Paradise (to be) Regained…borrowing Thoreau

Green quote of the day:

 “A mind is a terrible thing to waste, but waste is a terrific thing to mind.” –
“The Green Book” by Elizabeth Rogers and Thomas M. Kostigen    

garden sketch of the 2011 show garden

 So here’s the background on my garden.
    I have attended the Northwest Flower and Garden show since 2003, but my first true involvement in the show was in the year 2005. My mom and I (as an almost twelve-year-old) collaborated on a designed a garden titled, “A Child of The Garden Grows.”  The design was based on what an ideal garden would be like for a school-aged child. The garden’s popular characteristic was the purple trees. A greenhouse was set to look like a tree house, and on the four corners of the greenhouse were dead Madrona trees we had painted bright purple. During that show, I was soon nicknamed “The Purple Tree Girl” by Ciscoe Morris and plenty others. My horticulture career was about to blossom. 😉

The three Goetz girls show them how to pose with a girl power gets it done!

During the 2009 Northwest Flower and Garden show, there was discussion between my mom and I about the next show. Since the output for the flower show is immense, my mom developed the idea to design a garden every two years of the show; one year on, one year to have a break between. According to the pattern the next show was 2011 for her, my graduation year. We thought, hmmmm,  “Senior exhibition!”
    The point of a senior exhibition in high school is to discover a way to involve yourself in the community. Most kids pick a volunteer project such as Habitat for Humanity, or creating their own event to raise money for a cause. I went a different route. I decided to submit a special design to the Northwest Flower and Garden Show in July of 2010.
    The theme for the 2011 Garden Show is literature, and I knew exactly who I was going to use: Henry David Thoreau. Some say he was ahead of his time, some say he was controversial, but either way, he is completely right in certain ways. His essay “Paradise (to be) Regained” is a review of Joseph Etzler’s book. 
          “Etzler talked much about the taming of nature. Gardens would replace swamps; mountains could be leveled and the land made useful for  human habitation; forests cultivated; the ugly and unfriendly areas of the natural world made beautiful and friendly. Thoreau, who claimed  that the wilderness is the salvation of mankind, certainly had doubts about making nature serve narrow economic ends.Thoreau thought   that while the idea of working with nature to improve human life is not without merit, we should not believe that a life of material ease can   substitute for the need for wild nature to provide aesthetic and spiritual values for our soul. And an absolute triumph over nature might rob  us of the goods nature provides us freely without mechanical labors when we attend to her with respect” (Moran, par 6).     

You can see why I picked Thoreau. A huge part of my garden design  is recycling, re-purposing, and “re-characterizing” used materials. My goal and intent for this garden is to have eco-minded green and fun ideas that anyone could instill in their lives. I want the message to get out that not everyone can afford solar panels or hybrid cars, but anyone can and will make a difference by using a little bit less and utilizing what they already have. My generation is facing the difficult challenge of using less and conserving more, so any little bit from anything helps.

You, yes you, can be the change you want to see in the world.

1Moran, James.”Thoreau’s ‘Paradise to be Regained'”. Utopia, Philosophy Now.

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