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Excerpt from Ask Mother Nature: A Conscious Gardener’s Guide

I snag my unsuspecting friend who stops by on a cloudy day in mid-July.

“Come to the garden with me,” I beckon. “I’d like to check in with the broccoli and see how it’s doing.”

“Huh?” queries Cheryl. “Do you mean you want me to help you inspect something?”

“I had some problems earlier in my broccoli beds.” I explain. “I have pest and fertilizer challenges. I can see the above-surface leaves and stems, but I want to know about their overall well-being, and I become like an over-anxious parent….”

“And what do you want me to do?” she asks.

“I want you to help me talk to them — to ask if they are having any problems.”

I see Cheryl’s puzzled expression. “You want me to help you talk to some plants?”

“Yes, it’s easy.” I exude cheer and confidence, hoping to convince myself as well. “I’ll show you as we go along.”

Cheryl shrugs and nods. “Okay, I’ll help if I can.”

“I call this process tuning in, or a tune-in,” I explain. “According to experts at the Findhorn Garden in Scotland, every plant, every rock and every place has a collective consciousness. Some call it an angel or Deva, meaning a Being of Light. So we begin by saying hello and asking this over lighting spirit to communicate with us.

“Broccoli Deva,” I venture, “Cheryl and I would like to thank you for being present and holding the energy of these broccoli varieties here. We would like to attune and communicate with you.”

“As we proceed,” I say to Cheryl, “imagine in your mind the feel, smell and appearance of broccoli. Recall the taste of its green florets, raw and cooked. We let our analytical thoughts go silent. This is the time to make note of anything that comes to your mind — pictures, emotions, music, images, impressions, words. Everyone gets information differently and one way is not superior to another. Just trust and report what you receive.”

“Trust whatever you get, Ellie, ” I remind myself inwardly. “Let your skepticism go.”

“I get a sense of a very sweet personality,” says Cheryl.

“I’m feeling a subtle energy shift, too. I think we are connected. Let’s ask how the broccoli is doing.”

“I got a sense of ‘Yes, we are doing fine,'” says Cheryl.

“Me too,” I add. (“Whew,” I think to myself, “this is working! Together we are getting an answer.”)

The next part is strange. I expect to hear about root maggots and soil nutrition.

Instead, Cheryl gets words: “Does my personality seem sweet and casual? Ah, don’t be fooled. We broccoli are very strong. We fight cancer when you partake of us. We are very proud of this!”

We look at each other in astonishment. (This was not a well-known fact in 1989.) I never know what I am going to learn from a conversation with a green plant. What I do know is that it pays to boldly recruit innocent bystanders. Zeal and assistance help me overcome my feelings of incompetence.

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Ellen Vande Visse is a horticultural teacher and consultant on sustainable agriculture who operates her own gardening school. She has grown flowers, herbs, and vegetables for the Alaska branch of the National Outdoor Leadership School and produces compost and compost tea for commercial and backyard growers. She lives in Howard City, Michigan.

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