This week I have spent what feels like the entire week out in the garden. There is so much to do here at Le Plantis before we open for guests next year. John, our gardener, has done a fantastic job in creating some curved paths and starting the major planting programme as well as constructing some laurel hedges that will provide privacy but at the moment it feels like very small steps have been taken on a 100 mile hike! John assures us that the plants will have gained both some depth and some height by the end of this summer and we will be very surprised at how different it will look. Personally with the very hot, dry weather we are experiencing in the south west of France at the moment I will be very surprised if the plants survive the summer. I have taken to rushing around the garden at all hours with a hose pipe frantically watering at the merest hint of a drooping leaf.
It had been my intention to spend two or three days in the garden this week and the rest of my time working. Actually I have spent 6 days in the garden this week and virtually no time working. Next week I will have to redress the balance and spend most of the week working as I have so much writing that needs to be done. I have also not done half of the jobs that I wanted to do in the garden as everything seems to take so much time. From the list I had set myself, which with hindsight was an incredibly challenging list, I have cut the grass, painted the fence outside the kitchen with several coats of forest green paint, weeded both patio areas and dug over about a quarter of our new vegetable plot which I have planted with some onions and carrots. Thinking about it, if we are not to starve in the summer I will have to spend a bit more time in the garden next week after all planting more vegetable seeds. Maybe that will be a job for the Easter weekend, I just hope that is not leaving it too late for a bumper crop.
As I have spent so much time in the garden this week I thought it would be a good opportunity to spend the majority of this weeks blog on Feng Shui garden design. Creating a balanced outside space in your home environment is just as important as ensuring the inner areas promote positive energy. You should feel as comfortable and as relaxed in your garden as you do in your home, it should be a reflection of your personality and a calm and tranquil space where you enjoy spending time. Applying Feng Shui principles to your garden design is relatively easy, especially if you have already applied the basics in your inner space. When thinking about positive Feng Shui in your garden or outside space I always think it is easy to remember and to adhere to three guiding principles.
The first principle is that your outside space is guided by the same principles as your inner space. This means that the bagua and the five elements work exactly the same in your outside space as your inner space. Just as your front door is the mouth of your home, then the entrance to your garden is where positive chi flows in from and all measurements should be taken from this point. Try and ensure that colours, objects, and elements follow the bagua plan. In the wealth area of your garden, which is represented by the element wood and the start of spring in the seasonal cycle, plant trees, bamboo and flowers that flourish in the spring. Balance this in the helpful friends area, an area that is represented by metal and autumn, with plants that create a display of white to represent metal. This is also an excellent area to have your vegetable plot. Think about how you can balance your entire garden to ensure it reflects and includes all the elements.
The second principle to remember is to follow the cycle of yin and yang. Your garden as a whole should represent and follow the cycle of the seasons. Think of the continuous cycle of yin and yang. Your garden should not be full of colour in the height of summer but lifeless in autumn and winter. Ensure your planting brings life to your garden all through the year, as one area is full of life in the summer ensure that another area thrives in the coldness of winter.
Finally your garden is an integral part of your home and should be in balance with the building structure. As the physical structure of your home is predominantly yang then your garden should be predominantly yin. This means that less is more, flowers, plants and structures in your garden should promote restfullness and relaxation. Vibrant colours should be kept to a minimum and plants mixed together should stick to one or two colours and not be a riot of clashing colours.
If you follow these principles in your Feng Shui garden design you will easily be able to create a beautiful outside area where positive chi enters and flows. To finish this weeks blog post I would just like to share with you a few other tips to consider. I hope you have found this post useful and it has given you some inspiration if you are going to have a traditional easter weekend in the garden. For me it is now back to my vegetable seeds, back breaking work but when I am enjoying fresh vegetables from the garden in the summer it will all have been worth it.
A few Feng Shui garden tips
In your planting try and go for subtlety and plant flowers and plants of just one or two colours or shades together.
Create a number of paths that wind or curve through the garden so that you can walk amongst the plants and flowers. When creating paths try not to create paths with sharp corners as these can cause poison arrows.
Include statues, sculptures, rock formations, water features, outside lights, candles and bowls of crystals among the plants. A garden that is full of all the elements promotes the flow of very healthy chi
Plant trees as a backdrop to your house as these can create a feeling of protection and security. Evergreen trees are best as these give the added advantage of offering year round protection.
Above all ensure that your garden looks as natural as possible. Allow plants to grow uninterrupted wherever possible and allow some natural vegetation to grow amongst the planned planting.