Michael J. Roads has been writing about organic gardening since the mid-1970’s, when the idea of cooperating with nature to grow your garden was rejected as radical to the accepted wisdom (at that time) of using chemicals to destroy whatever was not wanted in the garden. Besides practicing and developing organic techniques in his own gardens he has also been a dairy farmer and an organic farming consultant in his home land of Australia (although a born Englishman).
“Conscious Gardening” according to Roads is about being AWARE of your garden, not just working in your garden. Conscious Gardening is the act of listening to your plants-the messages they send you-and adjusting their needs accordingly. He describes it as “being with, not doing to“.
Conscious Gardening goes beyond gardening wisdom – the practical knowledge gained from years of tending one’s plants or farm. It’s about feeling or seeing the energy in your garden: observing your plants, trees, shrubs, and soil and paying attention to the messages they’re sending – not messages in the intellectual sense but in the instinctual sense, which some (and Roads) describe as metaphysical. That may sound rather strange on the surface, but any practiced organic gardener knows that when we eliminate chemicals from the growing regimen, it becomes imperative that we watch our plants for signals as to their health and make the necessary organic adjustments as the season proceeds.
Roads’ message is one of working with your garden – observing, listening, becoming conscious of it: but his decades of organic farming, organic gardening and consultation have made him truly expert in his experiential wisdom as well. He writes:
“Every time you go into the garden, your own attitude will determine whether your garden is a meeting place with Nature or a battlefield, with Nature as the enemy. And it is you who make the choice.
“If you reach for poison each time some bugs threaten your plants, you choose to make the garden a battlefield. You have become the antagonist… If however, you study the condition of the plants under threat, checking to see if they are growing in adverse conditions, then by this act you are meeting Nature as a student.”
Besides teaching you to listen and to always be learning, Roads shares many practical tips on growing a healthier organic garden and organic lawn. Conscious Gardening is an easy read, full of great advice and insight as to how gardeners can achieve a deeper understanding of the spirit of their garden.
(FTC Disclosure: book provided by publisher for review)