Sustainability in the Garden
Sustainable practice is becoming central to modern day garden design. This book offers a unique prospective to do so. Using Feng Shui to describe a garden as something of Chi (Qi), Yin and Yang, energy, nature, and the personal relationship between the garden and its owner; a powerful introduction to the forthcoming publication, ‘Feng Shui Sustainable Gardening’. More
A growing awareness is creeping into community perceptions about sustainability, and the relationship it has with natural resource conservation and mankind’s use of them.
Exploitation of natural resources such as timber, fisheries, minerals and land over the last twenty or so years has accelerated through technological innovation in communications and transportation, alongside the relentless growth of cities. The need to support surging urban populations (and their growing affordability), has led to depletion of global fish stocks, unsustainable use of fresh water, and continual destruction of forested lands and natural places. These issues and others are putting at risk natural food chains, climate stabilisation mechanisms, unique animals and rare plant forms.
The growing interest in resource management and conservation is not the realm for grandiose global visions, but comes back to real choices we make in use of land, soil and water, and tempering physical demands on them, in other words, becoming ‘sustainable’.
One of the most accessible and logical places to practice individual sustainability is within the garden. Sustainability in garden practice is likely to become instructed in horticultural institutions and colleges which produce architects, urban planners and garden designers. There’s a compelling reason because sustainability has a past (history), a present and a future.
When I first produced ‘Harmonious Chi Gardening’, I did not wake up to the realisation that Feng Shui is a sustainable practice in itself. Successful Feng Shui practice in the garden or natural environment relies on its parts remaining in harmony, and if we extend Feng Shui practices to encapsulate notions of Taoism, maybe some Zen, we invite our self to link with nature and recognise natural energies associate themselves with nature’s perpetuity, stability and health. We can become part of the equation.
When I produced ‘’Sustainable Feng Shui Gardening’’, I sought to take Feng Shui notions or my understanding of them to another level. I thought OK; gardening can support the relationship Feng Shui has with sustainability, but gardens are also places of energy movements (other than Chi) and these could be assessed in their willingness to perpetuate harmony. They are places of energy inputs such as machinery, labour, chemicals and fertilisers which all have energy pathways extending far beyond the garden gate.
Secondly, I saw gardens as places of creation evolving from something bare to places of beauty, creativity, wonderment and wondrous home for auspicious Chi, but these could be part of everyday places such as an extension to a forest, woodland or prairie, or created from nothing to that of naturalness. A wild, unkempt, native styled garden is a masterly example of a place where nature becomes free to roam and interest its users, and we as their gardeners or protectors, becoming passengers, rather than drivers of their energy and sustenance of their intrinsic qualities. I wanted to explore the relationships natural places have with gardening.
Finally, I recognised the garden place as a place of personal interaction, and the gardener becoming part of the gardens energy, an extension of its energy, and its auspicious or beneficial Chi. The garden’s energy becomes empowering and uplifting for those inside, and hey, that is being sustainable!
Sustainability in the garden could relate to almost anything, if only we knew, or could just accept what becomes sustainable practice? A natural area could be termed sustainable, but it’s not when subjected to climatic influences beyond its control, or changes its characteristics relative to disturbance and modification, and those changes reflected in the age and health of living things.
In the modern day garden, being sustainable is somewhat trendy but how does the gardener become involved, and to what extent do they push themselves to become sustainable gardeners?