Getting Back to the Roots

I recently wrote a brief article for Treehugger: Why We Should Think About Roots. In this piece, I look a quick look at why it is so important to delve deeper, both when thinking about gardens and garden design, and when trying to live a sustainable life in general.

We can learn a lot from the natural world around us. And in our gardens, we can find useful spaces for the uptake of that valuable knowledge.

Looking at and learning more about the roots of plants, and other elements of the sub-soil world of the rhizosphere, we can not only learn more that will help us in our gardens. We can also learn lessons that might help us in our wider lives, as we aim to live as sustainably and conscientiously as possible.

In creating my garden designs, I naturally have to consider roots a lot of the time. I consider how certain plants will interact with others, and which might be used to enhance the soil, prevent erosion, or otherwise play an important role in a synergistic system.

Recently, for example, as I have continued to work on the large-scale Cambodia ecosystem restoration, resort and farm project, I have been thinking a lot about slope, and how a combination of shallow and deeper rooted species can often be the best planting strategy. Roots have been in my mind a lot as I have worked on the full planting plans for this project, as they often are when I am creating my smaller designs.

As a philosophy graduate, I am also very interested in roots in a metaphorical sense. Looking at where things come from, and where we come from ourselves, and the complex web of connections and culture that binds us can help us to discover our sustainability blind spots, and, perhaps, help us to avoid environmental or societal harm, ‘othering’, discrimination or prejudice.

Knowing where we come from is vital in determining where we are going, and tracing things down and out can help us determine the true nature of any issue, its root causes, and how challenges and problems can be overcome.

If you need help to investigate the roots of a thorny sustainability problem, want to learn more about the root systems of certain plants, or need some help to come up with holistic planting schemes for your spaces, please do get in touch.

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