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Organic landscapes- Grow a world

Updated on October 15, 2010
Structure and plants
Structure and plants | Source

If you’re an organic gardener, you don’t need to be told how much fun gardening can be. You might, however, need to know how you can create a great environment for yourself while saving the other one. There’s a very solid principle to organic landscaping. Landscape design is basically environmental design. It’s a common theme in permaculture, Chinese gardening and even Feng Shui.

There’s a good reason for this approach. Plants create environments, and they exploit opportunities. They create space for other plants, like trees create habitats for understorey. When Bill Mollison, the inventor of permaculture, first developed his theories, he worked exclusively on natural vegetation structures.

Stage 2 of this approach is organic landscaping. The plants create environments, and they also provide the materials for environmental structures. For every place on Earth that’s not actually a volcano or a polar icecap, there are plants which will colonize that place. Subsequent waves of vegetation will follow. The result is great growing environments and fertile soils with strong biological activity.

Humans have thrown a spanner in this fascinating process by creating static vegetation structures. They’re not natural, and they’re not particularly flexible. They don’t evolve properly. However, organic gardeners have a few advantages. “Organic” is the exact opposite of a conceptual limit. Growing great carrots doesn’t mean you don’t have other ideas, and most importantly other needs. “Organic gardener” doesn’t quite mean “mad scientist” (well, sometimes) but it does mean that objectivity, experimentation and close observation are very much part of the natural mindset.

If you’re an organic gardener, you’ve got the tools for “cross country gardening”. It doesn’t matter if you live in a studio or a prairie, a trashy city or a jungle. Give a real gardener some dirt and some space and they’ll change the world for the better.

Organic landscaping is a high yield, local generation concept. You can create environmental structures for your plants and foods to develop. You can provide your own materials. You can build a literal paradise out of practically anything, particularly the things this idiot society doesn’t know how to handle.

The trouble with conventional gardening is that it tends to structure two dimensionally. Plant’s aren’t two dimensional, and nor are their needs. They need habitat, not a sort of intensive care environment. There’s nothing more reliable than a healthy plant. Give them the environment, and they’ll do the rest. Organic plants in particular are very tough organisms, and they can adapt fast to any situation. It’s a real study in evolution of ecosystems, from the microscopic to giant trees and their huge populations of different types of life.

A few examples:

  • Wet areas- herbs, peat, willows, sphagnum, even lotus and rice types with a bit of organization. These places can be like a kid’s story book, wild and beautiful like this world should be.
  • Rocky areas- Tiered growing space, build a garden around a mountain with rockeries. The rocks can provide structure for rockeries and windbreaks etc.
  • Flatlands- Add a few trees and you create an oasis, building soils and biota. You can create raised structures with just piles of soil. You’ll have a place that looks like a miniature world, or islands in the grass.
  • Suburbia- These areas are bedrock with possibilities. You can produce raised beds that look like natural environments with a bit of imagination, experimentally add plants and let them go nuts. (This, I promise you, doesn’t get dull. You can write whole articles on what individual plants can do. I’ve done it.)

All the plants need are the basics. This can be done for the price of a few cuttings and seedlings. It’s all fun, too, and no more “work” than normal gardening. This is perhaps the most creative form of gardening, and it’s like growing a Monet.

The Chinese created giant gardens based on Feng Shui, Wind and Water, primary gardening and ecological elements. They added spiritual values to their gardens, but after all, who doesn’t? They also created artificial mountains with their own flora and fauna, literally whole ecologies. Organic landscaping is the same, creating whole ecosystems out of nothing.

The real fun starts when the ecologies evolve. Even the tiniest plants can create brilliant environments, if you let them. The really vigorous plants can produce wonderlands, and bring the insects, worms, and soil organisms with them. For every hour of work you do on your organic landscaping, they’ll do years. This is “sustainability” taken to another level- The one the world started with, and the one that works best. You get to contribute, which is both a privilege and like letting kids loose in a toy shop.

Throw the rule books away, except the permaculture, which explain the environmental elements and structures. Start experimenting with organic landscaping, and you’ll never look back. This is a gigantic topic, and I can’t cover it all in one Hub. Start thinking about what you’d like to have as your personal gardening environment, and create it.


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    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 

      8 years ago from London, UK

      Organic Gardening or gardining for the matter is a never ending subject. Thanks for a great hub.

    • Paul Wallis profile imageAUTHOR

      Paul Wallis 

      8 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      Sure did. At one point I was wondering if I was going to stop.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Seems you had fun writing that, too.


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