If you are gardening, you are now dealing with the extreme and more frequent changes in the weather. This is not a philosophical discussion or something that is happening to other people. Climate change brought about by global warming is altering all the individual elements and life patterns that make up a garden’s environment. Many of the changes around us are invisible and, unless you have gardened for years, the altered patterns are imperceptible. It’s the seasoned gardener who is noticing the fundamental changes garden rhythms. More and more, gardeners are unable to rely on creating a successful garden by doing things the way they have been done in previous years. The bottom line: It’s all changing due to global warming and climate change.
The most effective way of dealing with these changes is to work with nature and to follow nature’s directions for addressing the new variables in balanced ways. However, when working with nature, the greatest element that limits nature’s role and what it can offer is the human mind. We close down nature’s information about necessary change by assuming that the patterns that have been previously set will continue. As gardeners, it is vital that we enter all our planning sessions with nature with a clear mind and that we set all assumptions aside. The only valid assumption we can take with us into the sessions is that things may change.
In general, you need to keep a flexible mind and be willing to accept the needed changes to achieve your garden’s goals in light of the environmental challenges. Different varieties of plants that can better withstand the new weather extremes may need to be planted. The garden’s rows may need to be laid out differently. For example, in areas of extreme drought, rain is retained in soil better when rows are laid out in contour with the land. The planting timing may change. The size of the garden may need to change in order to better meet your goals. In short, everything that goes into planning and working a garden may need to change. Nature is your source when it comes to determining what to do. Or the filter limits you by reducing the chances that you’ll think to ask nature the pertinent questions.
So as you move through these early planning sessions, you’ll need to be mentally relaxed, flexible and assumption-free in order to wrap your head around the needed changes. And because global warming and climate change are going to continue for quite some time thus reducing the chances for yearly patterns to form, you’ll need to approach each year’s garden with a commitment to explore new approaches that better address that year’s environmental changes.
I see this as an exciting time to be experiencing a co-creative partnership with nature. It’s one thing to be operating with nature in a relatively stable environment with equally stable variables. Patterns that are established early on in the garden’s life remain throughout the years and we can depend on consistency and the comfort that gives us. But climate change has moved us into a situation that is serious and filled with fast-moving changes. More and more we are going to be forced to look for answers and help if we are to successfully navigate our way through these years. We need to shift our thinking and trade the comfort of consistency for the excitement and adventure of change.