When I began thinking about this week’s blog “Everything in moderation” is what was floating around in my mind. It was Waldo Emerson who said “Moderation in all things”. Another of my most beloved quotes is by Thomas Jefferson: Focus being on the word “equal”. My friend and author, Marie Rhoades, knows that I really enjoy blending quotes.
I like taking Jefferson’s prose and adding another quote like this one from Malcolm X. It primarily resonates with me because it gives a call to action at the end when he states “By any means necessary.”
The duality in both of these speeches brings balance to my own understanding. Of course because I’m Ahmed Hassan Celebrity Landscaper I typically enjoy sharing information and analogies related to landscape and gardening. Yes I’m very much a philosopher, but let’s talk duality and focus on one of my favorite subjects, compost.
Compost is basically life filled, dead plant material. There’s microbial life, processing, eating, and consuming plant material that we consider dead. In actuality there’s no such thing as dead, what there is would better be termed as a shifting of energy. Death is merely the culmination of life. So a dead plant is not really dead at all. Plants are as complex, and in some respects, more complex than people.
While I could say that all plants worship the sun in order to live, there are those plants that dwell in caves and survive in low lit conditions too. Now I’m not talking about survival though. Survival is what we’re doing here in Sacramento right now as we press through our extended drought. I’m talking about growing and developing. My point is that without the right conditions plants will not grow.
Any mother will tell you that if her hormones were out of whack, she would not have gotten pregnant. Plants are very much the same. Everything in nature is about balance. Whether you’re in the business of growing plants or developing as a person, balance is essential everywhere.
Yesterday I was discussing compost with a lovely neighbor of mine here in Northern California. The day before I was having a phone conversation on the same with one of the #WinMonroviaPlants winners in North Dakota. Talk about extreme differences in weather conditions… Yet regardless of your location, there’s one thing I know that is absolutely essential to growing healthy plants everywhere.
Do you know what this is? If you guessed compost you’d be correct. It is the world wide essential ingredient used to grow healthy plants. Why? Well, it feeds the soil with microorganisms and recycled nutrients. This creates the environment that plants need in order to grow.
I’ve been taught that healthy compost develops in a numeric Ph range between 6 – 8. Since 7 is considered neutral, compost is well balanced organic matter. Here’s an article from Cornell that offers a bit more detail on the matter. Of course there are variances. For example plants such as Azaleas, Camellia’s and Rhododendrons all do well with more acidic soil. If these are the plants you’re most interested in growing check out this link to learn a lil more. Most plants prefer soil that has a neutral (aka balanced) Ph. So I say If it’s good enough for plants, it’s good enough for me.
Meaning a balanced diet and lifestyle is likely best for me. This means to avoid too much of anything in excess. About 14 years ago I got on this health kick and began reading a bunch of books about health. I started with the Vegan source book. Next I began reading The McDougall Plan, and others followed after that. What I learned from all of the books was that increasing fresh vegetation is best for optimal health. I understand the raw food benefit because I understand the way compost is developed through live microorganisms. (by the way, I am no longer a vegan or vegetarian. I am an omnivore and what I like to call a conscientious eater).
My point is to say that all of life seems to be about balance. The sun rises and it sets. There’s a season that’s hot and another when it’s cold. I sleep and then I’m awake. I require both fluids and solids. If I simply seek to live a happy and healthy life, I should seek to strike a balance and also expect that happiness must be balanced with it’s opposite, which I choose to call challenges. These challenges show up in your garden just like they show up in your day to day world.
You might refer to things as good or bad, God and the Devil and right or wrong. I simply call it all a Balanced LIFE.