Why a garden?

by Alix de Fermor

Why a garden? And what is it really for us? A garden, in my view, is an effort to bring a little piece of enhanced Nature close to the places we live. Why do we need it? I think Nature is in our genes: for thousands and thousands of years the human species has been deeply and intimately connected with Nature and, although the society in which we live is now taking us further and further away from Nature - we mostly live in buildings surrounded by streets and other buildings, cars, noise, pollution, bad smells and so on - we really need the beauty of Nature whether we are conscious of it or not. Society may try to convince us that a faster car, the latest iPhone, a robot to clean our living room or to cook for us is what we need, but actually it is not true. And because we, people of the Dzogchen Community, have a tendency to observe ourselves, we notice it.

So, here comes our garden! It is a refuge where we can relax and reconnect to what we’ve lost or have yet to discover. It is not only the beauty of plants, but also the life that the garden brings: nectar-seeking bees in the lavenders, butterflies flitting amongst the peppertree blossoms, birds singing their morning chorus, little hedgehogs drinking from irrigation tubes in the dark and rabbits eating grass and fallen figs in the night hours.

It is very easy to relax in the garden and, as we well know, it’s all about relaxation! We can relax because the garden touches all our five senses in a joyful way.

I want to share a little anecdote with you. It took place at Merigar in early July 1990 after the Dalai Lama’s visit. As you might know, in the spring of 1990 we planted thousands of plants and trees for the Dalai Lama’s visit.

As the summer was very dry, at 5.30am I was watering the new cedar trees below the Yellow House when I saw a car coming from Rinpoche’s residence. The car stopped and Rinpoche came over to me. After I had greeted him he said to me: “Do you know that when you grow plants and take care of a place, you grow yourself?”

Well, let’s all grow together with Dzamling Gardens and may Rinpoche’s vision for this last jewel come true!

by Alix de Fermor

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