Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The Good Vibrations Garden

     When the Beach Boys sang about "pickin' up Good Vibrations" back in 1966, they were harmonizing about their girl friends. But if they had been studying the Chinese art of placement - Feng Shui (pronounced Fung Shway) - they would know that picking up good vibrations could be as easy as planting the correct tree in a particular corner of the yard.

     Feng Shui, whose adherents believe that a harmoniously arranged yard and house can be beneficial, has been practiced in the Far East for thousands of years. Only recently have Westerners begun studying these teachings.
     In Feng Shui, the goal is to create peace and serenity, according to its believers. Good Feng Shui also can attract health, prosperity and harmonious relationships. It can create an environment to increase your success in life.

Some examples:

• An arbor over an entryway encourages the flow of positive energy (chi).

• Plant trees in multiples of three, a very favorable number. If you don't have room, then hang three bird feeders in a single tree.

• Tree leaves symbolize vitality; so, evergreen trees are preferable.

• Want to get the money rolling in? Plant a pine tree (three if you have the room) in your "wealth" corner; that's the left corner of the back yard.

• The right corner of the back yard is auspicious for marriage; plant a tree there to enhance your partnership in life or to get along better with bosses and fellow employees.

• Inside the house, large-leafed or round-leafed houseplants can be beneficial. Place three houseplants per room or three in the entire house.

• Stay away from narrow-leafed or spine-leafed houseplants which can direct too much energy through the room. In Feng Shui, this is known as "negative chi".

• According to the book, Basic Feng Shui: "Activate the dragon in your garden by creating curved pathways." (In this case, dragons are good. Normally, the only use for a dragon in your yard would be to light the barbecue).

• Don't have sickly plants in the house or yard. Cut down dead or dying trees and cover the stumps with ivy. Those dying plants, trees and stumps represent a life force that is going away.

• Troublesome neighbors across the street? Plant three trees between your house and theirs to keep the bad energy away.

• Properly placed water features, especially ponds or bird baths, encourage good chi. Moving water brings good luck. But not swimming pools. From the book, Basic Feng Shui: "Having a large body of water so close to the house can cause severe Feng Shui problems....if it is located in the South (portion of a yard), it will severely hurt the good name of the residents." As well as the back and shoulder muscles of middle aged people attempting to play pool volleyball.

 • From that same publication: do not live at the end of a dead end street. The bad chi has nowhere else to go. Do not live with your main door directly facing the road. High speed chi...not good. High speed Camaro: good.

Click here for more on Feng Shui gardening from CBS News.

Even if you think Feng Shui is a pile of crap (according to the Penn and Teller show, "Bullshit!"), it still makes good sense to plant trees, chi or no chi.

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