(Growing conditions) White sage


My various attempts to germinate the white sage seeds spanned more than a year, from some time in 2009 until now.

To date, I have tried a few methods, all of which did not produce any results until my latest attempt:
1. I have tried my traditional method of heating/warming the seeds up in a metal container filled with vermiculite, and placed on top of an aromatherapy burner, but the seeds didn’t germinate;

The pink paper is the seed primer, filled with the chemicals found after wildfires, which helps with wild plants' germination

2. I have sowed the seeds into transparent containers filled with pure vermiculite and maintained the humidity of the container at a level suitable for most other germination of seeds; this method sometimes made the white sage seeds sprout, but they always rotted within a day or two after that if not quickly transplanted; and even if they were transplanted at this stage, sometimes the seeds dried up in their new environment anyway;

3. I have bought seed primers and soaked the seeds in the chemically-infused water, to no avail;

4. This is the method which has finally worked, and I came upon it through laziness and a mistake: I soaked the seeds in water which came up to about twice their height, and I left the seeds for 36 hours. For the first time, because of my laziness (I’d originally intended to soak them only for 24 hours), the water level evaporated until the seeds were only moistened, but out of the six I’d soaked, two had sprouted. I sowed all of them, and another seed sprouted a few days later.

The rightmost seedling is the one which looks like it has a rotting stem

A few days ago, I tried this method again. I soaked all the seeds for two days, and then sowed them into a well-draining soil mix, and then covered the mouth of the pot up with clear plastic bag. For now, one out of six seeds have sprouted.

Since the white sage is a desert plant, I mix soil with a lot of volcanic sand, and water the seedlings sparingly every day. I’m still experimenting with the amount of water to give, since there is one seedling which, though growing, seems like it has a rotting stem close to the soil’s surface, while the other two are more or less fine.

Once the plants grow to larger sizes, I intend to treat them like I’m treating my sole white sage plant now, by giving them the full morning sun, and watering only twice a week.

Plants and spirituality – white sage and sweetgrass

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I don’t talk about my spirituality much outside of my shamanic blog, but I thought this would make for a nice change of subject. Sweetgrass

Since I was about 20, I made the choice to become a pagan. At first, this entailed nothing more than the fluffy woo-woo things one might see on TV: joining the meditation group for Rainbow Healing/Language of Light; reading up on Wicca (unfortunately, think the TV series Charmed); meeting and talking with people who claimed to channel angels and higher-vibrational entities and what-nots. Perhaps I haven’t met the right (read: sane and logical) people locally, even until now, but all those things above just didn’t sit well with me. There were a lot of things too…out-there about those people.

It wasn’t until I came upon the (umbrella) term shamanism that my attention was caught. This post isn’t about my argument of traditional versus neo-shamans, so I shall do a very simple summary and say that the ideas of self-healing (and helping others), of the dichotamies of nature, and the tread between the physical and spiritual world caught me. It was the most balanced path I’d chose to take at that time.

With the lack of readily available resources on shamanism in various countries other than in the States, I turned, at that time, to the generic Native American form of shamanism. I adopted a lot of their traditions and culture: I bought a skin drum, and then two skin drums for trance drumming; I bought various types of dried plants tied together as smudge sticks; I did this, I did that.

However, one of the most important things I enjoyed in the start of any ritual to drumming, is the act of smudging. Because the white sage was considered an important plant in space cleansing, and was considered sacred by the Natives, I bought (and was given) a lot of white sage smudges; I tried out a desert sage bundled with cedar smudge, and loved the clean and sweet fragrance as I burnt it and wafted the smudge around; I tried a sweetgrass braid which was subtly vanilla-scented and very earthy.

Although I have lessened my practices on my eclectic shamanic path (I wasn’t chosen by the spirits and wouldn’t call myself a shaman at all), I still greatly enjoy the feel and sense and pure spirit of these plants, so much so that I have started growing two of them, in order to feel closer to their basic sense. I have received great joy from the natural resilience and easy joy brought in by very quick self-propagation of the sweetgrass, and though the dried braids are hard to burn, I will ask the plants I have for permission to harvest and dry and use them when I can, to place them on an aromatherapy burner to release their scent; the white sage is slow growing, and loses the old leaves which it doesn’t need anymore. In their places, new and smaller leaves grow, teaching me the path of ridding myself of unwanted things and self-inflicted cages, and to form and create new things.

I learn something from all the plants I grow, and treat them with respect as much as I can. Each of them teach me things I seem to need to learn at various points of my life. In turn, I take care of them. Best of all, it’s very nice to simply say ‘hi!’ to them each morning when I wake up, and when I return home from a long day out.

I don’t think that I can harvest and use them anytime soon. But in their own paces of growth, my two favorite plants have already taught me a lot to aid in the growth in my life.

(Germination) Seed primers


Ever bought so many seeds from trusted and reputable sources with high hopes of them germinating, but after many days, the seeds remain dormant and even grow fungus? And ever wish you knew exactly what was wrong even after reading and reading the germination instructions and wondering what was missing?

I sure have.

Friends have given me many types of seeds. I’ve joined in mass orders where the seeds bought are from sources which have typically allowed for high germination rates, or easy germination. Yet, the seeds don’t sprout for me, no matter what I do: putting them in a closed container on top of the fridge to add warmth; putting them in closed containers in direct sunlight; heating them up using tealight candles before sowing them. Nope, nothing works.

Then, I was advised by people on Folia to try out seed primers.

If you do a Google search, you will simply get a minimal number of links to sites which provide sale of seed primers, no matter whether in machine form, or in pre-treated paper form. But what do these do?

The FineBushPeople website gives the clearest explanation of what they are: Many wildflower seeds are dormant and need very specific conditions for germination. The smoke seed primer solution contains a combination of natural substances that overcome dormancy and stimulate seed germination. The degree of germination success varies with the species, but on average, treated seeds give at least twice the number of seedlings that untreated seeds do.

So well, I just got my seed primers, and am currently testing it out on twenty-five seeds of four species, all of which I’ve had no luck germinating using any of the traditional and typical methods. These seeds were given to me about a year back and have been kept in the fridge.

I added 12.5ml of water to 1/4 of the seed primer disc and have soaked the seeds in it. Tomorrow, I will sow them in pure vermiculite moistened with water and sealed in a clear container.

I shall update when/if I get any action from the seeds.

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