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Introduction: First of a series on Feng Shui gardening principles.
Rose Hart is licensed in MN
|Feng Shui Gardening|
IT'S BEEN A LONG, HARD WINTER
We rush to surrender to our springtime delights, and that "surrender" mind set is perfect for bringing some Feng Shui into our gardens. At the root of Feng Shui is the Tao, a Chinese philosophy that emphasizes "going with the flow", abandoning our control urges, and recognizing the "chi", or vital universal forces. These universal forces are described in the Creative Order, a wheel in which each element has a place and purpose, and an associated shape and color. Very much like the familiar color wheel, we can find each element's complementary and threatening energies in the Control Cycle.
Wood feeds fire, fire burns to create ash, earth contains metal, molten metal flows like water, water enables wood to grow. Wood is a column, pillar shape, be it a growing conifer or a pergola post, and its color is green. Fire is an angled shape, and its color is red. Earth is flat, and it has multiple colors: yellow, orange and brown. Metal is a dome shape, and its colors reflect metallic surfaces, white and silver. Water is a serpentine shape, its representative colors are dark blue and gray and black. Using these principles, we can design our gardens to achieve maximum production and beauty.
WIND and WATER: The first step is to understand the already present energies in our garden. Then, through planning and planting we encourage a pooling of positive energy, and part of this skill is an appeal to all the five senses. Listen to the wind, watch how it typically eddies and tunnels across your garden, and see this as an energy flow bringing, or depriving it of "chi" nourishment. As a practical example, a solid fence or building redirects the wind, causing turbulence and scouring the topsoil. Were those solid objects replaced by a hedgerow or a lattice fence, chi flows more freely. This becomes a practical matter when water demanding plantings are wind scoured and watering them becomes a daily chore.
Weeds are another natural indicator of where our garden is out of balance, due to soil compaction, poor drainage, low fertility, alkalinity or acidity. However, some weeds are beneficial- nettle attracts Goldfinches and slows the decay of ground tubers. Marjoram flowers attract bees, wasps and other pollinating insects, a plus for annuals.
Feng Shui gardening also takes advantage of companion plants, those plants that enhance the growth and productivity of each other. A companion plant to the popular tomato is parsley, its seed germination is started in April, and because parsley takes so long to germinate, its seeds also can be started now.
Resources used for this article: The Feng Shui Garden, by Gill Hale, Storey Books, 1998.
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