perused all the various interests each experienced MG listed. One experienced Master Gardener listed “Hypertufa.” I was clueless!

So imagine my delight when I was paired for my “Phone Hotline Duty” with Amelia Lane. I could barely contain my self and immediately blurted out… “What in the world is Hypertufa?”


Amelia was surprised that these words tumbled through the air, yet in her lovely manner, and soft voice began to explain about how the English gardeners used to re-purpose  large troughs from the days of yon and use them to plant alpine gardens.  Troughs in more pastoral settings gave way to modern galvanized versions…

The stone honed troughs began to be sought after prizes when the iron horse took over and troughs were not needed in towns, being auctioned off for extraordinary prices to the highest bidder.

In the mean time, there were folks that devised ways to create their own troughs… using porous tufa rock, then later cement, Perlite, and peat moss…


Beth Jimenez and Amelia Lane

Amelia invited me to work with her in the Mixed Border of the J C Raulston Arboretum, where I met Beth Jimenez and the rest of the Border Babes and so began 14 year friendships. Amelia’s Garden was featured on last year’s Garden Conservancy Tour and Beth’s will be featured this year.

Enjoy – living the EntwinedLife
Jayme B
NC Certified Environmental Educator
Garden Conservancy Regional Representative
JC Raulston Arboretum Volunteer

Horticultural Test of Time for the Holidays

So the true test…

Could I remember how to successfully use an O’dapter,  a month later to create a botanical whimsy for the holidays?

See the results and “How To”… Continue reading

Get thee to the garden… and bring your pruners!

O.K.  I know it’s cold out there for most of you.   But now is the time to get thee to the garden and bring your pruners.

On your way to the mailbox or walking Fido, take a few snips – your neighbors won’t mind. Continue reading

Step away from the glitter….

Often there comes a time… when you just have to step away…

For the past 3 years every holiday we celebrated was in a nursing home;  many of our family traditions  had to be put aside.

Although wonderful to be spending it together, it was never private; visits seemed far too short or confined.

There is only so much decorating one can do in a shared room with limited space.

A wreath for Jayme's Mom!

But there was nothing like the smile on my Mom’s face when the new Seasonal wreath appeared for her door, or a tiny Christmas tree which I decorated in all of her favorite colors was revealed!

Color co-ordination - pleasing to Mom!

Color co-ordination – pleasing to Mom!

The tiny tree was a gift from my friend Barbara – who’s husband had died.  Barbara understands the kindness of little things to delight, and the space restraints in these times of transition.  Continue reading

Gardening Grounded

Being grounded – it’s the way we feel after a weekend at the beach, or running barefoot through the grass – a sense of wellness, a sense of being connected and real.  It is one of the reasons I enjoy working in Entwined Gardens.

My Mom used to insist my sister & I wear leather shoes, to let the feet breathe and feel the earth, rather than insulating, non breathing soles of sneakers.  I never questioned this.   As a teen, I made my clothes, so I would be treated to “shoes & bag to match” by my fashionable Mom.

Working in the Garment Center of NYC,

navyt blue ferragamo satin platform pumps+navy...

navyt blue ferragamo satin platform pumps+navy shoes-1 (Photo credit: …love Maegan)

I was more interested in the right shoe to work with my ensemble… Fashonistas would never consider sneakers!   Even during the early 80’s when the younger women in banking & finance were arriving to  work in sneakers and crew socks over their nylons… I always chose beautiful heels, elegance first!  Yes, I would log about 3 miles a day in heels, my legs never looks so great!

Developing Entwined Gardens circa 1997, I switched from leather soled Ferragamo’s to the Goodyear welted soles of Dr. Martens.   At the time they matched the switch from business wear to RanchWear – bib overalls, jeans and flannels shirts while building our home, and beginning to garden.   I still have them and although great for going up and down ladders on solid footing, I wondered then about being so thick soled, insulated from the ground.

Distinctive yellow stitching on Doc Martens shoes.

Distinctive yellow stitching on Doc Martens shoes. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)garden.

In today’s market place finding a leather shoe, leather lined, with leather sole is difficult and price prohibitive, a huge change from even the early 90’s.  It is interesting to me that leather shoes – with leather soles – went away about the same time personal computers, satellite TV and electrical pollution were entering our homes and sneakers were everywhere.

Several years ago, I’d heard about Earthing from a couple sources…

The first blog I ever subscribed to – cutting edge nutritionist Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, CNS.

Gittleman has her pulse on health & nutrition issues, researching and making connections.  Well before the concept was hitting the mass media, Gittleman began to hint at electric pollution.

Gittleman went on to write a book “Zapped” about the electrical currents we are currently exposed to from cell phones, computers, and wi-fi.  Which might be interfering with our sleep, concentration, inflammation, thyroids and a plethora of other things common in today’s life that were not a major problem 40 years ago, nor in unconnected countries.

I wanted to read more, so I pointed my curser to:   and ordered the book Earthing by Clinton Ober, Stephen T. Sinatra, MD, and Martin Zucker.

I was fascinated.  It made intuitive sense to me.  After reading the overview, one might just flip through the book to find  case stories on effects, by condition. Not a lot of huge studies have been conducted – that is expensive – the techniques to reduce electric absorption are so inexpensive that there isn’t big money to be made on the suggested protocols. I was also interested that some major league sports teams where using Earthing Techniques to hasten healing.  I had enough info to think that can’t hurt to try it!

As I was sitting in front of my laptop one day, I decided to broach the subject to my Engineer Husband.   At first mention it was poo – pooed.    I showed him a photo of a the voltmeter that comes in the testing kit, and said, “Don’t you have one of these in the basement.”

Of into the abyss of the basement he descended, and came back up carrying a voltmeter.  He made some setting adjustments grabbed the end of the meter with his thumb and forefinger.   The meter needle swung ever so slightly to the right. So already his doubt was apparent.   Then he had me grab hold – the meter needle went far to the right.    And he said “That can’t be right.” He tried again… same slight result. Again he asked me to hold the tip of the meter, again it swung far right.

Curiosity now peaked, he disappeared again and reappeared with an anti-static mat that he uses for working on electronics, but then quickly realized that it wasn’t grounded.

So off to the basement again, and this time he had a metal insulation product that to me looked like bubble wrap coated with tin foil on both sides.  He attached a lamp cord to a grounded, three-prong plug at one end, and using an alligator clip at the other end of the lamp cord, attached to the insulation.   He plugged it in, asked me to take a reading… again the needle swung to the far right.   Now he said  “Put your feet on the insulation.”

Another reading was taken.  This time the needle stayed as stationary as a guard outside Buckingham Palace –  at neutral!   The minute I lifted my feet off the mat the needle swung to the right.

Before I could blink an eye he disappeared back down the stairs.  In a few minutes he was lugging an Oscilloscope … I didn’t know we had one, let alone what it was!  (don’t even ask about what can be found in the basement!)

More testing and even he was convinced there might be something to this.  He even called his sister a teaching civil engineer to consult!

The silver coated bubble wrap was brought upstairs to be tried during sleep.   We put it on top of the mattress Pad and under the cotton fitted sheet bottom across the foot of our bed, so that our feet and calves would touch and plugged it into the grounded outlet.

DYI Earthing pad

Personal observations:  The first couple of nights my sleep was like the sleep on an airplane… I knew I was getting rest, but not deep sleep, some sort of subtle tingling sensation.  After night three, I was sleeping deeper – instead of getting up in the middle 3-4 times to use the bathroom.

Results –

– I now sleep through the night or only wake once to use the bathroom – a major improvement! – before was getting up 3-4 times!!!

– I have not experienced postmenopausal fog in quite some time…

– After a day of power gardening, or kayaking – I am not sore the next day,  so I am delighted with my results.

My scientist husband reports sounder & longer sleep and dreaming in color again.

Two years later we are still using the inexpensive pad he rigged up.  (some day we’ll purchase a nice one!)

I recently went on a plant-buying trip and did not pack my Earthing pad – we needed as much room as possible for plant purchases.  Night 2 – I must have gotten up 4 times to use the bathroom – now I will confess that might have been due to the beer sampled at Terrapin Ridge Brewery a post garden/nursery visit side trip.   Upon my return home, I had one night of the minor tingling airplane sleep, but all is back to normal.

I enjoy a good nights sleep and feeling grounded – things to consider for an Entwinded Life!
What do you do that helps you feel grounded?


Jayme B

NC Certified Environmental Educator

Garden Conservancy Regional Representative