The Summer Solstice is a season to celebrate! The longer days and warmth of the sun reminds us to appreciate and acknowledge the generosity of our Earth Mother.
Join us and a special team of healers and musicians on the Summer Solstice at 8 am in the Temple Gardens at Osmosis as we celebrate the sun at the height of its power and rekindle the spirit upon which we have built, and continue to empower our unique culture and community. With the sound of gongs and other healing instruments, we will embark on a Sound Healing journey of conscious and sacred engagement with self, spirit and the earth in a way that is inspiring and deeply nourishing.
The Cedar Enzyme Footbath immediately following the event is $15 with very limited tickets available.
Entry fee of $10 can be applied to any same day service.
By Michael Alliger
The clouds, cold and late rains seem to do what they can to stanch the onset of spring yet plums begin blooming on Valentine’s day as usual and cherries to flower by April with a host of magnolias in between. Our California natives join the fray in the form of pink-flowering currant and blue ceanothus. We meet again the urge of the world to become itself and we gardeners see to our preparations: tools are sharpened, irrigation supplies are inventoried, fertilizers applied and the weeding begins!
Spring pruning of deciduous trees like dogwood and Japanese maple usually begins around April 15th once the new leaves have come out and hardened up, that is, acclimated to sunand weather. The goal of Japanese garden pruning is to maintain an appropriate size (human scale) while instilling a look of age. This look is often a stylized version of much older trees that have been subjected to their environment’s gifts and trials: rain, snow, wind, heat, and drought. While much control and refinement is done in winter, spring follow up pruning is critical to maintaining this vision. While managing size by cutting back ends is paramount, inner foliage is thinned showing the intricacies of branching and the interplay of light and shadow.
Sheared plants are a staple in a Japanese style garden and proper shearing is an art. Along with stone, they are a fundamental grounding element bringing stasis amidst change. While sometimes overlooked, low sheared plants, called tamamono (horizontal oval in shape) can be many. The hard-edged contour is an integral counterpoint to the more natural forms of other trees and shrubs. In Japan, azaleas largely fill this need. Here at Osmosis, for ecological reasons, we use replacements such as escallonia compacta, dwarf berberis and euonymus microphylla. Once new growth emerges they look shaggy, blurring the crisp edge so important to their function. Consequently, a round of shearing is necessary in spring addressing some individuals 2 or 3 times as needed.
Of all plants in our garden pines are the one group allowed to look somewhat unruly in spring. Their new shoots emerge from buds beginning in
February and elongate into a tubular shape known as candles. Though there are many approaches to pine pruning, at Osmosis we allow the candles to extend fully until needles unfold from them. At this time they are removed (cut or snapped off by hand). This technique controls size while the subsequent summer growth is used to develop foliage density and limited incremental extension.
The balance of plants such as nandina, pieris, flowering quince and juniper are pruned as their new growth arises. These complementary shrubs are pruned in a more general way to add context and a natural feel to the garden.
Spring work can be busy here at Osmosis as in most gardens but the softening weather and vibrant life bring joy to every day!
Join us in a 2.5 hour-long guided tour of the Osmosis Kyoto-style Meditation Garden conducted by Osmosis founder Michael Stusser and tree pruning expert Michael Alliger. Through a labyrinth of plants, stones, and water, the garden tells an ancient tale of liberation from the everyday concerns of the world. Visitors will be treated to an in-depth look at the underlying Zen themes built into the rock arrangements and pond layout, as well as information about the planting themes and plant materials. The garden has been built over a period of many years and was designed by the preeminent landscape designer, Robert Ketchell, of Britain.
Tour includes Cedar Enzyme Footbaths, tea and snacks.
Admission: $25. Book a service for that day and get $20 off any service. Space is limited to 14, make your reservations in advance.
Send us your favorite Osmosis Day Spa Sanctuary photo that you captured during your visit!
It can be of the garden, of you and your friends having lunch, a moment in our Cedar Enzyme bath… Email your photo to marketing at osmosis.com or post on Instagram using #osmosisphoto2017! Be sure to follow us on Facebook to see the photos that have been submitted.
Our first place winner will receive our most popular Transformation Package – A Cedar Enzyme Bath, followed by our unique Osmosis Fusion Massage, blending the long, relaxing strokes of Swedish-Esalen with the revitalizing techniques of Shiatsu, Thai, and Chinese massage. Two and a half hours of complete bliss!
Second place will receive a Cedar Enzyme Bath for Two.
Deadline to enter is April 30. There is no limit to how many photos you submit. Winner will be announced the 2nd week in May on our Facebook page & Instagram as well as in our newsletter.
Follow us on Facebook & Instagram and show some love to your photo when it is posted. Tell your friends to “like” your photo and possibly influence our decision! Be sure to use #osmosisphoto2017 when posting on Instagram
We look forward to your photos!
by Michael Alliger
Astrologers say that August is the gateway to autumn and here in Sonoma County that seems to be so true as we see the light become more golden, trees turning color and we sense the occasional cool lilt to a breeze. Changing seasons always brings pause to the garden and the gardener. Autumn is especially a time for reflection; spiritually, soulfully, and in the garden. Looking back we may ask: what have we accomplished? Which of our plans have reached fruition? Which are still developing? And our reflection may lead us forward. What will we be focusing on this winter, time of dormancy, by way of preparation for spring?
Yet autumnal weather also offers us some opportunities for pruning and general garden care. Here in Northern California while the season becomes milder we know that there is a likely possibility for high temperatures still to come. This is an excellent time to replenish garden mulch with a nutrient rich compost or humus-y blend. This will help retain precious moisture as we enter the driest period of the year. Here at Osmosis we prefer composted material rather than mere bark for mulching because plants get the added benefit of natural fertilizing as the winter rains leach nutrients into the soil. Along similar lines it’s important that drip irrigation remain functional and on even as expectations of rain increase.
Hinoki Tree – Unpruned and Pruned
It may go without saying that the falling autumn leaves demand regular raking and sweeping. Not only the paths and beds are swept, but the plants themselves which collect fallen leaves must be groomed daily. The large bay trees along Salmon Creek bordering our garden seem to be among the first to drop, though being evergreen their color show is limited to a cinnamon brown. It is interesting to note that nearby redwood trees are also losing leaves at this time. Even evergreen trees lose leaves in autumn; though with conifers and other evergreens it is subtler than with deciduous trees and may even bring alarm at first sight. At Osmosis we have a number of hinoki trees (a species of Chamaecyparis) whose inner leaves turn brown though they tend to persist until brushed off, another seasonal chore.
Hinoki Tree – Unpruned & Pruned
With regards to pruning this is an excellent time to attend to some of the projects that the busy spring and summer postpone. Many of our conifers (junipers, spruce, cedar) are tended to now. In the event of a spike in heat they are generally tough enough to bear it without signs of stress while their slow-growing nature allows them to be pruned just once a year. We also find time to address some of the background material: a large domed English laurel, California myrtle hedges, and sheared yews, for example.
“At Osmosis we employ the Japanese garden approach to these shrubs wherein we value the older wood for its character and clear some of the young upstart shoots. “
A number of other semi-focal or auxiliary plants receive attention now. Nandinas may be thinned and shaped. The European or western approach might be to cut away the old growth in an effort to “renovate” the plant. A beautiful and delicate plant is the Pieris japonica which is actually related to manzanita and rhododendron. Like it’s two relatives pieris sets its spring flowers in summer/fall.
Conflicting with these developing flowers are last springs spent flower parts and this is a perfect opportunity to clean these off though it takes a careful eye to distinguish the two at first. Late summer/fall is an excellent time for cutback, thinning and styling of magnolia trees. Magnolias represent another instance of a plant setting flower buds in fall for spring show. Magnolias are amongst the first of the spring blooms and here in Northern California they’ll actually be opening in January and February. This limits the notion of winter pruning since we try to interfere with flowering as little as possible while making the tree’s overall appearance exemplary. Pruning in late summer allows enough time for the tree to establish flower buds to replace any lost through shaping.
Fall is the recommended time for thinning bamboo. Thinning bamboo is important because it allows the coming spring’s energy to go into making sturdier more demonstrative culms (shoots). Thinning also reduces the plant’s urge to spread as it has more internal space with less crowding. Fall is also a good time to apply slow release organic fertilizer to bamboo thus encouraging the best new growth in spring.
While there are specific tasks for fall the brief pause can be welcomed with an out-breath of gratitude for all that has gone before and the deep rest that garden life will receive during the coming winter.