Copyright: 1994, 2012 S. Tephyr Burgess
I first discovered Co-Creative gardening when I was in high school. It resonated with me and explained some things that happened to me as a child.
Co-Creationism was first (re)introduced to Western people during the 1960s in a place called Findhorn in Scotland. It's grown and expanded throughout the years and it's gone from a trailer park into a full fledged learning center.
Many embraced this concept that Nature is an Intelligence and one that wishes to work with us. Particularly to save the earth from the damage humans have done already.
There are several people over the years, including myself, who have communicated their experiences with this life style and belief system. Many have written books and started centers.
One of the changes world wide over the years is many have stopped using the word Co-Creative as it's become to mean something else to many. Co-Partnership is a phrase used very often and basically means the same thing: unless used for the other definitions of Co-Creative. Confused? So am I. I've found myself saying Co-Creative/Co-Partnership when explaining. A lot of typing and words if spoken.
I hesitate to call it anything else though as that would just make it more confusing.
For simplicity let's just call if Co-Creative here.
I've been gardening my whole life. I was born in May to a gardener and I'm told I was dragged around on a blanket whilst she worked in the flower beds for the first 6 months of my life. I don't remember that but I do remember being with my Mother whilst she worked; so who knows how far back those memories go. My first vegetable garden was in Junior High and I started it behind the garden with my father. By that time they were committed to organic gardening as have I for the rest of my life.
I've described the type of Gardening to people as Fanatical Organic Gardening. Because even organic gardeners are a bit confused that I don't even use organic pesticides.
I don't garden exactly the same way I did back when I started this site (1994). There are many who wouldn't consider me Co-Creative anymore.
Why? I will occasionally use barriers to keep some creatures away from plants I need to eat.
This is the key point in the change. I've always said that if you loose a crop to something eating it then Trust in Nature you didn't need it. And I still believe that. But I also don't think Nature wants us to starve and there are gentle ways to keep creatures off you crops without killing or maiming them.
The biggest pest I have in my garden is my own and the neighbors cats. They seem to think all those lovely beds of soft soil are there for them as litter boxes. So I put nets over new beds until the plants become established.
Let's discuss slugs.
One year I was totally over come with them. The year before I'd started a no dig technique where you compost the soil, lay cardboard or newspapers down then mulch on top of that.
I have a lot of leaves up here in the Autumn and use them.
The second year after I started I had at least ten thousand slugs. They ate everything I planted. They were everywhere. What was I to do? As a cancer survivor, I need my fresh garden produce now more then ever in my life. Did I really not need it? Did I really have to go to the added expense of purchasing my lettuce, broccoli, etc?
I couldn't kill them so drowning them in beer was out.
I couldn't maim them so putting salt on them was out. (really? How do people do that?)
So I put copper bracelets around the plants made out of liter plastic bottles and copper tape. They won't go over copper; they back up.
I felt like I'd Sinned. :)
The next year I had an abundance of frogs, toads and snakes and they ate all the slugs. Nature prevailed and took care of it and I only occasionally need the bracelets.
(By the way: the no dig technique is working very very well: I hardly have to weed the garden beds at all. I just keep piling compost and leaves on each Autumn as I put the garden to bed before Snow fall)
It took me awhile to get over the feeling that I'd betrayed myself and my beliefs; not to mention Nature and the Devic Realm. I don't know what else I could have done: we are talking total annihilation of every thing I planted that year. I had to replant everything. I think the only plants I didn't have to replant were tomatoes and they ate the fruit.
So I think a compromise was the best solution. Until Nature could re-balance The Garden. I'd temporarily changed the eco system by changing my mulching technique (something I've been told by a Permaculture expert happens in the first year of this technique normally as well as Nature's solution with the predators coming in the next year: wish I'd known ahead of time)
This made me think though. Yes: my need was greater then usual and the loss was more then I'd ever experienced before. Usually it would be some of something and I'd just replant. But what if I was gardening for survival? What would I do? Would I kill things to save my crops?
Honestly I don't know. I hope I never have to find out.
But it brought to mind that not everyone on this Earth is in a position where you can just let even a small portion of your crop go. Whether economic or survival or both; they need the crops to survive. So how would Co-Creationism work for them and would one have the right to expect it.
I have questions but not answers. I am the only one I know in this region who gardens like this so I know that I don't push people to follow this path. I'd certainly not try to influence someone who is trying to stay alive on their crops. Though: I'd highly recommend regular organic gardening as it's safer all around.
And good soil and healthy plants keep the pests away regardless.
In the mean time: I'm still gardening as I always have. I've put about four braceletts out this year around some broccoli and collard greens but no one is bothering the others. I put the net over the lettuce plants as the cats were doing their thing in there.
I still won't kill anything. I'll put up a barrier if they start to take too much again but that's my only compromise. There is a huge lawn and forest out there for them to turn around and go eat. I still feel this is a good way to live and garden but I'm not as hard on myself as I used to be. And The Garden is still flourishing. In many ways more then ever.
I'm basically rewriting this site to reflect the above changes as well as other ideas I have. I'm going to Archive many of the old articles and start afresh with concepts that I feel are more pertinent to what I'm doing currently.
If you'd like to read my gardening blog which also covers what I'm doing in my studio go here: Tephyr's Garden
I also have another blog where I post updates on my trials with LMS: Leiomayosarcoma:
And of course, check back here for new updates and articles on Co-Creative/Co-partnership/Spirit Based Gardening. :)