This Feng Shui is for the Birds

Have you seen a bird today? Did you hear its song? Did you know that birdsong helps plants grow? The presence of birds and their songs lifts our spirits and raises the energy of our spaces. Keep reading to learn more about how to make your garden both feng shui and nature friendly by Alisa Rose Seidlitz.

You’ve probably heard that for good Feng Shui it is essential to get clutter cleared away, yes? Keeping clutter around usually drags us down. So you may be surprised to learn that sometimes, in some places, keeping “clutter” is literally essential for sustaining LIFE. Keeping it in our gardens and for the birds, that is!

As the seasons change, birds are migrating and clean-up is in full swing in the garden. However, did you know that leaving some clutter, some ‘mess’, greatly helps the birds?

Birds and Nature, Alisa Rose SeidlitzBirds feed on bugs and worms they find on plants, in healthy soil and mulch, on berries and other fruit, and on the seeds which form after flowers finish blooming.  What we consider messy areas needing clean-up are actually great foraging places for birds. In fact, birds depend on finding these sources of nourishment more than ever now.

Due to multiple factors, including urban expansion, drought or flooding, and use of pesticides, there’s much less available to feed upon in the wild. So our gardens become crucial habitat and food resources for birds, pollinators such as bees and butterflies, and other wildlife.

By doing less, by reframing what you consider mess, and by letting the ‘clutter’ stay awhile, you can truly help!

In urban environments and even in the suburbs, birds, like all living beings (including humans!) still need at least some ‘wildness’ to thrive!

A wide variety of plants provide seeds which birds need and enjoy.

  • Instead of deadheading (removing) spent flowers, leave the seed heads in place for birds to dine upon.
  • Instead of raking or sweeping away fallen leaves, let them stay on the ground, as birds love to forage there.
  • Leave thickets of plants, even dry-looking, with spent flowers and all, as shelter.
  • Dried flower stalks, too, offer great perches to keep birds safe, even during wintertime.

In addition to making meals, the ‘mess’ in your garden makes bird nests! They use dried grasses, twigs, plant stems, leaves, bits of bark, grass clippings and even animal hair to make their homes.

Birds and Nature, Alisa Rose Seidlitz     Birds and Nature, Alisa Rose Seidlitz    Birds and Nature, Alisa Rose Seidlitz

The above photos shown here were taken at Ashby Community Garden in Berkeley, California – a delightful, free-flowing, rustic and bountiful place, where food for humans grows, along with a smorgasbord of yummies for our fellow creatures. With soft and permeable sheet-mulched pathways and deep, healthy soil, this pollinator garden has continued to thrive despite the drought.  Birds, butterflies, native bees and others abound among various yarrows, salvias, scabiosa, yellow dock, echinacea, buddleia, feverfew, sunflower, asclepias, tithonia and lavender, to name just a few plants which have free and ‘messy’ range. At one point recently, scores of little birds (finches, perhaps?) sat on a dry fennel stalks, eating well and loudly singing out their gratitude!

During dry weather, in every season, please remember to put out a bit of water somewhere in your garden for birds and pollinators (yes, pollinators also need sustenance year ’round), and of course do lighten your load of clean-up chores by leaving it for the birds!

That’s the BEST Feng Shui!

  
Alisa Rose SeidlitzAlisa Rose Seidlitz is a longtime Ecological Garden Designer, Certified Green Building Professional, GreenAP for Interiors, Graceful Lifestyles Certified Interior Re-Designer, Flower Essence and Reiki Practitioner. Read more about Alisa Rose.

Creating a Feng Shui Garden: Metal Element

“I love incorporating the 5 natural elements into a Feng Shui garden setting. Metal is especially fun as it is a great hard scape material and is represented by round and oval shapes. Also, the colors of white, silver and gold are metal.” Find out more about the Feng Shui element of metal in your outdoor spaces by Maureen Calamia.

Metal represents refinement and boldness. A little goes a long way.  Especially in a Feng Shui garden.

What Not to Do!

Although this is metal and is somewhat round, no, you don’t wanted a rusted car in your garden! (Although my friend points out that she could plant a nice geranium bed in the engine!)

What to Do!

Metal can be incorporated with a beautiful, unique sculpture, such as this sculpture.

In fact, the symbolism of this sculpture is heaven on earth, represented by the circle (heaven) within the square (earth). A truly a dramatic way to incorporate metal in any garden.

Or it can be as simple (and much less expensive) as this – a gazing ball.

Metal lawn furniture, metal trellises, and fencing are more ways to incorporate metal into your yard.

 

Best Places for Metal

Metal is best in the West, Northwest and North areas of your property. The West is known for Completion and Creativity. The Northwest is known for Helpful People and Travel. The North is known for Life’s Journey, Opportunities and your Career.

 

maureenkcalamia_RRMaureen Calamia is founder of the Re-Nature Feng Shui™ philosophy based on the fact that we need to restore nature back into our lives. Maureen brings her passion for Feng Shui to the greater community as an educator and past long time IFSG board member.  Read more about Maureen.

 

Article/Image Source: Creating a Feng Shui Garden: Metal Element

The Importance of Live Plants in Feng Shui

The Importance of Live Plants, Maureen CalamiaOne of the most common recommendations to improve feng shui is the addition of plants. Why is that? Find out more from Maureen Calamia.

Very simply, plants represent wealth and abundance in feng shui. As a metaphor, they symbolize health and growth, both very important to good feng shui. Fresh, lively, and abundant plants are probably the best thing you can do to enhance your prospects in life.

According to Eastern philosophy, trees and plants are considered the Wood Element, one of the 5 Natural Elements which include Fire, Earth, Metal and Water. The energy of Wood is uprising, initiating, and growth. It is early yang energy that facilitates the budding of spring and new beginnings in all of life.

So what is behind the significance of plants in feng shui?

Evolution
We evolved over millions of years within the natural environment. We subconsciously seek places with healthy, abundant plants which not only indicate an abundant food source, but an abundant supply of fresh water. We are hard-wired to desire such an environment and associate it with health, and therefore, wealth. So, when we are in environments with healthy plants we feel better and more alive. It’s no wonder that healthcare facilities have made great efforts to increase the proliferation of plants over the last couple of decades.

Air quality
Indoor environments are 2-5 times more polluted than most outdoor spaces, because of the toxicity of materials and products used within the home, plus the lack of fresh air flow. Plants add moisture to the air, which increases negative ions (which, ironically, are good for you!) and eat toxins. Some plants are more efficient than others, but all plants do help improve the air we breathe.

Consciousness
Have you read or seen “The Celestine Prophecy?” It is true that plants have a consciousness that responds to its environment. Although a different type of consciousness, healthy plants contribute to the positive energy in our spaces. Similar to “forest bathing” (a Japanese term for being refreshed during a walk in the woods), plants in our indoor environments refresh our energy. For more information read The Secret Life of Plants by Peter Tompkins and Live and Let Live by Dr. Jim Conroy and Basia Alexander.

Since the 1970’s there have been tons of studies that show how plants improve our focus and attention, productivity, enhance health outcomes, reduce violence and absenteeism. Plants improve the environment in homes, offices, urban spaces, healthcare facilities, schools and even prisons.

“I don’t have a green thumb”
I hear that from many people. They kill any plant that they get. If this is you, my recommendation is to get a few plants that are easy maintenance (don’t buy a bonsai!) and make the intention to water it every few days. Use cuttings from your yard or buy a weekly bouquet of flowers. Just bring some positive, fresh, lively energy into your life on a daily basis!

 

maureenkcalamia_RRMaureen Calamia is founder of the Re-Nature Feng Shui™ philosophy based on the fact that we need to restore nature back into our lives. Maureen brings her passion for Feng Shui to the greater community as an educator and long time past IFSG board member. Read more about Maureen.

 

Article/Image Source: The Importance of Live Plants in Feng Shui

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