by Glynis Oliver

I noticed that last year's issue of Voices had few actual garden stories, so I thought I would submit the story of my adventures at the very beginning stages of working with the Perelandra garden processes. You will notice that I did not jump right in and do it all at once. It has been a gradual but steady learning process as I changed with my garden. My first exposure to this type of gardening came in 1993 when I ordered my Workbook. That year I didn't advance beyond the kinesiology testing chapter, but I did try out the technique on some garden issues while continuing to garden "as usual" most of the time.

We were having a drought (my garden journal entry for July 17 that year reads "DRY-DRY-DRY-DRY-DRY"). I used the testing technique to connect with Nature to find out how frequently to apply water to a newly planted shrub. I was surprised at the results since I was to apply very precise but very small amounts every day. My normal procedure would have been to dump a pail of water on it every week or so. I also used the testing technique that year to situate a Viburnum shrub I was placing into my garden. Again I was surprised at the precise response from Nature. The final position arrived at this way seemed slightly odd in my opinion, being too close to an overhanging 100 foot spruce tree. However, I did go ahead — in faith — and planted it where Nature had said it should go.

I don't have any garden journal entries for the following year (1994) that indicated I was using the processes. I feel I gave it a rest because I was not quite ready to dive into what I now know would be a revolutionary new way to garden. It is a method that would require me to give up my autonomy in the garden.

A curious thing happened next. My garden entry for May 30, 1995, reads "Whole area ravaged by a tornado. Every tree came down. Much of garden spared. Limped through rest of season — all plans changed. Major changes needed." A tornado in New England is a rare event, and we received a direct hit. Our house was somehow spared but the damage all around it was considerable. All the trees came down, but it was the way they fell that was interesting. They all fell away from the house in opposing directions! There also was a minimal amount of damage to any existing garden bed that I had established at the time. A tall white pine tree landing across a flower bed bounced out again on impact and landed beside it. We saw the original imprint of the impact in the bed so we could piece together what had happened. My vegetable garden was situated directly behind the garage, which had been blown off its foundation in the storm. Of the trees that came down around this garden, only one landed across a garden bed, and it was very neatly suspended two feet above the ground by two supporting side branches that were embedded deeply in the ground from the force of the impact. Directly under the trunk of this tree between the supporting branches were my seedling tomato plants planted just the day before. A six-pack of marigold seedlings was still sitting right where I had left it the day before on a tree stump. It was remarkable to me how all the areas of the property where I had been actively gardening the previous years were free of any fallen tree debris.

Later that same year we were having some landscaping done as the major loss of trees had changed the environment from a shady one to a very sunny one. With all of the shifting around of earth, boulders and shrubs, I was struck that the one shrub that remained in its original position was now perfectly appropriate to the new conditions: Viburnum shrub planted according to Nature's precise direction two years before.

Four years later with that Viburnum growing more beautiful every year and reminding me of how it came to be there, I now have my first vegetable garden grown according to the principles set down in the Perelandra Garden Workbook. It is a lovely, lush garden, and I am well pleased. It was worth waiting for.