Conflict in a garden is all too easy to generate. I remember planting a couple of Bauhinia galpinii shrubs in a garden bed near one of our car ports, leaving them basically unattended for the next five years. When it finally proved difficult to find the entrance to the car port, I was forced to take stock of these two shrubs. They now covered an area twenty metres (yards) long, by ten metres wide, at an average height of four to five metres!
I had no previous experience with this shrub. According to the books, this variety of Bauhinia grows to approximately two metres in height, and the same in width. The reality was very different. I was literally growing hard work. It took me days to cut, prune and clear away. By then I was so fed up with the plants that I got rid of them! One such shrub regularly pruned is manageable, but even then you need to like pruning when a shrub can make metres of growth annually.
Lawn Budget: You Pay to Fertilize It and Then To Cut It
A lawn is a similar situation. Many people pay to water and fertilize the lawn so they can then pay to have it cut and pay to have the clippings taken away. How crazy is this! Mind you, these are garden owners, or renters, they are not gardeners.
Okay, so you have kids and they need a lawn to play on. That’s good, most kids seem to want only to play on computers and play-stations these days. Statistics indicate they spend 48% of their leisure time on them!
However, apart from the family who needs a lawn for social reasons, there are many thousands of garden owners that unthinkingly pay to grow it, pay to cut it, and pay to get rid of it. In America there must be tens of thousands of streets where this is the reality for the majority of gardens. And they even water and fertilise it, just to make it grow faster!
Watch Out For Love at First Sight!
Another ‘growing trouble’ scenario is when people visit a garden centre and fall in love with a tiny tree that has a label showing the picture of the most beautiful flowers you could imagine. A tree that when fully grown has the potential to wreck the foundations of the house, or block out the sunlight for much of the day – and the flowers will eventually be so high in the air you need binoculars to see them!
Despite all the gardening education on television, this is still quite a common occurrence. Resist. Most garden centres give good advice these days, but if they should tell you, “Yes, it can grow large but it is easily pruned each year,” back off.
It is not easily pruned each year. It is laboriously and grudgingly pruned each year until the year it gets missed. Believe me, eventually you will have a huge and very expensive problem that you, personally, have grown.
Potted Plants: One Type Does Not Fit All
As a person who loves plants, I have a modest collection of my own. Nothing elaborate or too demanding because I spend several months on tour each year, and other plant carers can get nervous with fickle plants.
Many people search for plants that are exotic, different, and I can understand this, but often the most different are overlooked simply because they are common, plentiful, and inexpensive. Take the Venus fly trap, Dionea musculipa, as a perfect example. You can buy them in almost any garden centre in most western countries, at plant stalls in some country markets, and even in many of the supermarkets.
To me, the humble Venus fly trap is the most astonishing plant on the planet. It can move fast and effectively. Every time I watch a Venus fly trap close its cellulose toothed trap with such smooth precision, I marvel. How incredible! This is vegetation, not some disguised animal. And it is so easy to grow. All you need is a mix of peat and perlite, stand its pot in a dish of water with plenty of morning sun, and it simply grows, offering this marvel of the plant kingdom.
Connecting with Nature: Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder
On the other hand, maybe it is all in the eye of the beholder. Maybe I see such an astonishing plant because I don’t take it for granted. People do, you know. One glance, and for many people the Venus fly trap is ignored. Been there, seen that!
We all too easily develop a casual subconscious relationship with Nature, even with our own garden. If you want a relationship with Nature that takes you into the miraculous, then you have to be fully and consciously present. You have to be with it. Only in this way are you open to the deeper levels of the subtle, unseen, hidden, metaphysical Nature.
*Subtitles by InnerSelf
©2011. All Rights Reserved.
Reprinted with permission of the publisher,
Findhorn Press. www.findhornpress.com.
This article was adapted with permission from the book:
Conscious Gardening: Practical and Metaphysical Expert Advice to Grow Your Garden Organically
by Michael J. Roads.
Techniques for biodynamic and organic gardening combine with spiritual knowledge in this guide to planting in tune with the earth. Written by an expert gardener who had an awakening into consciousness while landscaping, the handbook offers both practical knowledge on the physical aspects of gardening—such as mulching, compost, compounds, insects, and soil protection—as well as the more metaphysical side—such as the spirit of the land, garden energy, and the unseen connections to the earth.
About the Author
Michael J. Roads is a farmer, a gardener, and the author of several gardening and metaphysical books, including Getting There, The Magic Formula, and Talking with Nature. In 1977, he started a community with a group of like-minded people, and he began conducting retreats and seminars in 1990. Visit Michael either in the US at www.michaelroadsusa.com or in Australia at www.michaelroads.com