Monday, July 21

Inspired: Mountain Gardens

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   I wanted to share some photos of Mountain Gardens. I spotted this photo above on shelterprotectsyou’s instagram account and ended up scrolling through the rest of her photos to find out where this place was. I managed to track down some more pictures from various places on the web and put together a little background information for you guys as well in case you find it as inspiring as I have.

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   Mountain Gardens is located at the foot of the Black Mountains in Western North Carolina. The botanical garden has four acres of medicinal herbs and edible plants from all over the world and boasts the widest variety of holistic plants in the Eastern U.S.

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   It was established by Joe Hollis, a local alchemist and herb expert, who has dedicated himself to and specialized in Chinese and Native medicinal plants. He has been acquiring useful plants for the past four decades and estimates he now grows over one thousand species.

   Joe’s ultimate goal in planting the garden was to create what he calls a ‘Paradise Garden’, a place in which everything you need is there for the taking.  

“For me, Paradise Garden is both a place to live and a way to live, and, above all 'visionary ecological theater.' I am trying to act on deep instincts and archetypal images related to human habitat and niche as a way of providing a sustainable values system with sufficient appeal to challenge the dominant consumer culture.” 
 -Joe Hollis, via

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   In addition to the gardens Joe grows herbs in a nursery attached to the main building with the help of the apprentices he takes on ever year in exchange for room and board. 

   In 1984 with the help of his friends Joe hand cut every shingle on the roof of the facilities pavilion, which houses a library, herb shop and communal outdoor kitchen. The left over shingles were used to cover the roof and exterior walls of the outhouse. All the building at Mountain Gardens seem to reflect his garden and philosophy with their beauty.

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   Joe sells his tinctures and dried herbs directly to customers from the main pavilion's honor-system apothecary.  The apothecary has all the necessary apparatuses and tools for those who want to compound their own formulas as well as over 50 premixed tinctures ready to purchase by those who don't.

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     Joe has also established a library that he freely shares with the public. The library houses Joe's extensive collection of both popular and professional texts on western and Chinese herbalism that he has gathered over the years.
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     If you are ever in North Carolina and want to visit the gardens for yourself you can book an appointment, visit during one of Joe’s workshops or check them out during an open house event via  Mountain Gardens' website here.
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Saturday, July 19

Good Stuff: Mafrash

   Mafrash or bedding bags are woven textile bags that were used by the Shahsevan and other nomads in Persia to load bedding onto a camel's back for transport. The bags were generally made in pairs, one on either side of the camel, but now often come split up and sold as individual textiles since tribes no longer have a use for them. 

 


   As you can see above, the bags are quite large. Typically collectors will stuff them with foam and use them as seats. While that works I would love to see them turned into duffel bags. Below are a few of my favorite bags that still have their original leather straps for tying the bag together:











Sunday, July 13

Insides: House Plant Goodness

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  My most expensive habit: house plants. I have a five star master assassin/black widow status among the members of the plant kingdom. These people with house plants in the double digits are clearly magicians.