Our backyard is a blank
This past summer we took
out a couple of tall, shady trees that had grown aggressively
out of control, threatening the perimeter-defining block
walls. The shrubbery that lined the walls had become straggly
with age. Out they came.
"Our backyard is
not a disaster," I recently observed,
diplomatically, to DH. "But it could be spruced up."
Truth be known, it is the
I don't want a backyard.
I'd like a garden there. An
inviting garden. Yes, this is what I'd like: an inviting garden.
So today, Iggy drove down from Claremont to look things over.
Iggy is DH's friend and colleague,
one who is an architect of buildings
and gardens. Over lunch, he familiarized himself with our
"wants and needs."
peaceful. A niwa.
DH is thinking tropical.
We are both attuned to
plants, particularly fragrant ones. We are leaning toward nostalgic plantings of our
childhood, like plumeria and ginger.
We're both thinking of
enhancing the ki (also known as Qi or chi) elements of fire,
earth, metal, water, and wood, especially the use of flowing water
in copper receptacles.
ki: Universal energy, capable of
infinite expansion and contraction, which can be directed but not
contained by the mind. It is the cosmic ocean in which everything
We give Iggy a crash
course on ki energy in the garden. We make it clear to him that we
have no interest in the nouveau versions of Feng Shui (Lillian Too
or Lin Yun's Black Hat Sect), so popular among New Agers these days,
but instead the ancient, traditional version of energy-nature
patterns (Larry Sang).
To Westerners, ki may sound like quaint
folklore; to others, perhaps even hocus pocus or mumbo-jumbo. But
Iggy has Cuban roots, he loves tropical plants and Hawai`i.
to ancient ideas that are new to him:
Shaul's article: Traditional FS Landscaping
on PK Odle & Traditional FS in the Garden
We agreed that the
rectangular brick and cement patio that is attached to the house
must go. So will the three-tiered cement fountain that came
with the house, which has no ki-retaining properties.
After measuring and
checking the cardinal geographical points (i.e., NSEW), Iggy drew
the dimensions of our backyard onto his laptop's screen, and let his
creative mind run wild.
We like what Iggy has
conjured up in that short time:
A tropical garden with
palm and plumeria trees that will provide shade and coolness, and
beneath them, ti, ginger, and fern shrubbery.
A copper fountain that
spills water along two sides of the garden via spouts that embrace
the central lounging area. It will be electrically wired so
I can work outdoors.
A peaceful, little Zen
garden for my meditation needs with "less is more"
gravel and stones, separated from the tropical zone with a low
Lighting, so the
garden may be enjoyed at night.
What can be conceived, can be
"Life is a Gift."
you silver linings,
P.S. If you would
like to share a portion of yourself with words, in response to
this journal entry, you may do it here.
only gift is a portion of thyself..."
Ralph Waldo Emerson
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