Birds, Bees, Butterflies

birds lorikeets 7726879.Lorikeet02lobees 375033_535933483133523_607511356_nbutterflies July 2008 294

And how easy it is to scare them away with garden noise and savage gardening.  Yet, how important they are on a number of levels.
At a base level, they provide pollination and therefore, procreation for plants. Without their help, so much of plant life, and our food web, would fail.
At an aesthetic level, how lovely are these creatures as they roam around randomly in the garden spaces. How lovely do they look.  How beautiful are their sounds.   How delightful is our simple exposure to nature’s way.
At a spiritual level, they represent so much in terms of biophilic engagement.   That is, the sense of connection we have when nature comes into our lives, and that is often described as peace, serenity, or simply listening to the earth.
The dynamic nature of these gentle garden engagements, amidst the raw nature of creature survival is as complex as it is simple.  Yet every weekend with brutish bravado, we ramp up the two stroke and bludgeon our way through the garden destroying all sense of nature, ambience and delight, scaring away the things that makes our garden great.
Well worth re-considering the many different and more considerate ways to garden with less noise, less brutality and far more sympathy.

And well worth considering that being a “Quiet Gardener” is an important thing!

 

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NOISE in the suburbs – 5 days a week

Between jobs on Friday, and wearing my “Quiet Gardener” T-Shirt, a retired fellow start a conversation –

garden-tools“What does a Quiet Gardener do?”

“Oh I garden quietly – I tend to use hand tools or battery electric machinery because it doesn’t make the same noise as petrol driven un-muffled machines”

We continued to talk about it and I rolled out my various facts and figures about 14 houses affected by a leaf blower, the over engineered nature of many base model garden machines and the physics of a leaf that won’t turn!  It’s exciting stuff!!

burran 1 imagesHe then noted that he was now retired and lived in one of the more salubrious streets in Mosman, down towards Balmoral Beach, and had done for over 40 years.  In his time there, the street scape had changed from lawns running into each other and modest houses and friendly neighbourhood gatherings, to high hurdle hedges, fences that seclude and exclude, double and triple garages that dominate the street scape leading to no neighbourly interactions … and NOISE!!!

He noted that 5 to 6 days a week, his street is nothing like a sleepy suburbia, but dominated by gardening teams that roar and plunder the various, and multiplicity, of  burran 5 imageshedges and sculptured gardens – the best that money can buy!  Generally, these are gardens driven by ego and one up-ing the neighbours.  Very very very few manage their own gardens and have no qualms importing noise into what should be a delightfully peaceful and serene environment.

Sadly, every day of the week is noise driven maintenance with NO … NONE … ZERO consideration of the noise that attacks this peaceful environment every working day.

It really does need to change for the mental sake of us all.  NOISE is an unsuspecting predator that has taken the suburbs by stealth and nobody seems to consider it a problem. Councils do nothing.  Neighbours and communities do nothing.

It really is time to change this.

Jump on to FACEBOOK and “like” our “Quiet Garden Evolution” now … AND, try to make a quiet difference yourself in the garden and around your home.

 

 

 

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The Future of Noise

leaf blower_t479I was talking to a client the other day, and they said, “why do you bother being a quiet gardener?Noise is just what it is…”

Acceptance rather than appreciating that so much of noise is not necessary, and conversely, that a lack of noise has beneficial health and nature effects is a fixable conundrum. One petrol mower impacts around 14 houses; add in a whipper snipper, hedge trimmer, leaf blower and pretty soon you have an upwardly mobile chart of noise invasion!! The article below is an interesting read – especially the Quiet Mark proposal.

Noise – does it have a future?
Tuesday 4 February 2014 4:26PM Antony Funnell

Too much noise can make us unhappy, stressed and even sick. Around the world people are pushing back against the racket. But it can be hard to decide which noises are welcome and which aren’t, writes Antony Funnell.

noise densities and types
George Gershwin’s classic 1924 composition Rhapsody in Blue not only captured the spirit of Manhattan, but also its sound. Its notes and orchestrations, like musical onomatopoeia, mimicked the bustle and clatter of the city.

In many ways it was a tribute to urbanisation and to the real-life score that accompanies its daily grind. For Gershwin the noise of the city was one of its defining features—an aspect of modern life to be celebrated. But despite the enduring popularity of his piece, the sounds of big city life remain a problematic feature of our urban experience.

“We are moving into a new era where people are understanding how sound actually impacts their health and their productivity.”
POPPY ELLIOTT, QUIET MARK

For the full article, click here – http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/futuretense/noise-does-it-have-a-future/5237628

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Make space for GOOD noise!!

Backyard Playground for KidsOne of the great problems, I find, with contemporary garden design is that it often forgets who are the main users.

 

Oh mum and dad might cut, trim, plant and nourish the garden, but probably 95% of the playtime is the children, or little people in your life.

They run, jump, skip, throw a ball, ride a bike, invent a game or just “investigate” nature and all that lurks in the garden.  With nothing at all except nature, kids will happily invent imaginative outcomes – just put them out there, add nothing and watch for almost instant results!!  They will do it singularly or in pairs, triplets or teams.

And with most of this imaginative action, comes noise!!  Good Noise!!   GREAT NOISE!!  Noise you can smile about as a proud parent and feel that you have really offered your kids something terrific.

bean teepee 578828_10150955434233801_715735182_n

So when it comes down to garden design, think NOT about yourself.  Think of your core user group – the kids!  Think of age, play status, growing up stages and interests, and think about designing and creating around these facts.

Above all, think durable; think variation; think secret passages and spaces; think 3D and not flat and boring; think climbing trees not decorative trees; think multi purpose; think kid’s activities… THINK FUN and THINK WONDERFUL!!

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The Reality of the Quiet Gardener

It’s been almost 3 years now since I first arrived at the concept behind the Quiet Gardener, and therefore the quiet garden!

It was all about recreating the scenario of a peaceful, sleepy suburbia; a place where we might escape the noise and hustle and bustle of daily life.  It was a stand against the rise and use of what I describe as “man tools” – the blower, the whipper snipper, the trimmers and cutters that fall in the category of “labour saving devices” yet in reality, they fall into the category of fat generators, noise creators and peace destroyers!!

For those already shaking their heads at what might be now considered standard gardening items, let me ask you a few questions … “What is the garden for?”; “What is the impact of MY noise on those around me, and the nature around me?”

And I might also make a couple of statements ….“Manual labour is good for you, and the benefits ensuing are enjoyed by those around you!”; “You can DO IT efficiently and well(gardening) without over-engineered machinery!”

I’ve now worked as “the quiet gardener” for over 18 months.  This has involved a wide range of gardening from a non-gardeners perspective – I dig, maintain, trim, weed, plant, prune, shovel and mow.  While its hard to always be a quiet gardener as the commercial needs also abound, MOSTLY, I clip, sweep, rake, edge, dig, cut and prune manually.

And amazingly, I create finishes that are softer, less brutal and harsh, natural and aesthetically pleasing. As an analogy, you can trim your hair regularly and keep it neat and under control, or you can take to it with buzz sheers for a savage number 1 and let it grow out over time.   The quiet gardener is the former… ticking away regularly, and maintaining a natural, evolving look!

My clients range from small to large gardens, and not one has complained about my lack of power tool use – I complete the job, and most comment on the “no noise” compared to their neighbours “rev head” approaches!

The concept of the quiet garden has been lost through “stealth” – year on year, fathers day by fathers day, we have seen the constant development of labour saving man tools that take away the “load” of gardening manually.  And over the years, dad’s have got fatter; dad’s have reduced the incidental garden exercise, noise has risen, input costs have increased and a relaxing peaceful neighbourhood has been abso-bloody-lutely shattered!!

In some council areas abroad, petrol driven garden machinery have been banned as a means of eliminating unnecessary noise.  Why is that not possible and a viable option for all communities where we start to re-engage with the concept of community living and shared space, that INCLUDES sound and, therefore, noise minimisation.

It’s feasible and do-able…. the quiet garden is reality and not fantasy!!

 

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“How does your garden grow?”

Head and Heart

The head or the heart? What is the balance?

Now living down the bottom end of the leafy north shore in Sydney, I can’t help but feel a madness has come over a vast majority of gardens in terms of design, maintenance(cost and time), usage and really coming to grips with what a garden is really all about?

Down here, the easy answer is that it’s all about the “added value to my house” with little sense as to actually living and enjoying the garden!! I know I’ve sprouted this before, but it seems to me that far too many people are trying to create the gardens from the Palace of versailles on their less than quarter acre block in the suburbs of Sydney. And in the main, they can’t manage it themselves, so they buy in the “slave support” that the King of France was able to garner to create this artistic miracle.

Let’s face it – Gardens grow.

To trim and cut and hide their evolution I feel limits the way we have planned the garden to “become”. It’s a little like “Ground Hog Day” because when we constantly trim and shape, we are not creating anything new and we are not allowing the garden to evolve. Instead, we are simply, and constantly, re-drawing the same canvas and re-painting the same picture.

Those aspiring to a rigid 90degree’d box hedge trim have a lot to answer for in terms of look, noise and time wasted on….????

I feel this scenario provides us with a wonderful opportunity to develop our sense of the “anal” and become obsessed with a static image rather than an evolving garden. Such gardens draw lines, hard and fast, about what can and can’t take place in this space. It’s almost fanatical in it’s contribution, and loathsome in it’s structure and continuance.

Each week in the garden turns out to be the same, and each seasonal view is unchanging. That famous nursery rhyme asking Mary the question about “How does your garden grow” is totally superfluous in this environment, because we know exactly what the answer is every day.

People may pass by and offer kind words of praise and beauty, INITIALLY, but it won’t take them long to have this type of static image totally unseen in their minds as they pass by because it doesn’t offer interest, change or any sense of variation, yet that is exactly what gardens should be about so that we can tempt the senses, nourish a desire to witness growth and be part of a dynamic and holistic connection with nature.

Unfortunately, this first streetscape scenario is becoming all too familiar.

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ReCREATION or rEcreation???

It all comes down to how we pronounce it as to the meaning we ascribe to it.

In ReCREATION, we find balance and sustainability.  Here, lifestyle tends towards harmony where interlocking life issues draw strength and oxygen from each other, and the play supports the work and the work enhances the play.

With rEcreation, my interpretation is that we are starting anew; the button has just been pushed; the dawn has arrived; a new or innovative possibility has come to the fore.

I would like to combine the two and push them both into the garden.  I’ve a background in permaculture and I have been impressed with writings by Stephen Kellert and E.O Wilson on Biophillia, or the “love of life” and natures role in it, and Richard Louv’s discussions around “The Nature Principle” and the topic of “nature deficit syndrome”, a green adaptation of the over-patronised “attention deficit disorder syndrome”.

Both talk to me in powerful ways and both talk to me about a forgotten, or lost, time and space; something from our shades of innocence and yet something so magnificent and elegantly simple we seem to continually look the other way when it comes into view.  It is the simplicity of the garden.  The peacefulness of the garden.  The playfullness of the garden.  The beauty, the silence, the nature and the magnificence of the garden.   These words are more than descriptive adjectives, they form a value that we often find impossible to match in other parts of our everyday life, and far too often, through, really, a lack of full appreciation, we retreat into technology and the electronic ether and disengage with life and living.  Conversely, staying with nature offers us a myriad of physical, emotional and spiritual potency that is BOTH ReCREATION and rEcreation.

Somewhere between the invention of the world’s first labour saving device, the wheel, the television remote control, the microwave and the all to selfish and nature awareness destroying ipod, we have lost and forgotten the value of ReCreating and rEcreating in the humble garden.

The garden doesn’t ask a lot of us.  If we leave it, nature has a tendency to find it’s own harmony and self determines it’s own development – it may not represent the cultivated and contrived garden of our dreams, but in all it’s glory, nature finds the connecting and complementary pathways of least resistance.

We can give to the garden in many ways in terms of water, nutrients, seeds and sunshine, and, we can also take from the garden in terms of food, space, play, trimming, weeding and order.  So we could say, that, over time, we might balance out with the garden in terms of our givings and takings.

Far too often, these are passive and not active.  Far too many of us fail to recognise the true value of the garden and the true value we can achieve in ReCREATING and rEcreating in and with the garden.  It is too easy to dismiss, ignore and by pass this silent warrior.  Far too many find it a “chore” to actively engage in the garden and so we attack it with over engineered motorised tools of annihilation and deafening noise that destroy any peaceful value we place on ours and surrounding gardens.  We hide our children away from it’s beauty and creative space, and if we have community parks, we scare ourselves and the legal fraternity with simple games like swings, round-a-bouts and climbing castles!

We are losing the value of the natural garden and park space.  We are allowing it to again be pushed aside by fast paced technology and powerful commercial advertising dominations.  Like the food we eat, if the apple and orange farmers had as much advertising clout as a fast food chain, we would all be eating 6 pieces of fruit a day and health would be jumping for joy!!

But we don’t, and we don’t with the garden.  The value and values are there but we are losing the opportunity to both ReCREATE and rEcreate.

It costs not a lot, and yet it gives so very much.

I would encourage you to re-discover the value of, and in, the garden for yourself.

 

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NEW Intro to Permaculture Course – Feb/March 2013

We are running TWO Intro to Permaculture courses, consisting of 16 hours of tuition, spread over 4 sessions of 4 hours duration.

Each course will be held in Bayview, on the beautiful northern beaches of Sydney.

One course will be Saturday afternoons commencing Feb 16th, and the other, daytime and during the week, starting Feb 19th.  Cost is $240 (includes text book)

For details, simply call Craig Duckmanton at either contact below –

M: 0412 130 221

E: craigd@thequietgardener.com.au

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Paid Garden Workouts – No Gyms allowed!!

Be AwesomeWow… our Facebook site, the Quiet Garden Evolution, has just crept over 40 faithful quiet gardeners!! How awesome is that – from an annoyingly loud and intrusive next door gardening team, powered up with mega decibels, to an understanding and an evolution that things don’t have to make noise or be oil based machines to be successful in the garden is a great achievement – well done “friends”!!

I have been a little bit absent from the cause of late, but did want to note to all that i am now up to approx 7 hours a week of “quiet” and paid gardening – my exercise program as such, is working well – there is no gym yet I am doing multi functional exercise and getting the added benefits of outdoors, social interaction and meaningful endeavours.

As we move into spring, its time to expand the Quiet Garden endeavours … keep the volume down, but stay in touch 🙂

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The Quiet Gardener is just what it is – bringing peace and serenity back to the garden.

Since the invention of the powered mower 100 years ago, the raucous noise factor drawn into the peaceful pastime of gardening has been amplifying to the point of mania!!

From the lawnmower screaming on a Sunday morning, to the evolving range of powered “Man Tools” … the blower, hedge trimmer, whipper snipper, mulcher, edger and even, yes, a vacuum for picking up leaves … our simple garden bliss has been severely hijacked!!

It’s time to bring quiet refuge back to the garden.

Bring back the birds and the bees, bring back the serenity, and bring back the laughter and fun families enjoy in a garden … bring back the peace and serenity you desire.

There are TWO key factors to consider ….

Firstly … the noise, and I think most would agree that it should be reduced, in your home, and in your street.

Secondly … the garden design.   And great design is, we believe, about productive low energy, closed loop systems that really work well to save you time and effort on busy weekends, and reward you with more productive, and enjoyable, outcomes.

We aim do so much more than just mow, trim, prune and blow.

With a background and qualification in Permaculture Design, we aim to offer you the best garden experience – productive, family oriented, beauty, changing, energy efficient, time effective … and the list could go on and on.

As such, we do G.A.R.D.E.N.S

Grow               … Productive, in every sense

Active             … Functional no-cost exercise

Resilient       … Adapt to the constant change of the weather, seasons etc

Design            … Working to a low energy, closed loop design system

Educate         … Help you appreciate, develop and understand permaculture

Nourish         … Develop soil flora and fauna, make compost, hold moisture

Sustain          … Choose low energy, self managed & productive options 

For more information, or a free quote, just call  –

Craig on 0412 130 221,  or email to craigd@thequietgardener.com.au

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