When English novelist Samuel Butler penned the phrase "A little knowledge is a dangerous thing," there must have been some mystical force prodding him. As prairie gardeners, we tend to think 'outside the box' and the theme of Myth, Magic and Meditation resonates that very notion. Though esoteric in nature, the intent is to confuse or convert people to a specific philosophy. Instead, this theme has been developed to offer an opportunity for the reader to explore different rationales for why they garden, and hopefully, give a deeper meaning to the process. One can always be praised for their gardening achievements, but there must be a passion with roots in a conviction or deeper importance in order to relentlessly persevere at gardening in such a harsh climate as that found on the prairies.
For millennia, gardeners have ascribed much of what occurs in the garden as a source for fantastic myths, magical elixirs and powers and a place for mediation. Many have experienced outdoor spaces that have a more significant sense of place or sacredness than other outdoor environments. In ancient, and not so ancient times, this natural but unexplainable energy was attributed to supernatural forces. Globally, sacred groves, meadows and plants were defined as they offered some magical attribute that could be utilized for a specific purpose. It is from these sorts of natural energies that garden folklore has developed. Even in modern more educated times, these mythical elementals still intrigue gardeners. In Findhorn Scotland, during the 1960s a whole community was established due to their shared belief in spirit folk, known as devas, who, like the cobbler's elves of Hans Christian Anderson fame, would help the inhabitants with their farming; producing extraordinary produce.
Today much of what we believe and do in our overly-structured lives combines the arcane, sacred and scientific. Gardening is not dissimilar. When first proposing this theme to the committee, I had trepidations due to its arcane nature. I was pleased when granted the guest editorship and even more elated when articles started arriving in theme so quickly; so much so that two-thirds of the edition is theme-orientated. The first four articles have a specific focus on one of the three aspects of the theme and have therefore been showcased to introduce the reader to the concept. The remaining articles have been structured to provide the reader with a stream of related topics, peppered with relevant general articles to compliment the esoteric with practical gardening.
Gardening for the most part is of a personal and sometimes a spiritual nature. It is from this more personal and meditative side of the gardening experience that many of the articles in the 67th edition of The Prairie Garden are drawn. I hope you enjoy reading this issue as much as it has been a pleasure to be a part of the process of making it come alive.
Stefan Fediuk is the Chief Editorial Director for Northscaping Inc. (www.northscaping.com) and Landscape Architect/Urban Designer for the City of Winnipeg's Property, Planning & Development Department. His interests include a wide range of topics relevant to this year's theme.