by Renee Lindstrom, August 16th, ’15
I was asked to share my personal notes and experiences on my participation with #yyj’s Spring Ridge Commons this summer. Off and on in the past few years I have been invited to join volunteer Linda Chan in conversations about this Greater Victoria Garden from a 5 Element Landscaping perspective.
This summer in a conversations in the garden hearing and seeing its needs, I offered some considerations based upon 5 element theories. Sometimes quite strongly. One of the biggest alarms that went off for me was when I heard there had been ceremonies held without a formal opening and closing, and that the members of this gardens community had not been included in stating the practical qualities they requested for the space during the ceremony. For me this reflects a flood of open water that isn’t contained. It isn’t achievable practically by the members within the community itself. There is no clarity or connection to the intention of the ceremony and of what is being asked for. It remains in the ether’s. This inspired an offer to lead a ritual clearing ceremony designed for the participants to show up, be present and take part at their comfort zone level. Why? To encourages leaders versus an audience. The exact thing the garden needs – practical boots on the ground gardening support.
Here are some of the things that came up during our preparations:
- The strongest point made was the need for the garden to reflect respect. Strategies of signage and rules of conduct were bounced around yet from a natures perspective if there was a need for the community to respect the needs of the garden, the garden itself needed to reflect it and carry this essence itself. This meant – clear walkways without weeds and tall grass hiding the clear boundaries of the beds, cared for garden beds and caring people in the garden working more often.
- It also meant no garbage dumping.
- An address with a number – one that the mail man would deliver mail to if he had to. On all the marketing it does not have a property number. This is important to define the main entrance to the commons. This is where one would find the facing cardinal direction using the 5 elements. From a western perspective it also makes it an entity.
The biggest learning for me in this project has been that nature is practical and has specific needs from humans and one of them isn’t perspective. Nature doesn’t care about the lofty ideals of humans! To be in a cycle of success with nature the primary focus starts with caring for nature. Caring for nature respects nature and this is the core of Spring Ridge Commons.
Wandering through the gardens and sitting in our first meeting this summer my observation was that it was overwhelmingly un-cared for. All beauty was hidden from view. To me it reflected conflict and unfulfilled idealism’s. My recommendations focused on nature in the garden so that it reflected beauty and respect and practical doable personal qualities. The analogy that kept coming up is; water needs boundaries, as water without boundaries is a flood. A flood destroys.
A number of weeks after our original tour and meetings, coming back to talk about the intention of the ceremony I observed Spring Ridge Commons had transformed. The walkway and borders had been weeded and tightened up. The beds cleaned up and thinned. The whole essence of the garden had shifted. Being a sensitive the only way I can describe it is that it shifted from the agitation of dry dying land becoming a dessert into a wet nurturing experience of a forest. What had also shifted was the community coming into the commons. They were staying a spell and not using it as a sidewalk to get from one point to the other as quickly as possible! Local children community groups brought children in to plant seeds and again to use nature to draw. Musicians were sitting and playing flutes, guitars and other instruments. Beautiful benches had shown up!
One of the requests for change had been to bring in sound and children! It had begun already prior to our ceremony. Did our ceremonies purpose begin with the first meeting? Well then, worth the struggle of competing perspectives and opinions and realizing nature doesn’t care about what we think! It provides based upon our actions!
Each time I go to Spring Ridge Commons, I am able to see beautiful aspects that were not visible before. Unique plants, signs describing the plants and the meandering pathways themselves. Also the thought that has gone into creating a native plant garden, a Bee garden and more. I also hear the depth of knowledge and caring by the current stewards of this garden. Amazing commitment and contribution.
The main entrance to Spring Ridge is the first one on Gladstone as you turn off Chambers. We believe the number is 1200. This is a 3 in numerology and standing inside facing out, this entrance it is a south facing entrance.
- A 3 reflects: body, mind & spirit, communication, expression, optimism, fun, creativity
- A south facing entrance is the fame doorway and it represents reputations and recognition
Using this entrance the life map reflection of this property would be:
So the next time you are in Spring Ridge Gardens take time to consider these reflective life areas and how Spring Ridge Commons mirrors these characteristics in the community!