When a project is made for a garden, the intentions can be the most diverse: to have an area to sunbathe or for children to play on the lawn, to isolate the house from noise or visual pollution, or even to enjoy a small corner at the end of the land, no matter how small, to look at the stars – a perfect place to induce us to take a deep breath. And it may have a practical or philosophical intention behind its layout and the choice of its elements.
So, what do you want to have in your garden? Many people ask me if it is possible to cultivate food in these semi-dark beds and my answer is always the same: “Does the sun strike? How many hours a day?”
If the answer is yes, no matter the size, it is enough that there is no lack of water and patience, and everything will grow in the right proportions. However, I know that many people say it is possible to grow vegetables indoors, but this is a difficult task without a minimum of four hours of sunlight per day. Unless you install a light source strong enough to keep the plants well developed, they will delay to grow and weaken progressively without adequate light.
However, it is worth making some calculations about the cost-benefit between vegetables, water and light. It may be unbalanced, especially if the greengrocer’s bill is cheaper than that for garden maintenance. So it is necessary to consider if your garden should be cultivated with vegetables and aromatic herbs because there are other more economical and lasting options.
In general, my suggestion for those who make a point of having a special bond with the garden and have a small space, semi-shaded, is to make a votive garden, that type that refers the person to a state of prayer or meditation. In other words, a little corner of peace.
By creating refuges of quietness for reflection and reorganizing thoughts, we can do so without too much cost. It will be a place to listen to the wind hitting the leaves, to see the rain coming or the moon rising. A little window to the sky to meditate and recharge the energies.
In the history of the gardens, different aesthetic types have been created, in which the natural elements are shaped according to the philosophy, highlighting forms and proportions.
There are votive gardens where mythological images of goddesses or angels are placed in points of convergence of focus, creating altars or, on the contrary, as in the Zen garden, where minimalism reduces the competition between flowers and plants, summarizing the elements of nature to a minimum to create an environment surrounded by clear and simple lines. In them, fountains, porches and texture patterns on floors, stones and plants allow each element in the garden to be highlighted and where the main objective is to encourage introspection and serve as physical support for mental hygiene.
In the Zen garden, the intention is not to reproduce nature, but to put it in its essence, removing all surface elements.
The plants are chosen one by one, considering each one of the stages of their development, we try to value even the leaves and flowers that fall on the ground.
A plant can be chosen because of its shape or the movement of its leaves in the wind. Sometimes the garden is emptied to the maximum so that each plant can play a central role in attracting the focus, offering the viewer a welcoming and introspective landscape.
Plants are chosen for the beauty of their lines and the constancy of colours and tones. Elements such as stones, fountains and mosses create a context of uniformity, broadening the horizon. In general, a prominent element is added in one-third of the land and the plants are grouped in odd numbers.
Plants with deciduous leaves are chosen so that the garden changes every season of the year and transmits the impermanence of things. The water element can be represented by a pot, plant or sculpture. Often, plants of fluidity and profusion are present, such as bamboo or weeping. The fire element is represented by colours and the air element by the amplitude of space. The earth element appears in rocks and wood.
For those who want to create a meditation garden or zen at home, or just a small corner with this purpose, the important thing is to know that the constancy of the foliage must form an area of uniformity and predictability so that the thought can be emptied and meditated upon.
Below are some small plants and elements that can be used in the formation of the Zen garden. Namaste!
- Noodle pine
- Kaisuka Pine
- Bambusa gracilis
- Cat’s nail
- Magnolia selowiana
- stone lamp