Wednesday, September 5, 2012


Last Saturday my daughters and I went for a drive so that I could see the art show at Fine Eye Gallery. Along the way, we stopped in at a few shops, one of which is my favorite little garden shop. As I walked around inside, I noticed lots of things that I have at home and commented to one of the customers that I encountered. She commented that we might all have a few of these things but it's definitely the shop's "way" with staging them that makes them so appealing. I agree.

As I walked around the outside I snapped a few photos of things that appealed to me and noticed that "I have that metal rack in my yard", "I have that chair in my yard", "I have that wood cook stove in my yard", etc. Yes...but is it the same? Well, not quite, although I am really working on fine-tuning my yard and the way that I place things so that it does have that appeal to others as well.

Maybe it is as simple as feng shui in the garden. According to what I have been reading, there are eight distinct areas in the yard that will help you achieve maximum benefit from feng shui especially if you use each area for activities related to the part of your life that it governs.

But, maybe it's just as simple as having a good eye or knowing just what feels right. I overheard one of the customers tell her friend that day that this garden exhibited good taste and made junk feel chic. Some people just have a knack for making junk look and feel chic, don't you think? The stuff they collect or have in their homes and gardens is not just run-of-the-mill or trendy. It has patina or rust on it and has a place of honor in the garden. Every item is cherished and made special just by the way it is showcased. I love that old saying that I have heard repeated over and over throughout my life: one man's junk is another man's treasure. And, I find it exactly right.

There also has to be a balance of light and shade in a garden. Light isYang and shade is Yin. In order to have balanced Ch'i in your garden these two need to be balanced as well. Ch'i flows from areas of yin to yang and back again constantly so it needs to keep moving smoothly. Encourage sunlight and provide shade in your garden. I know that I like the way my garden looks early in the day, before the hot sun comes out and washes out all the color. But, it also needs the sunshine to make the flowers grow. If it were all shade then I wouldn't have the benefit of a vegetable garden or bright flowers that like to grow in the sun. I do encourage shade-loving plants on the shady side of my home and I have been planting many varieties of rhododendrons and azeleas in that area. I can't wait until next Spring to see all the colors explode.

Soften a shed with plantings; paint it a pale blue or green to diffuse its functionality. Is a garden structure just ornamental? If so, take care to site it correctly on your property and possibly leave the roof open to let the ch'i flow in and out.

These are all new concepts to me but I am going to take them to heart when I continue to plan my garden in the years to come. I noticed from reading that ch'i likes to move in curves and bends rather than in straight lines. Perhaps this is why I love the maples that I have planted. And the oaks, with their curvy leaves, seem to be situated just right in my garden. They also provide that much needed shade when the sun is at its hottest mid-day. And I just read that I shouldn't leave large areas of flowerbeds empty for several months during winter as this will have a deadening effect on the ch'i in that area and also the part of my life governed by that part of the garden will suffer too. So very interesting! I will plant things have have some winter interest in those beds and allow the bed to have something living instead of remaining empty.

Each day I learn something new. Each year I learn even more. For me, that is the secret to life and what keeps things interesting to me. I never want to get to a point in my life where I feel like I know it all. I want to continue learning new things and growing younger as I am growing older. Is that a paradox? Perhaps to some it might be. But not to me. If it weren't for this grey hair (of which seems to be getting more grey and more thin the older I get) I would swear that I was still 18...OK...maybe 40...but isn't it all relative?? And isn't 60 the new 40?


  1. it is really interesting how small changes and staging them right can make all the difference....there feels like some interesting wisdom in us all having the same things its just what we do with them...

  2. funny..I was awe struck by the relaxed, yet complex, so inviting.....what a wonderful garden space you have...Then I read your piece...ha have a good eye.....and you are right ...some people just a talent for placement....I think love of objects is you is shade and light
    We must love the garden to make love to a way
    and I think you do....Can't wait to see what you do with your objects re-placed........

  3. Thank you for sharing feng shui information about gardens...even though I have what I consider Zen gardens.. Japanese and Asian plants and statues etc with water features and koi ponds etc, I had not considered the feng shui aspects of gardening. I certainly do have lots of collections.. bird nests, bird cages, rocks etc... and I am going to investigate this further... especially the chi energy in my gardens.