Timeless Techniques for the Modern Sustainable Garden
Melinda Joy Miller
Process Media Inc.
I recall as a child my mother working peacefully in the small garden she planted in our military neighborhood home. I don’t know what went through my mother’s head when she chose the flowers for the garden, but the process of tending to the plants appeared meditative for her. This garden provided an oasis for her. I don’t know if my mother contemplated connecting to the earth or if she felt divine energies while she went about her work, but how much more pleasurable she would have found that work in a contemplative state.
Plenty of people call themselves gardeners these days, from people just trying to grow food for their household to others who garden to attract butterflies, bees, and birds into their backyards. Buying local and growing one’s own food has certainly trended in the past decade, but Melinda Joy Miller, author/shaman/co-founder of the Shambhalla Institute takes gardening into another dimension with her book, Shamanic Gardening: Timeless Techniques for the Modern Sustainable Garden.
By taking readers through ancient gardening practices, feng shui, and working with plant energies, Miller reveals to us the numerous treasures hidden in a garden. The term magical garden takes on a new meaning when a garden literally transforms our lives through its healing and nourishing potentials.
Similar to other organic gardening books I’ve reviewed, Miller starts with the basics such as composting, building soil, choosing the right plants, designing a garden plot (she uses a combination of feng shui and the Chinese Five Elements), and then deciding the purpose of the garden. Is it a space to relax and moon gaze, or a spot to grow medicinal herbs and plants to provide flower essences or aromatherapy?
Reading Shamanic Gardening opens up possibilities through its inspiring illustrations, and thoughtful chapters. The narrative flows while no doubt causing readers to feel restless for late winter/early spring to arrive so that they can get started on their own magical garden. Then the book closes with an extensive glossary of plants while giving description of the right environment for the plants to grow, nutrition and healing benefits.
I felt delighted reading Shamanic Gardening since Miller covered a variety of topics dear to my heart such as bringing the spiritual back into daily practices, honoring the plant world, and reconnecting to the natural world. For some people living in urban environments, the closest they’ll get to nature is either a backyard garden or the tomatoes and herbs they grow on a deck or a windowsill. And with her extensive background in the metaphysical, spiritual, and farming, Miller acts as our quintessential guide in creating an oasis in the midst of chaos. The gardens we plant act as a bridge between heaven and earth.
Buy the book at http://www.processmediainc.com