A seed is a latent speck of life. As it germinates and begins the metamorphosis to becoming a plant it gives up its solitary identity – cracking open is a precursor to profound change as it starts to interact with the air, soil and water which enable it to grow and mature. Eventually it takes its place in the community of all life and receives from this community support, nourishment and nurture. In due course it its’ own turn it will die and decay as it reciprocates the support, nourishment and nurture it has received. In the completion of its lifecycle is the fulfilment of its original inherent potential.
We are used to being separate and to being – or trying very hard to be – in control of the environment around us. However, forest gardens ask us to become very different gardeners, in the same way that life gardens very differently. They invite the forest gardener to metaphorically plant themself within the garden, into this localised, forming and expanding web of life. And in so doing to choose to submit to their own personal germination and metamorphosis in order to reach a much deeper understanding of and interaction with our forest gardens and also with the wider natural world.
But whilst this is what a seed does naturally – because it cannot do otherwise – it is not easy for us – rather, it is very difficult indeed. To be like a seed we need to germinate, giving up control in order to connect and embrace a relaxed submission that allows nature the freedom to make her own interventions in the garden.
But having taken this step on the journey to becoming an integral part of the forest garden community a profoundly different perspective opens up. We begin to see and then to think differently – from a connected viewpoint that eventually comes to a heartfelt knowledge of the forest garden as a community of equality – each plant, tree, bush, fungus, soil dwelling micro-organism, each insect, bird and animal all offering their own unique gifts and attributes to the wellbeing of the whole.
Planting just one seed is an act of healing for the garden, planting a forest garden is an act of healing on a larger scale; planting oneself within the forest garden is an act of faith and trust which goes further still because ultimately it is also an act of self healing.
shield bugs on dandelion seed heads have their place in the garden and so do we