I’m delighted to share with you a personal message from Jan Sarre-Smith, the founder of Janesce Skincare. In her own delightful words, she shares this season’s botanical adventures at Claret Ash Farm where all the beautiful, organic plants that go into Janesce Skincare are lovingly grown. Now in her mid-80’s, Jan shows no signs of slowing down and continues to inspire us with her passion and wisdom. Enjoy.
~ Janine Tait
Autumn Greetings from Claret Ash Farm
BY JAN SARRE-SMITH
Autumn at Claret Ash Farm has been erratic this year, which can lead to plants that are somewhat confused! Fortunately, by closely observing the needs of our plants – topping up water or manure, or cooling the soil with an extra layer of pea straw or compost – we have managed to keep our Janesce plants happy and well.
This attentiveness to our botanical friends reminds me of something I once heard a wise old farmer say: “the best fertilizer for the plants is the sound of the farmers footsteps.” Never underestimate the importance of positive and caring energy in the garden.
The autumn harvest from the summer’s sow has been smaller, but the variety has been great. We have rose geranium, marshmallow, sage, roses (red, yellow and pink this year – good for making the Gentle Almond Wash), calendula, echinacea, rosemary and a small amount of chamomile. The lavender, which seemed to like the hot, dry conditions, has done especially well, resulting in a huge 200 litre drum of the lavender flowers. The stalks were put through the chipper to be used as mulch in all the gardens once it has rotted down over winter.
I am now preparing plants for next season’s programme. There has been very little rain this season, so I have taken extra measures to nurture the soil. Preparation of the soil is an important part of a good growth pattern and we have paid a lot of attention to the liquid manures which boost the plants when the soil is dryer than usual. Calendula are already popping up through the soil and I water them every night to encourage growth.
The one plant that has not appeared is the stinging nettle, used in the Soothing Mist and E.C. Lotion B. It usually grows in the dampness under a pine tree but this year it is sulking after the lack of rain!
Early in May I will start to get the plant extracts ready for the long maturing process over the winter months when all the energy of the growth season moves into the earth. So much goes on under the soil that we do not see until spring when life comes back to the outer world.
As winter approaches, I look forward to retreating to the glass house where I will set up cuttings of various plants. This year I am challenging myself to try to get some of our very aromatic red centifolia roses to strike! I will be a busy lady in a warm and light hot house enjoying time with my seedlings and thinking of all the people who get to experience the powerful effects of these lovely plants.