Marin IJ Articles
February 20, 2015
Dot Zanotti Ingels
We are all looking for a little slice of paradise in our gardens. We want our gardens to be a place to unwind, entertain and get closer to nature. The secret to achieving this goal is to balance everything in your garden.
The best reward for my gardening efforts is a lasting and personal space that I can share with flora, fauna, family and friends. This means I make a plan to balance design, decoration, planting and maintenance in my garden.
Master Gardeners are always talking about integrated pest management (IPM). A proactive IPM approach encourages the use of methods that support long-term prevention or suppression of pest problems with minimum impact on human (and pet) health, the environment and non-target organisms. A central principle in IPM is the integration of several control methods such as:
• Planting resistant varieties of our favorite plants and planting a variety of species to attract pollinators and beneficials to our yards.
• Environmental controls and cultural practices such as planting the right plant in the right place, caring for our soil, proper fertilization, proper watering, and keeping the garden free of debris and weeds.
• Biological controls include conserving beneficial organisms by the judicious use of pesticides. An IPM program can often be carried out with almost no use of chemical controls.
Following these scientific principles brings balance to our vegetative garden but, to me, it is equally important to apply design principles to my garden so I am just as welcome there as my plant and insect friends. Everything in our lives is connected. I want my garden to nurture me. I want it to be an extension of my indoor space. I want a symbiotic relationship between me and my garden. I want a tranquil place in nature that is inviting, relaxing and energizing.
Feng shui is the art and science of creating harmony and balance in our environment. It is the understanding of vital life force (chi) energy present in all living things. The goal of a feng shui garden is to work with the beauty of nature and enhance all of the earth’s elements — such as wood, water, metal, fire and earth — to achieve the balance and positive energy flow we want in our overall landscape design.
The five elements of feng shui can be represented in the garden by plants and objects. Here are some of the hardscape approaches to bring the elements into your garden:
• Earth — soil, rocks and boulders and clay flowerpots
• Wood — an arbor, planting boxes, benches
• Water — a fountain or birdbath
• Fire — solar lighting, lanterns, candles, firepit
• Metal — wind chimes, planters, furniture
What do feng shui and IPM have in common? That everything is connected. Universal life principles, the wisdom of feng shui and IPM work together to create a dynamic, healthy and beautiful garden.