Sunday, November 4, 2007
I Accidentally Feng Shuied My Butterfly Garden
(Thanks to Gina for the post title!)
I've been working on my butterfly garden this weekend. This is the first time that I've created a bed the right way: marking out the contours of the bed first, digging up the sod, amending the soil, and then...and only then...planting my shrubs. Usually what happens is that my car will be full of plants and I'm wandering around with a shovel thinking "Where can I put these things before I have to go to work Monday morning?" I end up digging holes wherever there is space just to get them in the ground, and invariably a month later, I decide that they would look much better over there.
That system was the chief problem with the butterfly garden. Things were jammed too close together, colors clashed, the bench was in the wrong place, the feng shui was all screwed up, and it just wasn't working.
I dug up two lantana, three spirea, a butterfly bush, and a hummingbird mint. To these I added two more butterfly bushes which have been sitting in pots on the deck all summer, some coneflowers from the bargain table, and started positioning and repositioning everything. It felt rather like trying a large ring of keys to find the one to open a door. At last, the tumblers fell into place, and the garden seemed to say to me, "Yes. This will be beautiful." Then I started digging.
I plunged my pitchfork deep into the bottom of the compost pile and came up with a trove of crumbly brown compost that I mixed in with topsoil and the native red clay, set my plants down into this mixture, and gave them a drink of our precious water. (From the watering can.)
The last element to place was the garden bench. I tried it in several spots until I found one that felt right.
You know, I used to snicker at people who did all that feng shui stuff, worrying about whether the energy was escaping from their garden or getting blocked in a corner or whatever it's not supposed to do. But I'll tell you this. The old butterfly garden never was a very inviting or relaxing place to sit. The bench was there, but I never settled in for any length of time. It was almost like "something" in the garden was nervous. In the last two days, though, even with all we have to do, Teresa and I have spent more time there than we ever have before. Maybe there is something to those ancient Chinese principles. After all, the Chinese had already developed an advanced civilization while my Celtic ancestors were bashing each other over the head with clubs, so I'm not going to scoff at something just because I don't understand it.