The Garden Awakening: Designs to Nurture Our Land and Ourselves
Drawing inspiration from forest gardening and permaculture traditions, the award-winning garden designer Mary Reynolds encourages us to create a bond with the land to restore its health and feel its energy. She demonstrates how to create a magical garden that is an expanding, living, interconnected ecosystem. The Garden Awakening is thus a garden design book with a difference, where Mary encourages us to look at the land the way a parent looks at a child - as a gift and a responsibility.
Mary shows how using an integrated living system in the garden removes the need for the incessant war on nature. She explains how to design a balanced ecosystem in the garden using the ancient multi-tiered approach of forest gardening, a system based on observing and mimicking nature. This design approach allows ecosystems to be whole and in balance while providing a place for human beings to live happy and productive lives.
This beautifully illustrated book is both art and inspiration for any garden lover seeking to create a positive and natural space. It combines practical step-by-step instructions with spiritual, ancient Celtic stories to help you awaken any garden space, nurturing it to benefit both the land and the people in it.
To transform a garden into a beautiful, wild area that embraces the spiritual side of nature, Mary suggests elements that should guide our design. She describes these elements in a winning manner and in detail, explaining the importance of communicating with the land and working with it, rather than bending it to the gardener's will.
Her advice is to introduce patterns, shapes and symbols of nature like circles and spirals and selecting areas for rest and meditation as part of the design.
After restoring its wellness and forming an alliance with the land and listening to its needs, she suggests first planting a shelterbelt (hedgerows, trees and tall shrubs) to protect from exposure.
Then Mary shows how to bring the plan to life by planting the seven layers of a forest garden:
- Upper Canopy Trees
- Sub-canopy trees
- Herbaceous plants
- Ground cover
- Underground plants
- Climbers and vines
The Garden Awakening includes detailed lists of plants for the different forest garden layers, with information on preferred soil type, height, spread, fruiting time, and much more. There are tips on pest and slug control and natural remedies for the treatment of leaf blight, scab, mosaic disease and other garden problems.
Mary's activism and support for a gentler approach to gardening is the subject of the movie 'Dare to be Wild', It is a romantic story of the local girl made good and plots the acceptance of her wild gardening principles by the garden design establishment.
The Garden Awakening leaves us in no doubt that we need to nurture and protect our soil by allowing it to be a bit wild. It gives us the knowledge to do just that.
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