Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Garden Surgery

Our world changes around us, in so many different ways, but often times it happens very slowly – over the course of many years – and it is difficult to recognize this change.

For example – this maple tree sapling is in its second year of growth and if I was not diligent in my care for my garden, it could continue to grow to be a mature tree. This is what has happened all over the yard and garden where Joanne and I are living. The gardens were built many years ago but for the last ten years they have not been maintained. That is why it has been such a labour intensive love to bring these gardens back to life.

Our entire yard is filled with trees, like this one, and this could be a problem if neglect continued. Trees and weeds will grow wherever they can find soil. Weeds are easy to clear away, but the trees sometimes pose a problem.

This is a close-up of the previous photo and you can clearly see that this tree grew through the metal fence. It didn’t make me too happy to have to cut this tree down, but if I didn’t, the entire fence that it has grown through would be ripped from the ground in another five years.

Some of the smaller trees I’ve managed to be able to dig up with most of the roots still intact. These trees I take to a nearby park and transplant back into the Earth. The larger ones sometimes sustain too much damage so I cut them up into lengths that will fuel my seasonal garden fires. I usually have one fire in the spring and one fire in the fall, to get rid of these limbs and other ‘green’ waste and the nitrogen adds valuable nutrients to the soil.

As you can tell, from this photo, I’ve been very busy with my new pruning saw, clearing away all the ‘accidental’ trees that were growing through fences, between houses, beside porches and throughout the garden. I always find it handy to have a small space, usually close to the composter, where I collect all these types of ‘green’ waste.

As I’m busying myself with these chores, my mind can’t help to wander… I wonder what would happen if the tree that was growing through the fence was to remain. I imagine, year after year, that the tree grows taller and with each year the fence becomes torn further and further away from the ground.

In this photo, we see four or five maple tree saplings that are growing out from the underside of the back porch. If these trees continued to grow, in five years the would begin to lift the edge of the wood porch. In another ten years the porch would have been torn apart. Examples like this are found everywhere and they all remind me of the simple, gentle and oh-so-powerful force that is Nature.

We humans truly believe that we have successfully dominated our world – that we are the masters of our domain. Thoughts like this make me laugh because they are uttered in absolute ignorance. I have fun imaging what our world would be like without humans. What if something happened and humans suddenly vanished from the Earth? Nature would do what Nature has done throughout the history of this world – be its own master!!!

With the examples that I’ve shared in this blog entry, I laugh when I think of how our neighbourhoods would look, thirty years after humans have vanished. We would find a thick forest of trees, filled with lawn chairs and bar-b-ques – because the tree saplings had grown through them. We would find porches lifted up and fences ripped from their foundations. Many houses would be knocked over or have a wall pushed in from the trees growing along the side of the walls. Eavestroughs would fill with debris, thus creating compost to support the birth of more tree saplings, that would continue to grow until the eaves became too heavy and then broke away from the house. Within ten years our streets would be covered with grasses and weeds and other tree saplings that would grow through the asphalt to destroy our streets.

I think that it’s important to use our imaginations to create funny scenarios such as this, so that we can realize how insignificant our man-made world truly is and how dominating Nature will always be. We all need to grow our appreciation for the Nature that provides for all of our needs, so that we can revel in a new kind of relationship that will ensure humanities continued existence on this world.


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