Meet Jessica

33098920_1675253345923370_1749710843928379392_nI’d like to feature the lovely ladies working behind the scenes with me for the women’s soul retreat, The Sisterhood Within. As a co-creator, I am happy to be working with these women, who each bring their own perspective and gifts to this vision. My third feature is Jessica Jonovski. (If you missed Sydney or Lori’s feature click here.) Read Jessica’s story and then visit our event site for more details on this amazing retreat opportunity! I hope to welcome new women to my life in the fall!

Yoga instructor, novice herbalist, and permaculture nomad, Jessica Jonovski, has practiced yoga for over 10 years and started teaching in 2015. She was first inspired to teach while practicing with the Africa Yoga Project in Kenya, where she came to appreciate and embrace the deeper gifts of the practice: its universal teachings of mindfulness, presence, and love. Through her later adventures studying, teaching, and traveling in India and Southeast Asia, she eventually found herself immersed in the world of permaculture as well. As her connection to her natural surroundings grew, she came to understand that the teachings of yoga and the teachings of plants were undeniably intertwined – each containing a beautiful world of mysteries begging to be explored!

In addition to being a certified yoga instructor (Sampoorna Yoga, India), Jessica is also a Level II Reiki practitioner (Asian Healing Arts Center, Thailand) and has dabbled in herbalism studies (Appalachia School of Holistic Herbalism, North Carolina), Thai Massage (Shivagakomarpaj, Thailand), and Vipassana meditation. And, along with the other facilitators, recently earned a Permaculture Design Certificate from Grow Permaculture. When in the US, she resides somewhere between the countryside of Old Florida, the mountains of North Carolina, and her homeland of southwest Ohio.

Jessica is guided by the ancient vedic mantra Soham, meaning “I am that”— a reminder that we are all connected to the same Divine source energy, that our souls are interwoven with one another and with all beings on this earth and beyond. It only makes sense for us to allow nothing but love to flow through them. May all beings everywhere be happy and free!

Meet Sydney

2016-05-05 02.24.01I’d like to feature the lovely ladies working behind the scenes with me for the women’s soul retreat, The Sisterhood Within. As a co-creator, I am happy to be working with these women, who each bring their own perspective and gifts to this vision. My second feature is Sydney Wilk. (If you missed Lori’s feature click here.) Read Sydney’s story and then visit our event site for more details on this amazing retreat opportunity! I hope to welcome new women to my life in the fall!

Sydney Wilk is a certified Integrative Nutrition Health Coach and the founder of Plant Love Wellness, a health coaching practice dedicated to helping women make lasting lifestyle shifts. During her sessions with clients she guides them to uncover the connections between food and overall well-being. Drawing on her expertise, she creates custom dietary plans based uniquely on the individual needs of each person. She believes that food is truly medicine, and that trusting your body’s intuition is essential for optimal health.

She is a plant-enthusiast, and is involved in a local community garden that provides food desert areas with access to fresh food, as well as small-scale projects around her home. When not surrounded by plants, you can most likely find her practicing yoga, hiking, reading, trying to interpret her dreams, swimming, making nice-cream or exploring new places with her five-pound fur ball, Louis.

Meet Lori

Growing in Life

Moving to Florida has been a life change that has been difficult, surprising, and a chance for me to embrace the woman I was meant to be. God has a plan for all of us. I’ve discovered that He has bestowed beautiful gifts for me to make mine happen. And most importantly, He’s surrounded me with people who are meant to support and encourage me through this journey.

Meet Sydney

Learning to Dance in the Rain

Meet Lori

The Sisterhood Within- Women’s Soul Retreat

Learning to Let Go

Learning to Grow with a Puppy

Look to the sky for serenity

Music is Spiritual Poetry

Learning to Grow in Ireland

Growing in the UK

The water calls me, challenges me

Everything Gets a Little Dirty in the Garden – and in Life

Learning to Grow in Long, Hot Summers! (notes from Austin, Texas)

Happy May! Many learning experiences include input from others. In the first week of every month, I’d like begin to introduce everyone to gardeners, permaculturists, teachers, spiritual mentors and friends who have inspired and supported my journey. If you are interested in contributing, contact me directly at Thank you!

As the first guest writer, I would like to welcome E. Ray Gard! E. Ray is a gardener, educator and designer in Austin, Texas. He writes his own blog, called Enjoy his article! And thank you, E. Ray!

Learning to grow in long, hot summers! (notes from Austin, Texas)

Hi there, our growing season here in Austin and the rest of surrounding Central Texas is a bit of a head scratcher to most people in the Northern parts of the United States. You see, we’re not quite tropical, thanks to those occasionally cold, albeit short, winter freezes that we get, but we’re not quite temperate, because our seasons are most accurately described as Summer and Fall/Winter?…well, maybe Summer and Not Summer?

Anyway, just like anyone with an unusual shoe size or uncommon first name can tell you, when you are outside of the norm, a perfect fit can be hard to come by, whether it’s shoes or good gardening advice.

So, while the rest of the United States is shuttering their garden sheds for the winter, we find ourselves filling up our greenhouses with seed trays full of kale, cabbages and spinach, getting ready to grow as many greens as we possibly can over the mild winter.

The tricky part (and this is where Florida might recognize the tune) comes in the middle of summer, while our friends to the north are rolling in verdant hills of delicate strawberry plants covered in glossy red fruit, we are staring at wilted fields of explosive, but exhausted squash, okra and tomatoes. By the middle of August, with the hot days followed by hot nights with low or high humidity, a Texas summer can kill or stunt most any vegetable.

On that note:

Tips for Gardening in Long, Hot Summers!

  1. Plants like rest!
    When the long hot days are followed by long hot nights, your plants, even if they’re well-watered, are constantly having to use energy (sugar) and other nutrients to cool themselves and maintain normal function. With this in mind, get to know your plants natural light requirements and be ready to plant some in partial shade because it might mean they can be slower to mature, but maintain productivity throughout the summer and be awesome fall producers once the temperatures start to lower.
  2. Keep your soil safe and hydrated!
    Too much rain can compact bare soils as well as wash nutrients like phosphorous, calcium, magnesium and sodium away, which makes them more acidic. Here in Central Texas, we have a lot of limestone in our soils, so low pH (acid) soils aren’t that common, but the rain can still be a powerful frenemy depending on how much and how often it comes to visit. If you are getting daily rains, be sure that your plants are located away from excessive runoff or pooling, unless they are adapted for that kind of pond living. Lots of water on a regular basis can wash away the smaller components of your soil (like humus and compost), which can actually reduce your soil’s ability to hold water when it’s not raining as well as rob your plants of necessary nutrients.
  3. Plants love great soils!
    This one might seem like a no-brainer, but to the point above about washing too much of the good stuff out of your soils, not only do those plants need water to survive the heat, they need tons of rich soil to pull a wide variety of nutrients out of. In people, this is like thinking that all you need after a run on a hot day is water, no food, no electrolytes, just water. Now imagine that you are running every single day, only drinking water to recover. I think you get my point, you have to feed your soil so your plants can have access to everything they need to run that race every single hot day of the summer.

I hope you found something helpful for learning to grow in Florida in these tips from a fellow gardener a few states to the West in Texas! I write about my own gardening experience and journey into permaculture and regenerative agriculture over on my blog at, so feel free to stop by and take a look for more useful information.


E. Ray Gard is a cowboy way down deep. He loves to experience other cultures and has lived and worked in France, Italy, Ecuador, Honduras and Syria, but currently calls Austin, Texas home. When he’s not covered in dirt and bits of vegetables, he’s learning to play the fiddle, training capoeira or BJJ, or working on his scifi novel. He grew up on a ranch and farm in rural New Mexico and has stayed in agriculture his whole life. He started teaching gardening as a bright-eyed Peace Corps Volunteer in Ecuador after college and has been sharing agriculture as a way to help people improve their health, environment and quality of life ever since. Since then, he’s studied permaculture, holistic management and more recently the Regrarian’s design platform as paths to be a better student of and partner with the land. E.Ray is passionate about healing the problems of the world in a garden. He believes deeply that nurturing a piece of land makes us better dreamers, warriors, lovers and human beings in general.

Experiencing Permaculture

“You can solve all the world’s problems in a garden.” ~Geoff Lawton

If I don’t answer my phone; you don’t hear from me in awhile; or you’re talking to me and I’ve zoned out, it’s because I’m designing native gardens, water catchment systems and tiny homes in my mind.

The past two weeks I filled my brain with information from several disciplines as I explored the idea of permaculture at Koreen Brennan’s Farm. I believe I just left gardening heaven in the form of a garden summer camp. And it was magical!

I discovered micro-rhizomes, mycelium, edible weeds, design concepts, keyhole systems and much more. Originally, I had enrolled in this course to learn and organize concepts to use for my organic community garden and holistic healing center. I had no idea that I would walk away with far more than the expansion of my own plant knowledge.

Permaculture is a design, a lifestyle, a business model, and a state-of-mind. It’s a lifestyle that I’ve been living and craving to dive deeper into. Apparently, my tribe lives in this world. These people are me. They understand without explanation. They are open to innovative ideas and adventure at a depth I rarely experience. But something I don’t think I can live without. I think we just formed an intentional community by saying, “yes” to permaculture. And that’s only the beginning.

Though, we were sad to leave, we weren’t meant to stay there together. We are meant to inspire, support and encourage each other. We are meant to take that first step toward the unknown, to accept where we are, to trust, to understand each other, to be our own adventures, and to believe. We aren’t just certified to share our passions; we are meant to make our dreams a reality. Thank you, Koreen!