Return of the Victory Garden
The Victory Garden movement of WWI & II, and The Great Depression encouraged nearly 20 million Americans to plant fruits and vegetables in backyard gardens, empty lots, on roof tops, in neighborhood parks, and on other public land including 800 gardens in the Golden Gate Park in San Francisco. Also called war gardens, these food spaces were promoted because of necessary food rationing, to reduce strain on the short-handed labor and transport industries, and to promote patriotism and boost low public morale. The American government encouraged citizens to plant, including USDA distribution of gardening booklets and videos. Neighbors pooled resources, planted different crops, formed coops, and made it happen. The result? During WWII alone, 9,000,000 – 10,000,000 short tons of produce were grown in urban spaces, equaling then-current commercial production of fresh veggies! Good job local organic urban America!!!
victory garden woman stands with vegetable basket and hoe
As I began to read about victory gardens, I was thrilled to find the above statistics. Brent and I began talking about how the concept of The Victory Garden applies today. What has changed? What still rings true? I continued to read, and one tidbit of info stuck out like a sore thumb. Here it is… “Although at first the Department of Agriculture objected to Eleanor Roosevelt‘s institution of a victory garden on the White House grounds, fearing that such a movement would hurt the food industry…” What?! Wait a minute! Morale is soaring! People are empowered! In a matter of a couple of years, “average citizens” are producing the same amount of fresh vegetables as commercial farming! It seems like a no brainer! Why did we ever STOP doing this? Why are we where we are today when it comes to food, health, and gardening?
uncle sam in victory garden with vegetables and herbs
I have a lot of smart friends. I hear many of them talking about things like US poverty, inflation, big agriculture, big food, and big pharma buying out our politicians, the high cost of healthy food vs the low cost of junk food, and the even higher cost of healthcare and prescription drugs, and while I don’t tend to go on political rants (yuck), I do know how to connect the dots. So I’ve decided the modern Urban Victory Garden just may be the solution to a huge portion of our political, social, and environmental woes! What’d she say??!! You heard me. How?
victory garden easy edible landscapes
Just google “big ag big pharma”, and you’ll find more reading than you want on the fact that our government gives subsidies to big commodity (corn and soy) producers while withholding the same funding for fruit and veggie farmers (making unhealthy foods cheap and healthy foods expensive), allows large food corporations to pump out these cheap, high calorie/low nutrient foods with merciless advertising often aimed at children, and then also caters to the pharmeceutical and health insurance giants who happen to reap the greatest benefit from a nation in which 75% of it’s citizens are overweight (a condition linked closely to diseases like diabetes, cancer, and heart disease and CAUSED by the inferior food being sold). There it is in one sentence. Need I say more? (And please, all you grammar geeks, give me a free pass on this one!)
look at all those veggies!
And if the problem lies at the core of our political and economic system, what can we do? Plant a veggie bed, and if you have some spunk, plant one in your front yard. Why? Because it’s the very best way to not only stick it to “the man” (who is this man??), but it’s ground zero for taking the power back as well. Grow only the best, save your money, eat it fresher than ever, get your kids away from the tv and teach them the right way to eat for great health, recover from your chronic illnesses, feel the amazing “alive and enlightened” feeling of clean eating, and Go Be Well. Is it that easy to change the world? I really do think so.
We’re ready to help you “take the power back” and plant your New Urban Victory Garden. There are many ways to grow your own food. Here in Miami, South Florida, raised bed gardens are very popular as the soil is very rocky. Others want to rid themselves of the high maintenance that comes with grass by installing an edible landscape, or edible forest, a permaculture approach to landscaping. Give Landscape Designer Brent Knoll a call today at 3054965155 to help you get started growing your own food.
Join the organic gardening revolution today!!!
Brent Knoll and Sarah Reimer with the kids
Power of Plants
Like many things in life, we don’t always see the forest for the trees, and losing appreciation for the plant life around us just happens. We may begin to see our living landscapes as just utilitarian, aesthetic, or even invasive. While our attitudes may vary, the plant life around us still represents one of the most vital parts of our survival…This is the Power of Plants.
Like all of the natural world, plants are here to give us life, the Power of Plants is amazing. We eat them, eat the things that eat them, and when we pass on, they recycle our own remains, repeating the process again and again. We are, in fact, a true product of the landscape of our planet. With such an undeniably intimate relationship, it would be hard to believe that the indigenous wisdom and humble offerings of the plant kingdom could not be totally vital to life!
Breathe deeply… In… Out… Ahhh, the sweet feeling of vitality rushing through your veins. Just the simple act of breathing thick, oxygen-rich air is enough to make us say, “THANK YOU, PLANTS!” Once again, the basic throb the earth’s heart is “heard” from the plants, pumping oxygen into the air to fuel our own bodies. Even in the involuntary act of breathing, we are partaking in the fruits of the plant world…. Wow.
And the plants just keep giving… There’s really no end to the things our foliated friends do for us. They blanket our surroundings with the fresh, clear, healing color of green. They provide medicine and offer up their wisdom to science to help humanity create myriads of healing modalities. They provide protection from the elements, building and industrial materials, food, and shelter. Their forests, open plains, and deserts evoke emotions and fuel spiritual growth with the quiet lessons they whisper. They surround us with natural art, dramatic, colorful, subtle, intricate, and mesmerizing… And scent… Fresh cut grass, an open rose warmed lightly in the midmorning sun, or crushed lemongrass… If you stop for a minute and think of all the things plants GIVE to us, you can’t help but hear them all whispering, “I love you. I’m here for you.”
So, perhaps not seeing the whole forest… but just seeing a single tree… can be a great thing. The next time you look at an ordinary tree or bush, or walk across your lawn, take a moment to realize the impact of that green space. What feeds there, rests there, takes shade or cover or raises it’s young there? If we can realize the impact of the presence of each plant around us, we just may see the world with completely new eyes…Thank you Universe, I bow to the Power of Plants.
Certified Wildlife Habitat-One gardeners story
Brent was asked this week to demolish a garden, a certified wildlife habitat, which he has been keeping for the last 20 years. Over that course of time, it grew from the client’s little herb patch into a lush floral wildlife sanctuary. When you entered the canopy area, you were surrounded by the silent vibrations of various butterflies, the quiet hum of bees, and the soft scutter of countless varieties of lizards and insects. You could truly FEEL the living aura inside this gorgeous space. It was in this garden space where Brent learned the value of butterfly larval plants, attracting bees, and many other important botanical/natural discoveries. He trimmed, planted, and tended this beautiful space, each passing moment creating more and more life and energetic abundance. But some good things come to an end.
Landscape Designer Brent Knoll
This beautiful sanctuary was in a gated community with a board making decisions concerning the landscape. For several years now, the board has issued complaints about the garden being “too wild”. With the garden now prolifically producing papaya and bananas, they became concerned that snakes and other “unwanted” creatures might come in, and ordered the garden be heavily scaled back, and the banana to be removed…
What the board wants, the board gets, and we complied and removed 4 truckloads (packed high) of vegetation from the property. It was truly difficult to see years of growth demoed in a matter of minutes and hours, crammed into a truck bed to be hauled off. The butterflies and lizards hovered and scurried, bees buzzed around the cut blooms in the truck, every one as if to say “what’s going on?”. The garden is now a butchered shade of itself…just like that, this beautiful certified wildlife habitat was gone.
Zebra butterfly in flight
Over the last few days, we’ve talked about this incident, and the words of a friend surfaced. As we walked with him through our bamboo nursery weeks back, he mentioned something he called “loss of biophelia”. Biophelia is by definition ” an innate love for the natural world, supposed to be felt universally by humankind”. While this should be innate as the definition states, in our urban areas, we truly have developed extreme “loss of biophelia”. We’re afraid of weeds, bugs, dirt, rain, wind, sun, and so much more. Many urban people never set foot on natural ground in the course of their day. It seems so strange, and yet it is a truly pervasive part of our culture.
Brent Knoll and his soil
What’s the danger? As we see it, the danger is quite real. We believe that humanity is part of this beautiful natural world! We sprang up from it; it nourishes and gives us physical life, and in the end, we pass back to it. Through our industrialized material-focused near past, we have become a culture of people who have separated ourselves from nature and used nature to our benefit, and in the process learned to disregard what consequences which may await us. We have pushed forward in the name of progress, and though we have made many gains and VALUABLE gains at that, there truly is a price that has been paid. We have lost our connection to the very natural world that has yielded everything we have created and come to love.
Sparrow having fun in the sun
And this is somewhat natural, as we are collectively a yet adolescent species. Parents of adolescent children know that no matter how much money or supplies (both necessary and luxurious) they furnish their children with, they may not get so much as a thank you at the time. Many of us become much older adults, perhaps after marrying or having children of our own before we realize the great sacrifices our parents made in order to raise us well. Sometimes it’s even not until the passing of that parent that all the lights go on and true gratitude is achieved. While that may seem a tolerable process in human family life, we certainly can’t allow ourselves to come to that place with planet earth. It’s vital to the safety of our future generations that we turn the bus around in good time. And I think it’s this awareness that can help us make the switch into a more mature understanding of the true sacred value of our natural world.
Deb’s certified wildlife habitat
What can we do? We can reevaluate. We can learn to be truly grateful for what earth offers us, and begin to participate with focused awareness in all that surrounds us. If you have a mango or lemon tree that doesn’t seem to make fruit to feed you, it may be that pollinators are deficient in your neighborhood due to a lack of flowering plants. Plant some flowers. It may be that your soil is deficient. Bring in the insect and microbial life with some fresh compost, and top it off with organic natural mulch. And if you are on a board for your community, have this conversation with the other members. We love fruit. We love herbs, vegetables, flowers, honey, and all that nature has to offer! Therefore, let’s get connected to that process! Ask the board to provide a community veggie space! Ask your schools to plants veggie and fruit gardens and get the kids involved! Go outside and play in the dirt! Commune with nature and talk to it! Feel the vital connection between this good green earth and you!!!
Anole lizard on bean pole tipi in edible garden
At Knoll Landscape Design, we are excited about creating not only gorgeous aesthetically pleasing landscapes, but organic, flowering, aromatic, juicy, life-glorifying certified wildlife habitats! We want to help our neighbors in South Florida to see the intensely stunning natural tropical holy land that we’re blessed to call home!! If there’s any way that we can assist you in getting the garden you desire or help you to connect with your outdoor space, please let us know. Message us here or call Brent Knoll at 305-496-5155.
Fragrant almond bush
“The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere where they can be quite alone with the heavens, nature and God. Because only then does one feel that all is as it should be and that God wishes to see people happy, amidst the simple beauty of nature. As longs as this exists, and it certainly always will, I know that then there will always be comfort for every sorrow, whatever the circumstances may be. And I firmly believe that nature brings solace in all troubles.” ~ Anne Frank
A Zen Garden provides a space of peaceful serenity where one can find an opportunity for meditation and inward reflection. When the pressures and stresses of the world become great, the best place to “retreat” can be within.
The state of Zen is a state of quiet contemplative stillness and, with the proper placement and careful design, a garden space can facilitate and enhance that state. Through the art of feng-shui and the application of the right plants and flowers, Brent can create a tranquil space that, while overflowing with life and vitality, will maintain a reliable tranquility.
Zen Gardens are traditionally constructed from rocks and gravel. The Sakuteiki, the oldest known text regarding Japanese gardening, tells that in a place where there is neither a lake or a stream, one can put in place what is called a kare-sansui, or dry landscape. The intention behind such a construction is to reflect the essence of nature using various types of rocks as opposed to flora. The very careful placement of the rocks is essential to the power and purpose of a zen garden space. Large jagged rocks are used to represent cliffs and mountains while rounded stones and gravel become water and shoreline. This juxtaposition of representation and substance carries with it an important spiritual lesson in the balance of fullness and emptiness.
In Brent’s designs, he captures the essence of this tradition while infusing his flair for modern design and his extensive experiential knowledge of beautiful exotic plants. He utilizes rocks, water, trees, and plants to create a magical space for meditative bliss.
Fill your outdoor living space with all the rich culture and charm of the Mediterranean. Marvelous statues and fountains will bring the flair of classical and Hellenistic sculpture, carefully sculpted topiaries add a clean well groomed look to your living landscape, and a thoughtful arrangement of flora will make every trip into your backyard a whimsical trip around the Med.
Recreate the exotic sights and aromas of a pristine tropical paradise in your own back yard. We carefully select the perfect exotic plants for your space and methodically place them in a beautiful natural design.
With careful placement and proper care your tropical garden will become a favorite destination of hummingbirds and butterflies everywhere. Aromatic flowering trees will entice the senses and hidden tropical waterfalls will take you away to your own personal jungle sanctuary.
l carefully design my edible landscapes so that they can be enjoyed like any other ornamental garden, with added emphasis on the healthful properties of fresh, living foods. Every garden project is unique and takes on its own life in a marriage of beauty and practicality. Creating an edible landscape doesn’t mean that your whole garden needs to be edible- In fact, nature is so bountiful that filling a yard with edibles yields way too much food for most families, not to mention the time and work required. Instead, careful planning and the thoughtful planting of fruits, herbs and vegetables results in a garden that pleases the eye, the body and soul. I might incorporate fruits, vegetables and herbs into an existing space, or make adjustments to minimize some beautiful but otherwise unproductive plant material, in order to attract birds and butterflies, to adjust sunlight or to create a pleasant ambience where healing can take place. In today’s hard-driven world that puts so much emphasis on work and commercial productivity, few of us have the time or energy to cultivate the habits that keep us healthy. Most people are surprised to discover just how therapeutic it is to enjoy nature in their own garden- even for a few minutes a day. By thoughtfully arranging the landscape and adding architectural details like benches, fountains, foot-paths and bridges, I can help you to create a soothing atmosphere for you tocelebrate life with family and friends.
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A Healing Garden is a space that is created with the intention to enhance our inborn stability and to reinforce the grounding belief that we are connected with nature. It’s a space with a therapeutic magnetic pulse, a beacon that offers solace and sanctuary for all to enjoy fresh air, sunshine and shade. With exotic flowering trees, fruits, veggies, herbs and sacred plants, and with architectural accents like fountains, benches, bridges and bird baths, a Healing Garden becomes a space to connect with friends and family, a place where you can express your creativity, and can nurture and love. The plants that you choose to share this space with you become your friends, an extended green family. By introducing super foods, herbs and fruits, you can create a sustainable space for nurturing on the physical level, and feel empowered to take your health into your own hands by growing your own food, rekindling the sense of stewardship that is our birthright. By carefully selecting native trees that will thrive in this tropical climate, including flowering plants to attract butterflies, and bushes with berries to attract birds and other friends, your Healing Garden will become a natural extension of your home. It is in our power to create a space where you can gather, connect, explore, share, bond, laugh, nurture and meditate, a place where you can feel grounded and centered.
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A Healing Garden is more than a landscape, it is a spiritual oasis that can directly affect what we bring into our lives. Our Healing Garden is the anchor to our truth of who we are and what we want to feel. The Healing Garden is the highest guru and has the power to reshape the essence of our human experience.
As much as we enjoy socializing and spending time in community, we really need to value and honor our need for solitude and personal space. When we go out into the world we consciously and unconsciously interact with so many different energies that can alter our mood and affect our thought patterns. Sometimes, among all the various energies, we can become confused and mistake what we are feeling for the energies of others around us. This confusion is more common than we realize and if we don’t allow ourselves to take time in solitude amongst our own sacred space we can lose touch with the personal essence that brings us our peace of mind.
A Healing Garden provides an ideal energetic sanctuary for us to relax and contemplate what really matters in our lives. Within the boundaries of a Healing Garden we can sort through our thoughts and feelings while being supported by the pure nourishing energies of the living plants all around us. Those plants and their natural energies provide an energetic reference with which we can calibrate our own energy field and identify any discordant energies that we may have picked up out in the world. The more time we spend in our healing garden space, the more familiar we become with the pure energies of nature, and the more familiar we become with those pure energies of serenity and life the easier it will be for us to move towards that type of energy wherever we are.
Consider, in this context, the law of attraction. The energetic vibration that you are projecting attracts thoughts, feelings, people, and objects that match or resonate with that vibration. When we are feeling angry, tense, hopeless or depressed our vibration is very low and so we attract unproductive and unharmonious situations. When we are feeling joyful, positive, relaxed, and grateful, our vibration is very high and we attract situations that are beneficial, serendipitous and fruitful. That being said it is wisest to always keep your vibration high, but of course that is much easier said than done.
Healing garden design
No matter how much time we spend in contemplation, practicing relaxation, or in meditation we still do not have control over the vibrations and energies that are brought into our field of experience by those around us. The people that we encounter in our lives have unpredictable moods and vibrations that, despite how much we may care for them, affect the way we feel and therefore what we attract into our lives. Friends, family and strangers alike embody inconsistent and erratic energetic patterns that can make it difficult for us to remain grounded in our experience of peaceful consciousness.
On the other hand, the plants, flowers, butterflies, bees, trees and all beautiful life in our healing garden embodies a steady and reliable vibration of graceful vitality and joyful abundance. The more time we spend in that presence the more we will align our own energetic vibration with it. As we begin to identify more and more with the energy of the healing garden it becomes easier and easier to maintain that vibration out in the world. As this vibration becomes an effortless constant projection we will begin to attract circumstances into our lives that reflect the abundance, prosperity, vitality, and joy of the healing garden energies. You will invariably discover that the new people and opportunities that come into your life are also embodying this very high vibration of prosperous joy and abundance.
Healing garden design
Building a Healing Garden is, in itself, an energetic declaration of personal reformation. When you take the time and effort to build this sanctuary for yourself you are putting the universe on notice that you are ready and able to be filled with lively joy and abundance. You are taking responsibility for your self in a way that is energetically, ecologically, and economically sustainable. You are opening yourself up to a sacred healing partnership with the earth and accepting the grace and providence of nature. When you identify with the high vibration of the Healing Garden you are beginning to realize that, like the earth, you have all the power to heal, and to provide safe energetic space for yourself and others.
Landscape Designer Brent Knoll of Knoll Landscape Design specializes in Healing Garden Design. Call Brent today at 3054965155 to schedule a consultation and experience for yourself the Healing Power of the Garden.
Raised Bed Garden-The Edible Paradise
Image Courtesy M. Evelina Galang
Landscape Designer Brent Knoll of Knoll Landscape Design Miami and Easy Edible Landscapes, regularly installs raised bed gardens for his South Florida clients. Why? These raised bed gardens are a highly effective method of planting herbs, fruits and vegetables for people and families that live in an urban to suburban community.
What is a Raised Bed Garden?
Raised bed gardens offer great function and flexibility to the urban/suburban gardener in both utility and aesthetics. A raised bed garden is when you build a wooden frame and fill that frame with organic soil in which you plant your fruits, vegetables and flowers. By providing an 8-10 inch layer of rich composted soil, your fruits, vegetables, and flowers are given the healthiest start to prolific growth. Brent Knoll makes his own organic super soil, btw it’s Amazing!!! Clients are often astounded by just how much they get to harvest from their compact garden space. A fertile and well planted raised bed garden will produce great yields through every growing season which not only provides you with the most nourishing and delicious high quality produce, but it also saves a fortune in grocery bills.
What is the ideal location for a Raised Bed Garden?
The raised bed garden is ideal for urban and suburban settings such as condos, townhomes and home owners. The attractive wooden frame contains the rich soil to provide a neat and organized look in most any location. This is perfect for situations in which more traditional and intensive methods of gardening may appear intrusive to your landlord or too radical for your neighbors and HOA’s. In special situations Brent builds the raised bed frames from red cedar or other such decorative woods to provide a more glamorous garden when desired.
What can be grown in a Raised Bed Garden?
Despite what some may believe, growing in a raised bed doesn’t limit your gardening options. We may think of a raised bed garden as just an overgrown planter box for growing lettuce and herbs; however Brent Knoll of Easy Edible Landscapes has found a way to grow pretty much anything in a raised bed. He uses tipi structures to grow beans, cucumbers, and peas. Brent and his crew have even built custom trellis boxes to really maximize the vertical growing space for those happy climbers. Even tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants, are more than happy to grow in a compact raised bed kitchen garden.
Raised Bed Gardening and Compost
Although most people have come to know this method as “raised bed” gardening, there is another common term in the world of permaculture called “compost bombing”. We tend to think of this method as a way to obtain a neat and discreet gardening solution in a suburban setting, yet in the fields of horticultural sustainability and permaculture compost bombing has been developed as a way to create a fertile and root friendly planting area without tilling the soil.
The essential idea of any “no-till” gardening technique is to create a healthy layer of fertile topsoil on top of the surface of the ground. This is done to avoid the damage and disruption that takes place when we dig into the ground. If we till the ground, and essentially dig it up, we wreak havoc on the very complex micro-environment that exists in the root layer of the ground. Not only does this create an imbalance and deficiency in the soil, but every time we dig into the ground we are releasing more carbon into the atmosphere. This is just another of many examples of how aesthetics can overlap with ecological integration.
If you want a quick and easy garden that will give you an untold abundance of fresh delicious organic food all year then you want a raised bed garden. Raised bed gardens are attractive, easy to maintain and even relatively portable. Contact Edible Landscape Designer Brent Knoll for an in person consultation or go to their website http://www.easyediblelandscapes.com to order your raised bed today!!!