Archive for July, 2010

Playing softly, walking softly

Posted by: Heidi

July 26th, 2010 >> my garden, Photos

Taking care of a garden has increased my awareness of the natural world. It’s not just our own little gardens that need to be nurtured and sustained, the whole earth is a garden and its resources are fading away at an increasing rate. I’m trying to play softly in the garden and walk softly on the earth.

In Patrick Lane’s book, “There is a Season”, he describes how he sees the wilderness as a garden and writes about how a gardener can learn many things from a patch of forest. When he wants to understand his garden better he goes out into the forests and meadows to observe how the plants live and where and why they grow.

I’m learning more about how to be kind to the earth and how to best nurture my garden. I’d like my garden to be sustainable, but I still have a lot to learn. I’ve been composting, but the compost is slow to come. I want my garden to be pesticide and chemical free, but I’ve discovered that not all products that are labeled “green” are actually good for the environment. As I add plants to the garden I am starting to look for more native plants but I am still not sure which plants are best suited for my garden.

I’d like my garden to not just be nice to look at but to be practical too. I’ve grown berries and herbs for a few years now and I’m hoping to grow more of my own food in the garden.

This year I’ve added a small vegetable plot and I’ll write more about the veggies next time.

Sharing my playground

Posted by: Heidi

July 7th, 2010 >> my garden, Photos

When I first started gardening I realized very quickly that a garden will never belong to just me. My garden belongs to the many plants that make it their home more than it belongs to me. I am just the caretaker. We also share it with many living creatures including birds, squirrels and numerous insects, some invited guests and some not. Each of the creatures in my garden have their own particular needs and objectives that are different from mine.

I try to be kind to the inhabitants of my garden and have accepted that my agenda may not necessarily be more important than theirs. The garden has taught me to more fully consider the impact of my actions. The overgrown branches of a tree may cast shade in a place where I would like to have sun, but what creature’s home might I destroy if I cut back the branches?

In addition to the wildlife that visits or resides in my garden I also share my garden with a dog who needs room to run and play. He loves to fetch and whoever is in the garden with him is usually happy to oblige when he implores them to throw a ball. While he knows to stay out of the garden beds, he can’t resist chasing a ball that bounces the wrong way. So, an occasional plant is lost due to ball-chasing casualties. While I am always a little sad to lose a plant, I usually feel that it is a small price to pay for the enjoyment that playing fetch in the garden brings. I don’t want a perfect looking garden that no one can enjoy spending time in.

When my son was younger he used to love to help me in the garden. He considered himself to be a ‘scientist’ from a young age and he liked to do ‘experiments’ in the garden:

This wasn’t part of my plan for the garden but I doubt that any other shasta daisy has caused more enjoyment than this one!