Did you know on February 10th, 2013 begins the year of the snake?
In the Bible the snake often represents betrayal and evil, in Chinese culture it is a symbol of wisdom and kindness. According to an old Chinese saying “A snake in the house means the family will never starve” . The shedding of snake’s skin denotes renewal and rebirth in life, and it is believed that those coming in contact with a person born in the snake year will gain greater vitality and energy.
In mythology, the snake represents fertility and renewal, so the Year of the Snake is a good time for inward reflection and transformation through release of past blockages.
On a recent trip I took with the hubs to Las Vegas I took some time to run to the Bellagio’s Conservatory and Botanical Garden. Their representation of the Year of the Snake was beautiful and showed a rich history the Chinese have played in the gardens we see today.
As I was snapping photos and reading labels it made me stop and think of how experiences in our own live shape how we garden and the more we explore the more we stretch our creativity. Because I took the time to explore and learn from this garden inevitably I will look at my own garden in a new light.
It is something that I had to learn over the years, I use to only like gardens that were just like mine. I obviously have a personal preference to how a garden should look. I like clean lines and things cut and orderly. Now I realize that even gardens that are more abstract, wild and informal can teach me how to be a better gardener. Those gardens can show me a way to incorporate a plant or to try a plant that I would have thought wouldn’t fit in my garden before, but more importantly to open my mind to new and unusual things.
As your planning your garden take some time to visit your local conservatory or look at photos in magazines or on the internet of garden design, plants or gardening philosophies that are a bit different from what you are typically drawn too and see if you can find something new and interesting to add to your garden this year.
I am looking at adding a willow fence panels to the back of my naturalizing bed which will add needed height and help to halt the viewer’s eye. I am also playing with the idea of allowing a small meadow garden to grow off to the side of the Kitchen Garden and Chicken Coop. It will be great for the wildlife and will be an easy and inexpensive way to add another dimension to my garden. Though my need to keep order will guarantee that the meadow garden will have nice cleanly mowed edges and paths.
An easy way to try something new without a huge commitment or cost is adding a tropical (seasonal) plant to your perennial garden that you will pull out in the fall and bring into the house to enjoy over the winter. Place orchids or bromeliads in your pots with annuals, try elephant ears in your full sun garden or try toad lilies in your shade garden. Plants offer endless possibilities use them to your advantage this year in the garden. Statues and trellis can also add height and interest to your garden throughout all four seasons. Find a little nook in your garden where someone traveling past might stumble upon a hidden surprise.
As you decide your gardening plans whether you have never gardened before or an old pro, try something new, you never know what surprises might await.
My Chinese New Year Wish to you… Jiqing youyu – “May your happiness be without limit”