Middleburgh, NY Five years ago we happened upon three gentle acres nestled between the hills of the Helderbergs and northern Catskill Mountains of New York state and were immediately smitten. This small parcel of level land is surrounded by heavily forested hills and hollows in the tiny hamlet of Huntersland, in the town of Middleburgh. An inexplicable draw pulled us here and after 20 years of moving due to jobs, we felt like we were home. A deep sense of peace and contentment settles on this property and visitors constantly comment on that. It’s amusing and satisfying to watch urbanites visit and inhale deeply the clean air and essence of the land. Here is where we have established The Green Spiral, our gardens and herbal products company. It has been a dream we were able to make come true. A small brook borders the south side of the property and provides a sweet music. A great blue heron, cedar waxwings and warblers flit along the bushes brookside. Along the bank grows soapwort, St. John’s wort, milkweed, vetch, bittersweet nightshade and wild raspberries. The adjoining meadow provides Joe Pye, boneset, blue vervain, red clover, yarrow, hawkweed, mint and many other herbs. A portion of the meadow has been allowed to remain wild so these species can establish themselves. It is a butterfly and bird magnet. Another portion of the meadow stays mowed for our small orchard and in anticipation of establishing a lavender field and expansion of herb beds. The acre surrounding the house and barn contains white pine, spruce, larch, locusts and maples. Under the maples and larch we have created a woodland garden containing lungwort, liverwort, trillium, wild ginger, blue cohosh and other medicinal herbs. Bloodroot, trout lily, black cohosh, Soloman’s seal and goldenseal were transplanted from areas slated for demolition to our land. American ginseng seedlings have been planted. Organic herb gardens have been cultivated by us and include over 250 different herb varieties. Echinacea is blooming abundantly. Arnica, calendula and elecampane’s sunny flowers cheer us. Our small standing stone circle is surrounded by comfrey, motherwort, tansy, bee balm and holly. The large blue obelisk houses clematis and morning glories. Roses scent the June air. Oak logs inoculated with shitake, reishi and maitake will fruit this year This spring, we will add 24 more raised beds to the barnyard garden, build another rose arbor, finish the crescent moon garden and plant more bayberry, apples and fruiting shrubs. Plant labeling will continue. Perhaps a garden guide will be published this year for visitors. Many herb classes, walks and workshops are in store. On June 30th, we will open the gardens to the public as we celebrate our status as a Botanical Sanctuary. Please come enjoy the herbs. Being a part of the UpS Botanical Sanctuary helps give a voice to the herbs. As people become more aware of the natural resources that surround them, more respect will be shown. As that respect becomes integrated into human consciousness, a better partnership amongst all life forces can exist.
Sanctuary Stewards: Dan and Betty Pillsbury