desired walk .8

Two oaks are in front of my house. One close to the other, even more so now that it has been snowing for two days. Beneath them there is a desired walk, a path where people love to run and walk instead of using the officially marked ones.

   This night, returning home, I followed my desired walk where the snow had not seen any footprint. Suddenly, the white at my feet faded under the canopy of one of the two oaks towards the dark of fallen leaves. It was so dark under the trees. The trees had collected all the snow with their branches.

   While I was crossing that dark space I was not paying attention to a point where the ground became white again, for a second, and dark again, when I realized it was a narrow strip running between the two trees, right in the middle: a line where the snows had opened a way through the closed canopy.

   I looked up at the branches, where the two dark masses met. A line was marked on the white sky. A white winding line drawn by the empty space left by the shoots of one tree meeting the shoots of the other. The canopy of the first oak did not interfere with the canopy of the second one; they grew attuned to each other according to their necessity.

   How the desired walk could be deliberately and fortuitously marked following this line, invisible all over the year except when it snows, is something that spoke of the necessity that sometimes ties things together. Obviously the path runs in between the two trees and the two canopies of the same age meet at that very middle: nothing strange about that, nor mysterious…

   It is about this white line on the ground, one night visible, surrounded all around by a dark carpet, a line invisible all the rest of the year and so similar to the empty line of sky, above, usually invisible too during the night, except when it snows. Two invisibles offering themselves to a winter night. This is wonder.

   The necessity of biology meets human enchantment. They live together one beside the other and allow us to discover how much enjoyment is in walking their unknown distance. A unmeasurable distance, because it is not made of matter nor of space nor of time and has no meaning. In that distance we find our life as a place where biology and dream meet in the unexpected richness of something real in front of us, measurable and meaningless that makes us dream: a line of snow, just in front of us, measurable and meaningless that makes belonging start.

   The measure of that line could be: “From a snowy day to a snowy day,” a measure of time more than of space, though… So the measure of this space could be “a walk along an invisible line for 360 days” (given an average of 5 days of snow per year)… Invisible just as the desire of the walk is invisible, made visible by snow, as prints are made visible by dust, and ghosts by flour.

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"garden me" / A writing about a wished frontier for the natural gardening


Ecological Planting Design

Ecological Planting Design

Drifts / Fillers (Matrix) / Natural Dispersion / Intermingling with accents/ Successional Planting / Self seeding
What do these words mean? Some principles of ecological planting design. (from the book: "A New Naturalism" by C. Heatherington, J. Sargeant, Packard Publishing, Chichester)
Selection of the right plants for the specific site.
Real structural plants marked down into the Planting Plan. The other plants put randomly into the matrix: No. of plants per msq of the grid, randomly intermingling (even tall plants). Succession through the year.
Complete perennial weed control.
High planting density. Close planting allows the plants to quickly form a covering to shade out weeds.
Use perennials and grasses creating planting specifications that can be placed almost randomly.
Matrix: layers (successional planting for seasonal interest) of vegetation that make up un intermingling (random-scattering) planting scheme: below the surface, the mat forming plants happy in semi-shade, and the layer of sun-loving perennials.
Plants are placed completely randomly: planting individual plants, groups of two, or grouping plants to give the impression of their having dispersed naturally. Even more with the use of individual emergent plants (singletons) that do not self-seed, dispersed through the planting.
An intricate matrix of small plants underscores simple combinations of larger perennials placed randomly in twos or threes giving the illusion of having seeded from a larger group.
The dispersion effect is maintained and enhanced by the natural rhythm of the grasses that give consistency to the design. They flow round the garden while the taller perennials form visual anchors.
Allow self-seeding (dynamism) using a competitive static plant to prevent self-seeders from taking over: Aruncus to control self-seeding Angelica.
Sustainable plant communities based on selection (plants chosen for their suitability to the soil conditions and matched for their competitiveness) and proportions (balance ephemeral plants with static forms and combinations such as clumpforming perennials that do not need dividing: 20% ephemeral, self-seeding plants, 80% static plants) of the different species, dependent on their flowering season (a smaller numbers of early-flowering perennials, from woodland edges, which will emerge to give a carpet of green in the spring and will be happy in semi-shade later in the year, followed by a larger proportion of the taller-growing perennials which keep their form and seed-heads into the autumn and the winter).
Year-round interest and a naturalistic intermingling of plant forms.
Ecological compatibility in terms of plants suitability to the site and plants competitive ability to mach each other.
Working with seed mixes and randomly planted mixtures.
Perennials laid out in clumps and Stipa tenuissima dotted in the gaps. Over the time the grass forms drifts around the more static perennials and shrublike planting while the verbascum and kniphofia disperse naturally throughout the steppe.
Accents: Select strong, long lasting vertical forms with a good winter seed-heads. Select plants that will not self-seed, unless a natural dispersion model is required.
Planes: if designing a monoculture or with a limited palette, more competitive plants may be selected to prevent seeding of other plants into the group.
Drifts: to create drifts of naturalistic planting that are static in their shape over time use not-naturalizing, not self-seeding, not running plants.
Create naturalistic blocks for the seeding plants to drift around. For the static forms select plants that do not allow the ephemerals to seed into them.
Blocks: use not-naturalizing species, in high densities, in large groups.
Select compatible plants of similar competitiveness to allow for high-density planting (to enable planting at high density in small gardens).
Achieve rhythm by repeating colours and forms over a large-scale planting.