Food, fun, healing, and beauty are the hallmarks of the Useful Garden.
I think a garden should feed our senses and needs on a variety of levels...food, healing, beauty, pleasure!
Many people plant their gardens, or have them landscaped, for beauty and entertaining. Others, plan for easy-care outdoor spaces. Some grow "edible" or water-wise gardens. Most of us like to plan and include a space in our gardens or yards for entertaining friends and family.
Play and relaxation are also "needs" that most of us plan yard space to accommodate.
I like to think of my gardens as "useful" because they feed my need for beauty, my desire to grow organic food, my efforts to have Nature's medicine within picking range, and the fun of cooking with fresh, organic herbs.
I also enjoy just sitting in my gardens reading, journaling, thinking, meditating, listening to the wind, the birds...
To indulge these activities in comfort, I've created sitting places around my property - garden "rooms" and destinations depending upon my mood and time of day.
My gardens are useful. And, I like to think, beautiful.
Much of what I've landscaped with is edible or in some way useful beyond being just pretty.
I'd like to share in upcoming posts just what I mean by a "useful" garden and how you might enjoy incorporating some of these ideas into your own "growing" spaces.
I can't tell you how to plant your own Useful Garden because your needs are likely different than mine. I can, however, share what I've done and why. By sharing, I'm hoping to inspire ideas and possibilities you might want to try in your own outdoor spaces.
Nor do you need acreage to create your own useful garden. A small patio or balcony can incorporate pots for flowers and herbs, have a place to sit and share a cup of tea with a friend.
Small spaces can nourish the senses with lighting, water, windchimes...
The Useful Garden has one or more pleasant spots to spend time, visit, and dine.
The Useful Garden allows for Nature to "plant" some helpful, healing weeds! However, wild transplants may not always be welcome.
Although you may not want to host dandelions as I do (I love dandelions!), a bit of "wild" encourages birds to make your garden their home, too.
Nature, with the help of wind, birds, and pets will sow your garden with unbidden things. Some may be useful and some may not be. The gardener gets to decide what stays and what goes.
I love chickens! Thankfully, I live in a rural, farming community where they're a common sight scratching and pecking around the neighborhoods. Presently, I have a small flock of six hens for eggs, fertilizing, insect and weed control, and for the simple pleasure of their company and their charming mannerisms.
These days even urban areas are allowing people to keep a few hens...though generally not the more vociferous roosters!
Starting with the next post I'll share with you what I've planted and how I use it, the ways I've found to be frugal and recycle as much as I can back into the gardens, how I feed my senses with the garden, and what I'm presently working on.