“To die with elation is a crappy way of dying… A warrior dies the hard way. His death must struggle to take him. A warrior does not give himself to it.”
Carlos Castaneda

Tales of Power

Christopher Alexander on Gardens

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Reading this chapter made me feel that permaculture (and my relationship to it) may have injured my potential relationship with gardening …

“What is the effect of living process, used repeatedly, to shape exterior space? …

… in gardens, we come close to the heart of zen, to the contact with life which shows it to us as orderly and uncontrollable, wild and cultivated, dispassionate and unkempt … it is in gardens, above all, that most of us have an opportuity to express it an an ordinary level, to try it, practice it

a garden is a structure … which creates and contains living centers … it needs to be understood as an extension of the building … The exterior structure is as vital a part of the structure of the whole, as the building … you cannot forget it, or reduce it, without severely damaging the whole. This exterior structure is what brings life to the world

Oddly, the wildness of an unfolded garden does not become most natural without support. It becomes most vivid, when supported by a delicate system of small walls, edges, terraces .. which refer to centers that are in the land and have been formed by structures built before … The loosely, carefully made centers … let loose, what is seeking to happen there, as if of its own accord …

It is the least constrained part of our environment, the place where each of us is most free to do what we want. So we can express ourselves; we can have our heart’s desire; we really can do what we WANT to do …

To get the wild true garden by unfolding, all we have to do, really, is what every good gardener does. Like a painter placing one color at a time, most carefully, giving each precious drop of color its life, we must pay attention to each place, flower by flower, bush by bush, one bit at a time, and sk what its character is …

Of course, I am concerned with sunshine and shade, water, drainage, soil condition … But … in making a living world, we must above all be concerned with centers. Centers govern life. The fundamental process asks us again and again to see, feel the centers latent in the land

The beat of informality against the discipline of geometric order, can led to the most splendid qualities … the relation of the cultivated to the wild … Allow the mess, where it wants to be, as a natural counterpart to the cultivated and pruned and tamed.”

Christopher Alexander – The Nature of Order – Book 3: A Vision of a Living World

 

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