Psst… You have no control over your garden.

Though our egos – and agri-business – would have us believe otherwise, we can never control nature.

Attempting to force Gaia to bring forth only what we want, when we want, and how we see fit is a recipe for dysfunction. At the same time, neglecting the land over which we have accepted stewardship can lead to disorder.

Neither of these extreme strategies will maximize fertility, productivity, and beauty in the garden, so how do we find balance?

When we attempt to control our gardens and become the overlords of nature, we see ourselves as above the ecosystem rather than taking our place within it.

We try to force Earth to do what we want, and at times utilize severe methods, such as repeatedly tilling, monocropping, and chemically forcing the soil to bring forth what we want even though it needs rest and replenishment.

Tightly controlling one small patch of Gaia in this way may work for a time, but eventually the system will push back in a desire for harmony. Overworked areas tend to suffer a myriad of costly problems, such as erosion, pesticide-resistant weeds, and infertile soil that requires crops to be heavily fertilized with chemicals.

Alternatively, we can tip too far in the direction of exerting too little influence in our garden. Things get wild, weedy, and overgrown, and pests may take over and ravage anything trying to grow.

In the untended garden, the soil is likely wounded and bringing forth only tough, soil-healing weeds like mullein and dandelion. There may be pollutants or diseases in the soil that have been allowed to proliferate due to overgrowth, lack of air circulation, and an imbalance of organic matter.

Essentially, these gardens are areas that have been adulterated by humans, but not left wild long enough for Gaia to bring them back into a natural state of harmony.

These areas are often unsightly and less productive than balanced ecosystems, and provide few resources for wildlife.

Ultimately, we are called to find the fulcrum between trying to control too tightly and not allowing nature to have input, and being neglectful and mindless, allowing our space to default to whatever.

This means entering intentional partnership with Gaia and assisting her in creating a harmonized system that supports greater Life.

In this kind of system, we dance between our desires as individual beings – what we want in our garden – and what Gaia needs to move toward more Life and greater harmony in your particular area of the ecosystem.

In this model, we recognize that we are a part of the ecosystem, and while we have a tremendous amount of influence, we are not to seek control over it.

Ready to plan a garden in partnership with Life?

  • Write down all the plants you want because you like to look at them or eat them or whatever.
  • Write down a basic concept you like as far as style, types and locations of beds, etc.
  • Write down the amount of time you commit to spend on the vision, tending the space and caring for the plants and soil.
  • And, write down an approximation of how much money you have to spend on the vision and on transforming the space into one that is fertile, beautiful, and full of resource.

You do not need to be precise or have exact figures, just a good general idea.

Then, sit down in your proposed garden space – or some other quiet space – and speak to your future garden.

Talk to Gaia, mother nature, whatever you want to name it, and tell her why you want to create a garden. Talk out loud, no matter how your neighbors may stare!

In doing this, you are creating an open communication line between yourself and your garden. You may even begin to understand that you are actually talking to yourself, as you are the ecosystem.

Humans may have a different kind of awareness and influence than the plants, but we are cells in the body of Gaia just the same.

Tell Gaia you want to be a responsible influencer, tell her the things you want, and tell her you are open to nourishing things she wants and needs to bring forth so that the whole system becomes more fertile, diverse, life-filled, and harmonized.

Tell her you are open to dancing with her, rather than trying to dominate, conquer, and control her. Tell her you are sorry for all the humans who have done and continue to do this.

Tell her you are here, you are listening and watching, and you are open to changing your planned vision so that it matches with the highest and best for all beings in the ecosystem of your garden, not just you.

Once you have opened the conversation with your garden, be present in your future garden space and notice what is there.

Watch how the sun and water move through the space, and take note so that you know the shady spots, the damp places, and the bright areas where sun-loving plants will thrive.

When you stay present, listen, and surrender to what wants to come forth for you, you always end up with results that are best for you, even if it’s not what you thought you wanted.

My garden doesn’t look much like the original plan I thought up in my head, but it is amazing and perfect. If I could, I wouldn’t change it now to what I had on the paper plans because I see now why I was guided to embrace changes. I see now why certain plants did not germinate or thrive and others did that I hadn’t planned.

The changes needed to happen for the overarching goal – the vision and true purpose of the garden – to come to fruition.

The changes happened for the good of Life.

This lesson of realizing we have no control, but exert great influence holds true in the garden, and throughout every aspect of our lives.

When we let go of the need to control and dominate, we become vessels of greater Life, greater diversity, and greater abundance. In surrender, Life can flow freely through our channels, and the Gaia system can harmonize more easily with the aid of our hands.

We become the gentle tender, rather than the absent steward who allows chaos to overtake the garden space. We become the dance on the fulcrum rather than the overlord trying to choreograph every step of a dance he can never comprehend.

We become conscious gardeners!

Are you ready to begin?