Tag Archives: Language of Nature

Pathway Project @ #yyj’s Spring Ridge Commons

Spring Ridge is Canada`s oldest public food forest and Victoria’s largest public permaculture garden or community multi-layer food forest , located on a 1/2 acre city lot in Fernwood at the corner of Chambers and Gladstone. (Location Address is 1200 Gladstone Avenue. )

@insideawareness Summer Volunteer Focus, ’15

This summer Renee Lindstrom of @insideawareness spent time with Linda Chan, Co-ordinator of Spring Ridge Commons, in conversation about a focus for enhancing the community garden experience.  Through our discussions we began to  differentiate philosophy and practicality.  Both important influences upon each other, yet,  which comes first?  We decided to focus upon practicality and bring a change from the ground up!

After hosting  a clearing ceremony to voice the qualities community members would like to enhance in the garden,  we followed this up with creating some  new pathways.  The first pathway we started with was one that had become a shortcut through the gardens.  Our purpose was to change the super highway experience this pathway had become.  Instead we created meandering garden pathways by adding curves to redirect walkers. This would slow people down and take them on another pathway through the garden and offer them choices.  In the process of changing this pathway an unexpected feature became a welcome focal point.  A plaque!

In creating these pathways the focus of attention was on:

  • the pathway as the experience
  • rock edging to define the pathway

Our next pathway challenge will be the front entrance pathways!  The challenge is the designated front entrance is diminished by other entrances to the gardens!  Watch for pics!

Support  change  – donate @ #yyj’s Spring Ridge  

Read more:

5 Element Design – #yyj Spring Ridge Commons

5 Element Design – Sacred Clearing Ceremony 

If you are longing for a personal consultation please inquire privately:

Renee Lindstrom offers:

Indoor & Outdoor Landscape Life & Wellness Consulting & Coaching which enhances relationships, emotions and flexible movement awareness!
Workshops and Events

#yyj’s Spring Ridge Commons

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:

  1.  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.
  2. It also meant no garbage dumping.
  3. 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:

Spring Ridge Commons

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!

Landscape Conversations – One becomes two

2015-06-21 10.40.36

Renee Lindstrom  & Guest Writer ~ Dyan Grant Francis

  • Observations Written by Renee Lindstrom,
  • Personal Perspectives by Renee Lindstrom &  Dyan Grant Francis individually

Observations of Property

These two houses replaced one house on a corner lot creating two house numbers replacing one.   Each similar yet different!  Different roof lines, one has a garage in front and one appears to have a larger lot.  Each have wood  and grey siding features yet opposite of each other with black framing. Front Doors feature glass windows as does the one with front  facing garage.  The one that does not have a front facing garage, there are two windows.      The wood element  is represented by the rectangular house and window shapes,  metal in the color grey, water in the black trim color and the windows and fire in shape angles of the roof.  The wood side represents the wood element, yet the horizontal angle represents earth.  Viewing these two homes together one can see one is more yang and one more yin.  The roof design and shift in colors to opposite sides of the house and addition of garage change create these differences.    

Numerological House Number

  • Yin house:  1  reflects – new beginnings, independence, one with life, individuality, self-development, creativity,  progress
  • Yang House:  4 reflects – security,  foundation, 4 directions, 5 elements, discipline, productivity, organization, work & service

Read more on the meaning of house numbers….

Cardinal Direction of Front Doors – North-East

A North – East  facing front door is considered a yin and yang balance.

This  is consider the doorway direction of  spirituality and personal growth that represents higher education.  It is  considered an earth element.  

Read more on the 5 elements

Personal Perspectives by Renee Lindstrom

These two homes took between one and two years to sell once completed.  This influence could have been human, landscape or a bit of both!  The pre-existing house prior was in the process of having the interior re-constructed when it was blocked by city stop and closure permit.  The original owner lost the property in the process and it sat vacant as an empty shell for a year.  When the property changed hands the house was torn down and a large hole was left where the basement was and  sat gaping for another year.      My curiosity always; how does the relationship with landscape affect human experiences!  Is there a connection to the length of time of the sale of these two homes contingent to the history?  Or is it the story of design and placement  that is creating a new history?

These two homes are minimalist style houses with slight variations in their similar design features.  These variations and placements make each unique.  The corner house appears to be sitting on a larger part of the property and with its high-peaked roof that seems to tower over the second one.  This is enhanced by the lack of a front facing garage and how closely placed it is to the second one.  This house has three sharp angles  to create a missing corner on the upper level of the house facing the intersection it sits on.   This house is the more dominant one of the two and with its number 4 the experience of its occupants may be focused on working and service.  A 4 out of balance may be working too hard.

The second house has a smaller footprint on the property and more than half their front yard is driveway.  This together with dominant siding painted grey and black, metal and water, this  essence is of a more inward and reflective quality.  A yin experience!  There are also three sharp corners, yet visually more subtle with the roof angles and siding choices.  The upward angle of the roof is a slight action statement of  fire,  yet, it is a negative roof line influence, it  suggests stagnant water sitting on the  flat roof gathered by the angle.  While in the first house the angled corners are aimed at the intersection, this one has angles aimed at the large unsightly power pole in the corner of the property.  Again a reflection between the two qualities – obvious and illusive!  The number one in this house represents being one with life that fits in with this house style that reflects a more contemplative lifestyle.

The North-East facing doors of these two houses reflect Yin and Yang balance.  This is a nice example of two homes side by side reflecting both yin and yang.  I suspect an example of spiritual personal growth and higher education reflected by these  two houses could be in the Yang house the dominant occupant may be a University Professor, Spiritual Leader, or Philosopher and in the Yin house they may practice contemplation.

Personal Perspectives by Dyan Grant Francis

These homes are a good example of the lifestyle choices that we are making as a society these days.  The large corner lot has been subdivided into two small lots.  This has resulted in the demolition of the large home with its history and character, mature trees and old gardens.  The result is two modern, small units placed side-by-side with virtually no side yard between them and no appreciable front and back yards.
With the change in zoning, it becomes a case of ‘in-fill’.  Land, especially urban land, is at a premium and building practices/choices are showing this.  Without knowing the square footage, its difficult to categorize the style as a ‘tiny home’ or a ‘laneway home’.
In terms of 5 Element theory, the initial observations is that one home reflects the wood element (cedar siding and green ‘stucco’), one reflects the water element (blue ‘stucco’ and black trim with some cedar siding).  Their design is complimentary and trim colour is black (water) in both cases.  The water element strengthens wood.  The exterior treatment creates a harmonious impression.
The water house has a large stone driveway strengthening metal and draining water to some extent.  The wood house has a small stone walkway and dark stone facing on the street level which is not large enough to significantly drain the wood element.  The landscaping does not either enhance or detract from the key elements of water and wood.

If you are longing for a personal consultation please inquire privately:

Renee Lindstrom offers:
Indoor & Outdoor Landscape Life & Wellness Consulting & Coaching which enhances relationships, emotions and flexible movement awareness!
Workshops and Events


*Contact Dyan Grant Francis @  The Maturing Edge