I guess it’s no secret that by having limited resources is where true creative thought comes from. But first it’s important to define what limited resources means. For me, most of my life, it’s been economic as I lived my life as a musician and before that with a single mother who was physically limited. Of course, it doesn’t stop there. Because I was limited in my resources, that meant I was limited in my living space, food that was available, clothes that I wore and where I shopped, traveling and well, it’s a bit of a spiral. This is not a curse or a “poor me”. This has been the greatest gift that I was ever given. Through the limitations is where my sense of “forced” creativity began to thrive. For example, when growing up, I lived in an upper flat, our backyard was a driveway but we grew grape leaves on the fence (which my mother would use to make stuffed grape leaves), along with herbs in pots and sometimes potatoes in a barrel. There were mirrors on the living room wall to make it look bigger and bless my dear old mom, she cooked everything from scratch. Like most poor cultures and indigenous tribes, great food comes out of being forced to use cuts of meats, unusual spices and vegetables that would not be considered by the rich folk. The food is usually more colorful, healthier and delicious than starred restaurants. To this day, my mother’s food was the best that I have ever had. But what does this have to do with Gardening, Taoism and a more Radical way of thinking.
Well, to be honest, I have always been a proud carrying Radical – Gardening nor Taoism had anything to do with my basic nature. No matter what someone tells me, I know there is a better way. I know there is no such thing as an expert because you can’t be an expert on what hasn’t yet been invented and since just about every thing we are doing bears improvement I continue to be radical in thought. Because I was raised to investigate my own truths and coming from a long line of people who were much the same (my grandfather would stand on a box in a public park and preach for rights of the worker), this was the absolute norm in my home. To this day, I can’t believe what people believe, but that is for another newsletter. So yes, what you may think sounds absurd I may think is worth a try.
So try I do. When moving into my new small garden, I could see it’s challenges. There was nothing. A blank canvas framed by a cyclone fence, garage, cement driveway, view of the back of neighbors houses and a crappy patch of grass. How could I turn this into the garden I have always wanted. So, I sat quietly on the patch of grass, later to be turned into a deck and looked, meditated, dreamed, researched and thought. Slowly the vision came. Sitting quietly in the moment, not expecting anything other than looking at the big blue sky was my Taoist way. No expectations. No regrets. Just random thoughts that finally formed into a vision. There wasn’t anything to distract me. Not one bird, not one bush – nothing.
As we began to work with our friend Karen, who designed the shape of the boxes and gravel floor along with the fountain, we could see what it could become. Each thing we added, would lead to a new thought, always radical in approach because the space demanded it – which we could hear because both my husband and I have learned to listen to great ideas that happen someplace above our hair. Within two months, we had begun to develop an eco-system. Vegetables grew, birds visited the newly placed feeders, found pieces of wood and pots from the side of the road became interesting points of view, rats disappeared with a hard working garden cat, privacy fence went up giving us a border to work with and that was just the beginning.
With our combined radical thinking, we now see that our garage can be remodeled into a green house, for now the driveway can be decorated with a Tuscan gold masonary paint, fences will have plants that climb, tungsten wire will connect from the garage to the privacy fence that will give hanging pots a place to live.
So for now, when we aren’t tolling away in the garden, we sit and dream. Living out possibilities. Living in the gratitude of being alive and able to imagine. Living in the knowing that dreams reveal themselves. Living with the knowing that visions are pursued turning the conservative thought into a radical one. Living in the revelation of the thought of how grand life really is.
From my garden to yours.
Now for the Garden Tips!
I’m Never Home to Water!
Talking to some of you, forgetting to water or just the fact that you travel can be a problem. Well, how about watering your pots every 7 to 9 days. This solution has been used in Mexico for the last 400 years and before them by the Aztecs.
Help! I can’t keep pesky animals out of my garden!
Have critters, birds and more getting into your garden? Here is another solution. We just started using the covered hoops that you can get at English Gardens and we love them. When we were where the deer were prevalent, we used to keep a boom box in the greenhouse tuned to talk radio. The deer never came into our garden because they thought there were humans there.
Make friends with your bugs!
Bugs on your plants are telling you what is wrong with your soil. If the plant isn’t completely healthy the bugs will eat the leaves so that the plant can decompose and increase the nutritional content of the soil. They are communicating. Learn to listen and put the damn pesticides away.
No dig gardening!
We have just adopted this philosophy (remember I am a member of the radical thinking club). The thinking on this is that if you rototill your soil then it interferes with the natural matrix of the soil.
There can be various reasons for this. But if there isn’t much rain, don’t expect your plants to like water that has chlorine and fluoride in it. Plants (not to mention our bodies) don’t want chemicals. We are going to install rain barrels this year, but next on our list is to put in a water system that will strip all of that crap out. We have a something installed for our drinking and shower water but it’s time to go for a larger system. Aquasauna has a very affordable system for the house and it is the best I have been able to find.
I talked about this last week. We just got done planting it (well Theresa did). It was my idea and I built the wood structure. It looks amazing. Now we are talking about doing to all around the deck. Stumperies may be a throwback of a bygone age, but – perhaps thanks to the current trend for all things retro – they could once again command a place in the garden, creating a cornucopia of planting opportunities and providing a haven for wildlife. You can go as big or as small as you would like. Great for under trees and bushes. You might even get mushrooms…great for the compost if you can’t eat them.