What would nature do?

Discussion in 'Garden Design' started by Alaskan Rover, Jun 22, 2010.

  1. Alaskan Rover

    Alaskan Rover New Seed

    Jun 16, 2010
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    Alaska and Virginia
    A case can certainly be made for a well-layed out, highly geometric garden. The incredible garden mazes of England come easily to mind...as do the complex ornamental gardens around the world.

    Such linearity may have it's place, indeed. But I think the very fluid, organic nature of natural spaces is often overlooked. In our quest for linearity and the familiar, we get 90 degree corners and straight lines. I think the real beauty of say a natural meadow, is that there are NO straight lines and 90 degree angles.

    A meadow has a luxurious fluidity to it that defies replication...at least replication in our own 'straight-line' world.

    I think a worthy endeavor for a garden designer, then, would be to study the synergy implicit in a pristine meadow and note the organic, fluid nature of it's boundaries. A meadow is comprised, of course, of little "micro-niches"...these micro-niches blend with one another in a synergistic fashion, where one area gradually becomes another area.

    I think, then, the key in thinking about trying to recapture the beauty of nature in our own designs is to focus on "flow". If, on some forest walk, you come upon a mid-forest meadow, you will notice that it didn't come lurching out at you, but rather gave clues to it's presence in a hundred inperceptible ways, before you even arrived at its foot. Meadows are transitional niches...often coming from ponds that have dried up, but have not yet been wholly encroached upon by the surrounding forest. one species of tree gives way to another species, one plant to another...but THERE IS NO DEFINITE BOUNDARY.
    That is the key.

    Nature is transitional. There are no rigid boundaries, just overlapping niches giving way to other niches. I think these transitions add to the softness of form of a natural area, as opposed to the rigid boundaries often seen in traditional gardens.

    Niche transitions are what nature is all about. These transitional areas are the embodiement of gracious fluidity. It would do us well, to study this fluidity of natural transition when planning and designing our gardens.

    While designing your garden, think in the back of your mind: "What would nature do?"
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  3. eileen

    eileen Resident Taxonomist Staff Member Moderator Plants Contributor

    Feb 7, 2005
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    I couldn't agree with you more. My back garden doesn't have a single straight line (well except for the patio) and I love all its curves. :-D I have a section that is just as Mother Nature intended with wild flowers and grasses - the wildlife seem to appreciate it.
  4. jb19012

    jb19012 New Seed

    Aug 28, 2010
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    Ridley Park, PA
    I couldn't agree more

    Though I was introduced to meadow gardening by my son's teacher, indirectly, I have truly enjoyed seeing different plants spring up, move in, move out, and bring friends over. The wildlife, including a never before seen hummingbird, have been amazing. Except for the boundaries with my neighbors and a few man-made items, I work only on maintaining a modest pathway through my meadow, so that I can enjoy it without trampling on something.

    Great comments. Thanks for sharing.

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