Hello and welcome!

My sister and I have started a new venture – Petal Star, an organic flower farm located high in the lush and lovely, Appalachian mountains. We humbly begin Petal Star with a lifelong love of flowers and experience in food and flower crops; floral design and landscape architecture.

We set up our greenhouse for getting an early jump on Spring planting and are trying out some of Floret Flower’s new seed offerings along with a host of other seeds, bulbs, corms and so forth. Many are heirlooms and we hope to get more from a great seed swap coming up in March.

Despite winter cold, I was most excited to be planting seeds today. There is something so amazing about putting dried bits of matter into soil with absolute beauty emerging later in vibrant, living color. Sheer alchemy!

Planting larkspur, Icelandic poppies, snapdragons and more today in starter packs jumpstarting the Spring planting season.
Petal Star| Aerie Earth and Sea – 2016

Thanks so much,
Jane and Jennifer at Petal Star

Reindeer Food – Deer Moss – Cladonia rangiferina (Cladoniaceae)

reindeer moss2
Cladina evansii (Cladoniaceae) ©2015 Aerie Earth & Sea

Deer moss and often, reindeer moss, is one of my favorite mosses – that really is not a moss, but lichenized fungi from the Cladoniaceae family.

Cladonia grows by spreading a patchy carpet on the floor of coniferous forests and alpine tundra. Stumbling upon this soft, sage-colored moss is a real treat.

While Cladonia (rangiferina) provides food for caribou and reindeer in more northerly climates, it can also be found as far south as Florida; grayish-green Cladina evansii and yellowish Cladina subtenuis.

Cladonia perforata – CC


An interesting Cladina growing only in Florida, Cladonia perforata is endangered and quite easy to miss since there is little to be found en masse from habitat destruction.

Reindeer – CC



Rudolph – CC

Reindeer moss provides energy needed for circumnavigating the globe.

Wishing you and all those you hold dear the Merriest Christmas!

Orchid Love

Orchid Leaves – Transitions ©2015 Aerie Earth & Sea – Print Available ETSY SHOP

Collecting orchid leaves in three stages of decline or rather decay, I was struck by the immediate beauty these three formed when placed next to one another. The darker green in the back leaf maintained green made possible by chlorophyll, the middle leaf, yellow from lack of chlorophyll.

Limited chlorophyll allows carotenoids and anthrocyanins residing in the leaf to become visible. These give leaves the yellow (carotenids) and russet, purplish (anthocyanins) colors. In the foreground of the altered photograph is a dried, semi-crumpled leaf with dark spots designating further decay.

Typically I gravitate toward the blooms of anything that has them, but I really found these three leaves striking. The orchid continued to hold it’s lovely blooms despite the leaf dropping.

Some of the greatest examples of botanical art are found in plates/sketches created by early plant hunters.

This is an awesome example:Cattleya labiata  and var. semialba discovered in 1818 in Brazil. Very fragrant, this orchid is extremely beautiful in person and is so perfect that it almost doesn’t look real.