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

Horticultural Hero


I first met Mr. Rehder, many years ago volunteering for the NC Azalea Festival. He was directing a motorcade made up of State Troopers on Motorcycles, a slew of limousines filled with national and local celebrities, and a motor home, over some sensitive property, with tactical ease.

Mr. Stanley Rehder, Sr. was memorable – tall & lanky, impeccable dressed, elegant in manner – a true Southern Gentleman.  I met him  in the years before I gave up manicured hands for the pursuits of gardening.

Husband Phil & I once spent a weekend,  Sloggin’ & Boggin’ through the peat bogs of Holly Shelter, NC and the area known as the “Bays” further inland toward the Sandhills. Under the leadership of Mike Dunn of the North Carolina Museum of Natural Science we were following the Footsteps of B.W. Wells, Botanical Pioneer.  It was on this trip I became interested in Carnivorous Plants.

In relating stories of this trip to my friend Julie Rehder, I learned that her dad was known as “Mr. Flytrap!” It was then he became my Horticultural Hero!

My friend Julie writes about her dad, “Stanley Rehder learned about Venus’ Flytraps and the various varieties of Sarracenia (pitcher) plants from his father, Will, and for more than 80 years he and his brother, Henry, enjoyed locating and cataloging the sites where these native plants flourished.”

Mr. Rehder, who graduated from NCSU in 1947 with a degree in Horticulture, was relentless in pushing forward the 1951 North Carolina Legislation to protect these rare plants – found only in peat bogs along the North and South Carolina coasts.

“To share his love and knowledge of the rare plants,” Julie adds, “ He appeared on national television shows – “That’s Incredible”, “Good Morning America”, and “The Today Show” where he had the privilege of being interviewed by Barbara Walters.

“He spent many years helping to cultivate a showcase of insectivorous plants behind Alderman School where today visitors can see the fruits of his efforts.”

Venus Flytrap

The first time I visited his Carnivorous Plant sanctuary, Stanley, already in his late 80’s, drove like crazy through tall scrub pines.  I did all I could to hang on as Stanley skillfully maneuvered his jeep bearing “FLYTRAP” license plates, through the maze wondering if it were wise to be on this “Uncle Willy Ride”.  Sand sprayed in a wake as Stanley yanked the steering wheel, left, then right, then left, pines barely scraping the sides of the jeep.  It was unmistakable that this was how he enjoyed showing his devotees an adventure – clearly a path he had traveled many times.  Perhaps it was a way of disorienting one from returning – to protect the plants.   I was certain he could do this  trip blindfolded.

Getting out of the jeep,  a twinkle in his eye, he said, “we have arrived!”

I was trying to peel my fingers off the” hang on straps”, as I could feel the color returning to back to my cheeks.  I hopped down, and behold – there spread in front of me, a tapestry of botanical delight and awe.

This endangered array of Carnivorous  Plants were save in Stanley’s Haven.

I was delighted to attend the dedication this past April, when the City of Wilmington officially named the garden passionately protected and created – natural garden –

The Stanley Rehder Carnivorous Plant Garden.

Stanley passed away this week  – a life well lived, in passionate protection of the land he loved.  He walked with celebrities with graceful elegance, of his beloved  Sarracenia.  A citizen fully devoted to community and nation.

A true World War II Hero and Horticulture Hero,   I am honored to call  friend.

Rest in Peace dear Stanley.

You have championed an EntwinedLife

Jayme B

NC Certified Environmental Educator


There is a fund set up to honor his passion and plant heroism through the
North Carolina Coastal Land Trust, 131 Racine Drive, Wilmington, NC 28403 for the continued preservation efforts of the Stanley Rehder Carnivorous Plant Garden.

Figs bursting with delight.

Bursting point… We all get to this point… when the blood starts to boil – the emotions swell – so full of stress our juices ready to burst like a fig after a fresh rain.  This morning I was so ready to burst that I called my sage friend  Helen Yoest – she reminded me that sometimes it is just better to “let it go”…

I took a deep breath and ventured outside to find solace in Entwined Gardens.

To my delight, I wasn’t the only one having a break & snack.

Sevensons against a
Carolina Blue Sky

The Heptacodium miconioides  (Sevenson Flower, Autumn Lilac) tree was a buzz with pollinators.  As I looked up at creamy white puffs against a Carolina Blue sky my angst began to vanish lost in a swirl of bees, wasps skippers & butterflies.  My thoughts turned to my delightful 2009 quest to find this tree – an Entwined Gardens expansion – to create a new border adding fall interest near our parking area.

Yes, a crazy Dr. Seuss – like plant that gets far too large for the chosen location.  But the fragrant creamy white flowers appearing August – September, turning into small rounded fruit with a cherry red to rose purple calyx  – ShaZaam! There’s no such thing as too Big as the sweet scent welcomes us home each day.  This small deciduous tree growing 10’ –12’ tall x 8’ – 10’ wide also valued for exfoliating bark in warm hues of light brown, does not disappoint, especially if you don’t mind unpredictable plants with fall winter interest! For those of you who cringe at the word ‘Prune’ – one can’t make a mistake on this wildly branching structure.   Within a year of planting this tree was a showstopper in my new themed border of plants for fall interest and ready for the 2010 Garden Conservancy Open Days Tour!

A lovely butterfly perched upon a Cana ‘Phaison’ or Tropicana Lily, caught my attention. I wasn’t quick enough to get a photo – then it was off in a wisp of a wing – up and circling overhead.

Table for Two –
Red Spotted Purples
dining on Celeste Fig

My mind clearly engaged as I watched the Zen motion as the butterfly fluttered up and around higher & higher then caught a glimpse of pink in an unexpected place.    One of the out of reach Celeste figs had burst open and the scent of soft flesh fills the air. Another Butterfly lands and enjoys the fleshy sweetness – talk about table with a view.

The usual suspects at the Fig Café – humans with morning coffee in hand, disrupting the quiet feast of squirrels & birds who quickly disappear, thinking of another way to enjoy these fruits, of course tasting for inspiration.  Wasps & butterflies throughout the midday, lingering like the folks at an Internet cafe; Possum and Raccoons – the nocturnal clientele leaving debris like twenty -somethings in a college town, so although unseen, we know they’ve been & enjoyed.

Who are these diners
at the Hibiscus Cafe?

Drawn further into the garden – some yet to be identified colorful visitors snacking on Hibiscus coccineus – Red Star Hibiscus pod.

Further down the path another snack has been consumed and another life form swells, 

slowing down progress, almost paralyzed to move forward.  I snap a few photos – in this the moment of truth.  By the time I can summon my husband and run back he has slithered into the safety of foliage.

I am reminded of the lesson to let it go.  Had I not taken a break, made room to breath, I’d have missed these whimsical delights, sweet smells and delicious figs.


Jayme B

NC Certified Environmental Educator

Garden Conservancy Regional Representative

Hot Coral – Echinacea by any other name won’t be as Expensive!

It’s Hot, It’s August and it’s Buggy in the NC Piedmont, a good excuse not to be working in Entwined Gardens, therefore a good time to travel…

One of my Volunteer Jobs being a regional representative for the Garden Conservancy ‘Open Days’ Tour is not only to find great gardeners to participate, but also promote the tour.   One way is making sure posters are delivered & postcards put out and about.  Garden Centers are very kind to help promote the event, so off I went in a 50-mile radius.

Today’s first stop was at Fairview Greenhouses and Garden Center  in Cary, NC…

I love exploring garden centers, like a quest for the Jewel of the Nile or an unexpected plant combination…

Cute succulent roof top Garden for a lucky Pooch – Fairview Nursery & Garden center

Not only did I find this charming roof top succulent garden for a lucky pooch, I gathered up some reduced herbs for a herb planter to take as a hostess gift.

I headed out of the greenhouse to an outdoor covered area, and there it was… Heart be still… just in  –  was it love at first sight?  I circled the tall-shelved wheeled cart, and tried to walk away, but the colors tugged at my heartstrings again… I was hypnotized – lost in the array of hot fluorescent colors – an array of pinks, & corals.

Echinacea Sombrero ‘Hot Coral’

I tried to move away and be amazed at the size of the giant array of Hibiscus lining the next table.   Before I knew it I was back staring at the cart of recently delivered offerings.   A nice clerk who had been giving all the plants water on this 90 plus degree morning… walked over and said “Aren’t these amazing?  They just arrived this morning.”

Echinacea Sombrero ‘Hot Coral’ – Echinacea by any other name won’t be as expensive!

I had tried to be good all summer, limiting spending of any kind in these economic times, but this one I could not walk away from. I could feel the butterfly within circling around and around – flying off but then drawn back in… Oranges are HOT… It didn’t matter the price tag for this perennial – of a whopping $21.00.  My obsessive brain took over… It will keep these kind folks in business…   I couldn’t purchase a cut flower bouquet for this amount…   Well, I’m here and they will certainly be gone, and then there’s the gas if I drive back…  Oh the ecstasy of the color – I am color centric but that’s something to muse on another day – home it came with me.

As my luck would have it, Fairview also had Roses on sale. Again my eye spied orange and I was drawn in.

The great gals I volunteer with, at the JC Raulston Arboretum Mixed Border affectionately known as the ‘Border Babes’, are a diverse, opinionated, yet congenial group.  We are all gardeners, our styles are as distinct, as we are, but this is a plant we all agree on  Rosa ‘Paprika’ – delicate in size, but intense orange buds, that evolve to a soft coral when open with a sunny center – a real show stopper.  Disease & spot resistant.   When we first planted it in the Mixed Border several years ago, the official plant marker said ‘OSO EASY Paprika (R. ChewMayTime ppaf)’.  We were delighted when this plant hit the market! Talk about Smokin’!   We all like to cook and many of us are fond of Smokey Spanish Paprika – so this Rose like its spicy culinary counterpart is sure to Spice up your garden life.

R. ‘Paprika’ will be perfect further back in the bed and will color echo the ‘Hot Coral’. The eye will samba from E. ‘Hot Coral’ over to R. Papricka.   Supporting players will be Barberry ‘Crimson Pygmy’a dwarf Japanese Barberry.

I can visualize it from my deck butterflies swirling around.  No guilt, no shame, we’ll have Mac n cheese tonight – I’ll add some cherry tomatoes, a little cilantro and finish with Smokey Paprika!

Colocasia Royal Hawaiian®
‘Black Coral’.

Next it was off to Campbell Road Nursery  – a no frills nursery, but always cool, cutting edge plants!   I spied a  Colocasia ‘Black Coral’  – hardy black taro… I hadn’t had lunch and it looked the color of a dark chocolate bar – It would be great behind & to the left of the ‘Hot Coral’ … the bed anchored by a pink & yellow nesting box with ‘Hot Coral’ & ‘Black Coral. ‘  An analogous color scheme of oranges & pinks… Ahh…. I asked Plantsman Layne Snelling about ‘Black Coral’ and he mentioned it was part of the breeding program by John Cho (not to be confused with the actor of the same name) at the University of Hawaii Plant Breeding Program.  One of the benefits of Cho’s breeding work is short  or no stolons – which means no chance of invasive runaways… plus hardy to zone 7B… this went into the floor of my back seat!  I can’t wait to get home to plant this fiesta!

I love seeing folks with plants in their vehicles… always brings a smile to my face!   Sometimes I have thoughts of following them home to see their gardens, but alas as I merge into I-440 at rush hour, I am satisfied to see the chocolate elephant ears swaying in the rear view mirror headed home to an Entwined Life!


Jayme B

NC Certified Environmental Educator

Garden Conservancy Regional Representative