please read the postscript below
and the following

Feng Shui. So long as you have been living in a cave, you already know that Feng Shui is an ancient Chinese discipline used to design and decorate the home or work place. It translates literally to wind and water. Seeing pictures of Japanese landscaping and home design I think it was catching. No idea why earth isn't in there as so much involves proper placement, spatial and geographical  issues.

Still, whether you believe in it or not, a heck of a lot of people maintain that Feng Shui improves their daily routines through attention to the details of design and the movement of energy. I view those as Ley lines and those are based on the crust of the earth.

Returning to this earthbased garden column. There are three basic principles of Feng Shui.

1.) Own nothing broken.
 2.) Get rid of clutter.
Use eBay!
 3.) Rid yourself of things you do not love. Essentially, all these general rules can apply to your garden. 

For instance, if there is a plant that's not doing well  whether it's dead, dying or looking ugly, it's broken. Hard love.Get rid of it. If your garden is a cluttered mess with overgrown weeds, shrubs, trees and more, get rid of them. If you don't love the way a plant or other specimen looks in your garden, you guessed it.  Get rid of it, but if you have invasive plants don't pawn them off on others. Bad Karma.

Your neighbors will appreciate it, even the effort.
I am still working on it. If the neighborhood
down-keep bothers you  think about moving
or report them to trash amnesty.

Actually, Feng Shui is anything, but simple. It consists of thousands of principles, yet, at the same time, offers an enormous amount of flexibility. Straight lines and sharp angles in your home or garden produce bad luck. Change your luck by hanging a mirror, moving an end table or, in gardening terms by planting trees in an appropriate manner.

There are certain flowers and even weeds that are considered highly beneficial in Feng Shui. Red geraniums are believed to attract prosperity and are best if planted in the southeast part of your garden. White geraniums are believed to grant peace of mind and encourage pleasant dreams. Holly attracts money, jasmine symbolizes friendship and affection, hollyhock and pomegranates symbolize fertility. Roses, particularly white, yellow and red ones, are usually beneficial as long as they are not overused. Tulips, especially red ones, symbolize love; begonias mean partnerships and healthy children. Flowers of any color are regarded as being beneficial and encourage an abundance of energy.

Most people dislike dandelions in their lawns. However,dandelions are believed to protect family members from accidents and keep them healthy. They also symbolize money. For some inexplicable reason, though my ex-partner  made me pull them from the lawn! When the finances dwindled I got pulled as well. Such is life. I moved from the above to a new house and discoverd in the divorce a certain Feng Shui in my new humble abode.

My bedroom

The kitchen

The dinning room.

It is important to realize that the size of the garden is not important. It could just be a tuffa planters or tasteful planted  containers. Simply plant the correct flowers in the right place and look at them. Asian gardens respect this and bonsai and zen gardens reflect this understanding.  The main paths in your garden should not be in straight lines, but meander for the meaning of long life. Trees planted in the east and southeast mean strength and protection. Streams and ponds are highly beneficial and symbolize wealth. Mostly to the contractor or landscaper who builds them. I hope I didn't get docked for building this rock wall for one of my customers. She passed on shortly after the completion.

Finally, -- and you don't need to know Feng Shui for this -- your garden must be pleasing to you. Because if you like your garden, you are going to look at it more, work in it more and make everything more beautiful. Just keep it simple and realize that as you age, you are not going to bend, pull or deadhead as you did in middle-age.

My other article was more humorous, also on Feng Shui.

After posting this I got some interesting feedback. Part of it was: 

"...Doesn't matter what the compass is pointing to or  what happening up in space, if you build/arrange your house on a fault line or 
in the valley of an active volcano, you're asking for trouble. Tectonic  activity, magnetic field of this plant (now becoming unstable), 
meteorites just don't recognize Feng Shui."
  by Patty -- and adds a rebuttal. 

This got me to thinking on this some more. I thank her very much. I will now have to update the other article as well.

The modern and insulated American society does not appreciate how important terrain is to someone who has to understand and adapt to it in order to live with it. Our forefathers be they farmer or rancher in the Midwest or Wyoming certainly did. Planting protective trees and placing your home or barn doors in relationship to prevailing winds or blizzards meant life or death for oneself and the animals. The survival of the latter – the survival of the family. 

It was not that one fights nature, but living with it. Making accommodations - because you understood nature would not. 

Does Feng Shui  make sense? Partly. But some of those 'rules' were meant to reflect the everyday travails  the peasant in China faced and was later exaggerated by necromancers and the P.T. Barnums of that day, who took it to new levels. The orientations suggested would never apply to Australia as weather challenges would come from another directions entirely. 

I realize I needed to make some edits on that article. Origin began in India and coming to China by the Buddhists.  The name comes from  paying more attention to the wind and water! Two things that the farmer had to deal and adapt to. I doubt they had any interest in the 'placement of 
objects and foo foo as their possessions where to few to begin with.

As for augmenting the divine force of 'Chi,' this would naturally occur where two natural features meet, as earth meets water. The farmer whose land possessed a pond or natural stream was fortunate enough. That is plain bloody sense. As for that being translated into 'flow' of paths or planter beds that was simply a reflection of planting on sloped terraces or being leery of straight flowing streams that could erode your farm. Such 'Chi' floods remind us that sometimes it can move too fast for us.

Feng Shui placements of windows affecting depression. You betcha. A positive placement of windows – giving you an 'open' view and connection between your dwelling "earth" and the "heavens" makes sense. Especially when you considered that some of these people lived in yurts or as our pioneers did in overturned covered wagons, covered with sod to keep the wind and cold out. Windows were a luxury and if finally obtained were carefully and frugally placed.

All of this is based on practicality and I should suggest it should be renamed to reflect 'wind and water' with 'earth' as well. Most Native American tribes 
understood this amalgamation very well and sited their dwellings and villages accordingly. It did not need a traveling Buddhist to teach them that. 

As for your comment: "Tectonic activity, magnetic field of this plant (now becoming unstable), meteorites just don't recognize Feng Shui." I totally 
agree. Vulcanism, glaciers and changes to the climate are things we really cannot do much about. 

That said, we certainly are not as observant of nature as our ancestors were and when a financial or tectonic event occures, this gadget dependent "New Generation" might have a rude awakening. I am not even sure if being hooked up to your Cable, Kindles and IPods is such a benifit after all. The potential for becoming an evolutionary "black hole" is only one giant solar flare away. 

With only minimal discourse with Patti, I recognize that she might be more intelligent than I and far more literate and grammatical. So I expect a comeback to this.  I invite all other comments as  long as you understand that I may post the gist of the posting and will respond. I will ALWAYS give your answers to my response.  Until then. this is what you get, until I figure out a way to get a RSS account.
Dreamweaver is ordered. I will add a link to this article. (MORE:On this Topic) and slip into a new page.

(C) Herb Senft 2003
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