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Edina, MN

Part Two: A series on Feng Shui gardening principles.

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Feng Shui Gardening

Last month we presented some basic Feng Shui gardening principles. Firstly, to closely observe our patch of earth, and we also introduced the Feng Shui Control Cycle concepts associated with wood, fire, earth, metal, water; along with their related symbolic shapes, colors and meanings. We gave an example of the water and wind element in planning our garden's "chi", or energy flow; and how weeds and companion plants can help to direct our efforts toward greater garden balance and harmony. This month, we explore yin and yang balance.

Yin is the low, weak and left facing, it is the dark winter night. Yang is the light summer day, what is high, right and strong. In springtime we look at what yin has wrought in order to get to our yang. Over time the duality of yin and yang change; last year's sheltering shrub is this year's chi blocking fence, collecting litter and leaves that clutter our energy flow. Allowing chi to course through our garden is symbolic of allowing prosperity to flow thorough our lives.

In the same way, the Creative Cycle balances the Destructive Cycle that is: Wood penetrates Earth, Earth absorbs Water, Water extinguishes Fire, Fire melts Metal, and Metal cuts Wood. As an example, a Water element like a bird bath needs balance through its corresponding element Fire- whether that's a trianglular symbol or red color form. In our Creative Cycle of planning the garden, a "keyhole" bed design provides not only a larger planting area than rows, it avoids "Sha Chi", or the straight lines of "poison arrows". Utilizing raised beds and mulching also furthers our twin goals of harnessing chi and conserving energy. It naturally follows that the Destructive Cycle of manure and compost are preferable soil replenishment methods.

Our objective in a Feng Shui garden is to co- exist with the natural energies. Through the balance of light and dark, geometric and organic, we create a restful and yet energizing space.

Resources used for this article: The Feng Shui Garden, by Gill Hale, Storey Books, 1998.

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