Twelve Principles for twelve months- July- Use edges and value the marginal.


The place where two ecosystems meet is a place rich in life and possibilities. Consider the seashore, the edge of a wood or the margins of a pond. In these areas, one type of environment meets another and provides a bountiful ecosystem that provides more niches for life than either of the environments do singularly.  Edges are exciting and active places and if we can learn how to use this for our own benefits, it can have great effects, both in the garden and in our lives.

I find edges very beautiful. Last autumn I took lots of photographs of edges, looking at lines of textures and colour meeting and blending with others. Here is one example.

You can see more in the original posts here. and here I’d like to pick up this project again and take more edge photographs this month while I am on my travels.

On days when I am short of time, I like to concentrate my efforts in the garden on the edges of beds next to paths that I walk along most often. I have planted a diversity of crops on these edges, one bed has strawberries, Calendula, lavender, mint and tomatoes. These are plants that I like to brush past, touch and smell or admire. I want to keep on planting up edges to make my garden beautiful, productive and a joy to spend time in.

I also want to think about the edges in my life. Three aspects spring to mind.

1. The edges of my days and how to use these effectively to fulfill my personal goals. I want to find just a few minutes each morning for some yoga and exercise. I want to use the hour after my children have gone to bed to catch up on Permaculture work, read and plan for my nutrition course and spend time outdoors in the garden enjoying the light evenings while they last.

2. The edges of my comfort zone. I think you can learn a lot about yourself when pushed to the edge of your comfort zone. I have recently been pushed to this edge and found it a very difficult experience. I think its good to keep pushing but not topple over that edge! I have learnt more about my future aspirations by being at the edge, even though I pulled back from breaking down my boundaries in the end.

3. The edge between myself and others. The children break up from school next week, so I will not have a moment to myself. I always find that rather difficult. So I want to try to explore why I find this hard and try to carve out a way of everyone getting what they need from these family relationships. Likewise with my husband, we very rarely get time to be together just the two of us, so I’d like to find this time and make it special. We have been talking about doing the 4 questions together. I think that would be really good for us to really hear each other without being able to but-in with our own opinions!


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