Meet Rita Baruss: a thinker, writer, artist, mother, grandmother, yoga instructor and energy healer with training in shamanic techniques. Rita has been gardening organically all of her life.
Rita has a unique position on the HNH team: she has a special interest in plant consciousness and developing communications with the spirit beings of nature. In her work, Rita helps to adapt plant beings to the intentions of human designs. It is always a pleasure to work beside Rita and hear her insights into the personalities and histories of the plants with whom she has worked. Working next to Rita, one’s point of view shifts from looking at plants as mere objects to recognizing plants as unique subjects who have with their own experiences.
Since Rita is a writer, we thought that she needed her own blog column. We’re collecting her writings under the tag, The Conscious Gardener. We hope that you enjoy her meditations as much as we do and that you will allow your own perspectives to shift.
So without further ado…
I have spent this past month intensively involved with gardens: the ones I am caretaking for other people for my job with Helping Nature Heal, as well as the ones I am making on the land around my home.
I am practising welcoming all plant beings as part of this wondrous creation we live in, as deserving of a place to be themselves. I am also practising the idea that plants need to respect the space of the other plants. Each plant has its own glory spot.
There is a plant I am fond of called creeping charlie or ground ivy. When I did not see it anywhere on the property of my new home when I moved here several years ago, I gathered pieces of it from wherever it was thriving and simply placed these pieces in different places around the land here. In many of the places, it simply withered and decomposed. In other places, it became a piece of the plant picture, interweaving itself among the other ground covers, adding a subtle presence.
However, this spring it came to my attention in a particular spot. It had covered the slope of a raised bed beside the entrance to a wasps nest, in a breathtaking beauty of thriving intense colour, purple and deep green. It had claimed its glory spot.
Last year, the back of one of my sod piles erupted with an incredible display of beautiful vibrant green, round leaves in a very regular, organized pattern. I admired them, but did not know what they were. The leaves simply stayed all the growing season, as they had appeared, making a beautiful backside to my pile.
This year, they came into bloom, making tall stalks with pointy leaves and little white blossoms on top. The closest description I could find in a plant identification book gave me the name, ragwort.
It had claimed its glory spot.
However, in conventional thinking about gardens and plants, ragwort is considered to be a “nuisance” because it is not easy to remove from places it has formed roots in, intertwining its roots with those of the other plants. Ragwort continues to put out new leaves among the other plants, inevitably overshadowing the other plants, no matter how frequently the leaves get pulled out. They simply snap off the root which sends out another leaf. Amazing tenacity.
In fact, having identified the plant, I realized that I spend a fair bit of time in some of the gardens I am caretaking, “weeding out” the ragwort.
Gardens are very unique ecosystems, created with human effort of human envisioned design. Without human engagement and caretaking, they would very quickly revert to whatever the dominant species are in the surrounding environments. Perhaps some of the introduced species would adapt and integrate themselves among the natives, in which case some people would call them “invasive”.
My thought of this season for the plant worlds is: please allow each other a glory spot; respect the biodiversity. Respect the wonderful human introduced plant beings coming to enhance the environment, allow for the gardens to thrive. Conversely, we, as human caretakers need to make sure there are enough wild or neglected places, fields and forests, and backs of indulgent gardeners’ compost heaps for each plant to have its glory spot without needing to inhibit the growth of other plants. There is room enough for all beings on this planet.
I am very conscious of the fact that energy follows thought. I work very carefully with my thoughts as I am gardening, considering that the plant worlds are aware of and responding to my thoughts. When I remove a plant from a place I do not want it to be growing, I admire it for what it is and try to envision where it has its place, its glory spot.
This is still a new practice for me, so I am wary of drawing any quick conclusions about the results of my efforts. However, this does not stop me from imagining that the longer I work with a garden, the more responsive and better behaved it becomes.
May you enjoy the beauty of the season!