Not far from the Selo community in the Appalachian Mountains of North Carolina, visionary Joe Hollis what he terms paradise gardening at his world-famous Mountain Gardens for four decades. You can palpably feel, smell, see and taste the benefits of the long-term care of the land there…which makes it so different than restoration or permaculture gardens that are less than a dozen years old.
The broad low beds of native and introduced medicinal and food plants reach out into the forest, their dark, fertile soil and their many pollinators obvious no matter where you walk. Kane has no springs on the Mountain Garden lands, but has built many small ponds that allow him to keep the plants and the soil alive and moist.
There is something tender in the air there, a message that humans can care for the land in a way that also brings them healing through healthful herbs and nutritious foods which grown in abundance there.
His own little seed bank is a cornucopia and pharmacopoeia at the same time… North American rarities like Apios priceana —elsewhere threatened by habitat destruction have for years found a safe sanctuary thanks to the work of Joe Hollis’ hands. The common name of this groundnut? Traveler’s delight!
Brother Coyote, OEF