© Copyright: 1994, 2012 S. Tephyr Burgess
Co-Creative Gardening, sometimes called Co-Partnership is gardening and working with plants in general, in a conscious cooperation with Nature; with the understanding that all life is intelligent and that it is possible to communicate and work together with that intelligence to create a totally balanced garden.
By balanced I mean where human, animal, plant; all forms of life and energy have an integral part to play and benefit in someway; as Nature does in the wild state. Natures Intelligence can be utilized to not only grow plants but the same techniques of communication can be used with the Energies and Entities of Nature during harvest as well as during all stages of production.
Usually taught to create a flower or vegetable garden, they are as important for growing as in the uses and production of medicinal and the metaphysical preparations. Learning to work with these Energies and Entities can help create a very powerful product. It doesn't matter if you have forty acres, a deck garden, a single plant in a pot, a box of incense or a tea bag.
Known also as Nature's Spirit, The Devic Realm and The Green Kingdom to name a few: the basic concept of our inborn ability to communicate with Nature was (re) introduced in Europe and The United States in the early 1970's by the phenomena at Findhorn, Scotland and in this country at Perelandra, Virginia.
Of course, many of the people belonging to the indigenous tribal people in the North and South American continent had never forgotten these understandings and the resurgence of interest in those Native American's and other indigenous people's beliefs as well as interest in the older European Religions has further expanded the concept that Nature is not only conscious but also approachable.
The basic tenets of Co-Creative Gardening are, besides the understanding that Nature in all aspects is intelligent, but that all those aspects are welcome into the garden; Plant, animal and mineral. This can create obvious difficulties and challenges for the gardener. Most of us were taught to take complete control of the gardening environment and to allow "hostile" creatures or plants the gardener themselves didn't introduce into the garden, is a hard concept to accept. To not only allow, for example, rabbits, deer or the innumerable insects that one is taught to banish from the garden, but to welcome them and even encourage them in sharing the bounty with us.
Of Beans and Rosehips......
The basic concept behind Co-Creationism is that we all live on the Earth in Nature together, that there is enough for all. And the next step: to accept that the other's need may be greater than yours. For example. The Garden that I live with has no fence. I use no chemicals: synthetic or organic. I use no barriers at all. All Creatures of the Earth are welcome.
Most fellow gardeners hearing this the first time actually laugh and scoff at this concept automatically assuming that I am plagued by every four legged, winged and crawling thing on the planet. Despite the fact that I live and garden next to a large wilderness area the opposite is actually the case.
This not to say that at first wasn't difficult, I was used to stopping anything else from harvesting in my garden. But I found a number of interesting ideas. One of them was that I didn't lose any more or less of my crops than when I was struggling with sprayers and such. That often on the occasion when I did loose a crop (one year an entire Rosehip crop just before harvest) the next year I would get an even better bumper crop as if to repay me for my loss of the year before. As I stood before the Rosehip bush, I realized that the deer that ate them might have had a greater need than mine: as well as if I really needed Rosehips that bad, I could go out and buy some or possibly one of my friends would have some to spare. Something which the Deer couldn't do. The next year I was able to put more than I needed for the year away.
I remember another time watching a Deer and her Fawn spend at least an hour out there. When I went to assess the damage I was surprised to see that none of my vegetable crops were touched. They had only eaten some of the leaves of my bean vines and squash. Flowers and fruit were left for me. When they came back it was the same; they ate very little and did no damage.
One other character I have to introduce is Pierre our Woodchuck. When we first started The Garden we debated whether to put up a fence or not. Being at the edge of the wilderness we decided it might be a good idea, despite that is was in direct violation of the concepts of Co-Creationism. So, one day we put up four posts in each corner but ran out of time for the day to put the rest of the posts up. We loosely wrapped the wire fencing around the four posts encircling The Garden and thought that would do until we had time to do it right.
Two things happened.
One was The Garden felt terrible. I can't describe it very well, it was just uncomfortable; the fence definitely didn't belong there.
Then I notice a Woodchuck come out of the woods, slip under the fence and start eating my early spring lettuce. He came back the next morning... eating everything. We took the fence down. (it's still rolled up waiting for some other thing to be done with it). I replanted. We didn't see the Woodchuck for several weeks (not much left for him to eat we figured) Then one evening there he was... He walked around The Garden, nibbled on some lettuce, moved over and ate some bush bean leaves and then walked out to the lawn and ate there. He never over ate in The Garden again; except one year he ate the leaves and some flowers from my Echinacea patch. I figured he wasn't feeling well... he was getting old by that time, with a gray beard; I didn't begrudge him the herb. He hasn't been seen in a year now (he was at least five years old) and we miss him.
The Good, The Bad and The Balance...
Another interesting thing I noticed was I actually have less mass infestations of insects. That is not to say that occasionally I don't get one, but normally I only have a few of any "bad" bug... mostly I have "good" bugs. The "Good" and the "Bad" balancing each other out. One day I was sitting in The Garden and I noticed that my Rose colored Yarrow was totally covered in Aphids. They hadn't been there the day before, but there they were completely covered with them. I sat quietly with the plant and asked what should I do; Do nothing, was the answer. It was hard not to give in to Will and spray them off with the hose.
But I waited.
The next day, and the next I came and saw the same thing, thousands of Aphids. All I could think was they were going to amass themselves and take over The Garden. Still I waited and kept Perfect Trust in my heart. Finally, I came out and the Yarrow was full of Ants. Within another day all the Aphids and Ants were gone. The Yarrow prospered and bloomed beautifully.
In Co-Creative Gardening it is believed that banishing "Unwanted" Nature from the garden is on of the things that creates in-balance. Nature understands better than we how to keep the Earth in a balanced state where we can all receive our needs. It is Mankind that takes more than he needs, refuses to share with his fellow creatures and ultimately wages "war" on the species he rejects from "His" environment.
A good example of this is the Dandelion. We got it in our head that a Dandelion in a lawn was an ugly thing. We mow them, dig them and poison them. We are taught to do this constantly. The really ironic thing about this is the Dandelion is one of our most powerful herbal allies and as time goes on we are needing this herb's medicinal qualities more and more. More and more time and money is being spent trying to eradicate this good friend. Personally, I just let them grow. This is to my benefit as well as the Dandelion because since I use no poisons on my lawn I can harvest them at need.
Once or twice a year I get flowers all over the lawn; but probably not what you are envisioning. Most of the year I am unaware of them. When I do have to dig them out of the garden (one does have to occasionally to help someone else grow*) I either eat, dry for future use, tincture or compost it; depending on the season and need. To be honest I think they are pretty and instead of battling them I enjoy them and have a lot more time to do something more fun.
* Weeding is in itself technically against the basic concepts behind Co-Creative Gardening, but in order to create a garden with you Nature is aware that a certain amount of "conscious selection" is necessary. Please read my articles on this site on Conscious Weeding and Conscious Preparation.
Should you try it?
Co-Creative Gardening is definitely not for everyone. Not because of inability to communicate and relate to Nature; everyone and anyone can learn to do that. But you have to want to do it. It must be in your heart. It is a commitment to both yourself and to Nature. In many ways it is a whole lot easier than "regular" gardening, but in other ways it is harder.
You have to be able to let go of the concept that you have to stop Nature from having it's share.. that this time around you might not get all that you want... you have to accept and Trust that you will get what you need.
However the only way to find out is to try. Try the techniques I have lined out on this site.. be patient it takes time. Let me know how you are doing and feel free to ask questions.