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HISTORY | DOGS | HOME | FOOD | GARDEN

Feng Shui Gardens

About five years ago, when Feng Shui was all the rage, I read a book called Feng Shui in the Garden by Nancilee Wydra. Its subtitle is, "Simple Solutions for Creating Comforting, Life-affirming Gardens of the Soul." These are spaces that act in harmony with our hearts and minds to empower, sooth, balance and sustain us.

According to the book, we should have eight gardens within our garden. At the time I worked out which was which. There are a few details I have yet to fill in. The eight gardens are:

A Power Garden. This one is an overlook, a perspective from which the garden as a whole is visible and radiates out. That would be the deck, from which the garden centerbed, wildflower field and pool are all in view.

A Meditation Garden. It should have something like a figure-eight, a repeating pattern. It should be quiet and it needs a door. This is the breathing bench, as we call it, because when you sit there, the breeze always seems to be flowing up from the canyon, and the air always seems very fresh. Two variegated ligustrums used to form a door. I need to construct a new one.

A Lover's Garden. This should have a stunning entrance and lots of color. That's easy: it's the pool. From the west yard, you enter through the pergola.

A Healing Garden. Small and ceilinged, it needs an ornament like a chime at the entrance. This is the West yard, but I think I need an ornament. There is one: the urn. But it's not at the entrance.

Wily's CornerA Child's Garden. An adventurous hiding-place: this is Wily's corner. Hidden from view by one of the big elms and a bank of yellow jasmine, it is walled in on the east by golden bamboo and on the south by a brick wall. From inside Wily's corner, you can see Norma's birdfeeder. Doves, sparrows, jays, squirrels and cats abound. It is a dog's delight.

A Fertility Garden. This is the kitchen garden, and it is supposed to have a whirlygig. I guess I'd better get one.

A Winter Garden. It should be remote, like the southwest corner. On the stone bench back there, when it is still and sunny, no matter how cold it is, you will be warm.

A Retirement Garden. Familiarity is the key to this one. This is the Barbeque terrace and the chairs on the back porch. Close to the house, we cook and sit out there in all weather.

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