It is absolutely vital for a forest gardener to learn to let go – which is in effect to give up control. Control is what we have historically and habitually used to mistreat the natural world (and each other) but it has no place in a forest garden. There is activity, but it is always a co-creative, inter-activity with the garden. My forthcoming book – the garden of equal delights – explains this in detail, so in anticipation here are a few related explanatory excerpts.
“This is a testing ground for our intention to act on the understanding of everything that we have learned to this point. In other words that this is a co-creative venture with the natural world and requires only that we relax and have the integrity to let nature make its moves without vetoing them, without placing sanctions on what it does and without arbitrary, ill-considered and vain judgments. This will be difficult, but for now the new forest gardener can take refuge in their knowledge of ecosystems, biodiversity, soil fertility and the multiple abilities of plants. This knowledge is at least a buffer against the uncertainty and inevitable anxiety engendered by not being in control.”
“The fundamental functions planned for in a forest garden are but the bare bones (or maybe the bare branches) upon which nature can hang ever-greater complexity brought into the garden from beyond its boundary. Whilst the forest gardener can have a basic grasp of what is needed, what we are actually aiming to replicate is complex far beyond our understanding. And, precisely because of this complexity, much of it can be left directly to nature. The forest gardener cannot manage this alone; we must never think we can.”
“As a result, the forest gardener is released from the responsibility that they may be tempted to feel, of having to ensure that the forest garden works.”
principle: first stop; don’t do anything until you need to and, in that prolonged pause, let go.