The concept of Minimalism is to understand your outdoor spaces through interacting with them. You can do a lot or just a little or nothing at all beyond looking at the plants and animals with fascination. The rewards are there for the taking.
Thus we can enjoy a bit of light exercise by clipping the grass around and in the plant beds. This will yield a good workout for the solar plexus and the clipping hand. Bending and cutting blades of grass is a very Zen thing to do. I am reminded of the Buddhist who stopped at a tofu hotdog stand and ordered one hotdog. The Buddhist gave the vendor a $20 bill and the vendor turned away. When the Buddhist asked “What about my change? “The vendor replied, “Change comes from within.” This is true in the Minimalist Garden.
Another benefit of Minimalist Garden management by walking around is that we observe the plants and animals as they interact with one another and the environment. Even though we may not immediately have solutions we can admire the problems. Keeping a positive attitude under difficult circumstances will not solve the problem and might annoy some. Nevertheless, as we commune with our outdoor spaces the answers will come. We do know that with Minimalism we do more by doing less. The plants selected for our landscape are native to the area and adapted to the weather conditions, soil type and wildlife interest. Our approach is to be patient and allow the plants to claim the space. Our role is limited to the esthetics and the calisthenics of the exercise. Also we have learned that it is wise to surround the plants, tasty to the deer, with plants they do not like. We will remember this when we replace the coneflowers and asters eaten by the deer even though our research said they do not like these plants. Our observation is that the deer will not bother the switch grass or butterfly weed so we will use these to foil our grazing neighbors.
There are some drawbacks to the MBWA Minimalist Garden method. We must be careful not to fabricate a problem that is not there through our misunderstanding of the ecology. It’s like the guy in the office who thought it charming that people would name their food as he ate a sandwich named Kevin. In the Minimalist Garden we must be careful not to misinterpret the observations we make.
Both a benefit and a drawback to the Minimalist Garden MBWA approach is that it requires consistency and tenacity. This is a benefit because it becomes a ritual part of our daily lives and helps us stay healthy and in tune with the natural world. It is a
drawback because we must persuade ourselves to do things that we aught to have sense enough to do without needing to be persuaded.
The serenity prayer is a good message to live by in the Minimalist Garden and elsewhere in our lives: “May we have the serenity in accepting the things we cannot change and the courage to change what we can and the wisdom to know the difference”.
Our journalist community is enduring a great healing process from the loss of 5 talented and caring and worthy men and women whose job it was to inform and entertain and give us voice. We owe a debt to them and all the others who care. I hope that in some small way this article will make you smile and encourage you to get in touch with your outdoor spaces and begin the healing of our community.
The Minimalist Gardener