Soil-less Gardens

I am a landscape contractor living in my hometown of Santa Cruz, California. For the past twenty years I have owned a landscape business. All you co-creative gardeners will be interested to know that part of our mission statement is "to work with the intelligence of nature to create, build and maintain landscapes and gardens."

In 2003 we decided to do a garden at the 2004 San Francisco Flower and Garden Show. Being an ecological landscape company, we wanted to have our garden demonstrate principles of Permaculture — in other words, ecological design. We wanted to demonstrate things like a green roof, living walls, edible landscaping, a garden labyrinth, native plantings and the use of recycled materials in our garden.

We designed our garden months ahead and began building some of the structures and background for our garden. The San Francisco Flower and Garden Show is held at the Cow Palace, which is a very large indoor arena. I saw George Harrison with Ravi Shankar there back in the day. It was fun to think we were going to be performing there in our own way. When you do a garden at a show like this, you have only a few days to set up. The show lasts for maybe five days, and then you have a day to pack it all up. So we tried to get as much done as we could before actually going to the show.

Well, the day came and we trucked our stuff up to the Cow Palace. The space we had for our garden was about eighty by thirty feet. We spent the three set-up days busily creating our garden, which we named the "Growing in Circles Garden." Everything had to be finished by 8:00 Tuesday morning when the judges arrived. In fact the garden creators had to disappear by then. You can bet we pulled an all-nighter that Monday night, getting all the last-minute details in place. More than once I opened conings and checked if any rose essences were needed for the project. Although there was plenty of soil around this show, it was really one big soil-less garden. I also did the Energy Cleansing Process during the building of our garden. I remember after doing the final energy cleansing just before the show opened, seeing the garden full of light. When I came back on opening day, there was one of the most prestigious awards given at the show, the "Western Living Award" from Sunset Magazine in front of our garden!

I had a real sense that the judges saw the light coming through our garden because of my partnership with nature. As visitors walked past our garden, I saw many people looking at it as if there was something more than just a garden. All I can say is it must have been the power and love of nature coming through. Sunset Magazine published a picture of our "Growing in Circles Garden" in their magazine one year after the 2004 show. This honor was a tangible confirmation of the value of co-creating with nature. And it doesn't hurt business any to have that in our portfolio either!

Since I read Machaelle's first book back in 1985, I have been studying and practicing co-creative gardening. I really value having these practical tools to connect with nature, and I thank Machaelle and nature for that. For my business and my life I often open conings, check for rose essences and use processes like the Energy Cleansing Process. As I start my day, I state "I invite my visible and my invisible allies to join me." When I prepare for a company meeting, I open a coning to have a four-point point of view. Here's to co-creating with nature!

— K.F., Santa Cruz, CA