Earthworks are the Canvas, Plants are the Paints.



The Gardens and Waterways here at the Place of Gathering are one of a kind.  They are the result of addressing the needs of the landscape in a way that provides for the humans who steward them. 


We use heavy machinery to create a canvas, and we bring in plants to paint on it.  This canvas teems with edible plants and medicines.  The plants we grow for food and medicine are the same plants that work to revitalize the landscape.  


Through innovative design and management we have been able to blend aesthetics and function, wild and cultivated, work and play, ecology and economy... all of it has been done by "working with nature, and not against her".  Through focused observation we identify the ecological needs of the land and respond to them in a way that benefits the land and stewards.


2a Alpha from Dead Plum Bay looking North
















                                     This is the pond we call Alpha.  It features a deep zone of 20 feet that helps to regulate pond temperature.  That deep zone is filled with stones and logs for as fish habitat, where they are comfortable year round.  Nestled within the waters is a sanctuary for water fowl, an island planted with foods and featuring a shelter made of sticks and reeds.  

           You can see how well the plants have established on the banks.  This is without any external irrigation.  These plants are helping to build the soil and provide habitat.  On top of that, every cover crop we have planted has multiple uses, ecologically and for the humans who steward them.



       A common response to this kind of work is that it is invasive, messy, and drastic.  These are all true.  But that is what is required to reharmonize such dilapitated landscapes.  As Sepp Holzer says "We used heavy machinery to straighten rivers, you can not use a shovel to make them meander again."  

       By coming in once and making inspiring and dramatic changes you can create ecologic pathways that will last for generations, passively regenerating landscapes all the while.  As long as we take a big picture view and are willing to work with nature's timetable, this kind of work can bring about unimaginable positive changes.



       Working with the Water Household is the key to establishing a vital Earthworks system.  Water holds the key to life, without it the doorway remains locked.  By bringing water into the landscape, and providing it with opportunities to soak into the surrounding soil, we can generate self perpetuating ecosystems and provide for wildlife and humans alike.




It all comes down to opportunity.  The disposition of Nature is to thrive.  By creating pockets and microclimates, diverse habitat is made, providing countless invitations to life's many forms.



This patina of plants, insects, animals, and microbes comes together to form self supporting diversity.  Life begets life.  By offering the landscape suggestions, rather than demands, we allow nature to carry the work forward.



The role of observation, subtle awareness, is paramount for coming to understand our environment.  By using the "zoom function" of our eye, to notice the subtle whispers, the landscape begins to speak with us.  It shows us its wants.  Thereby if we provide for it, it provides for us.

If we can see that the honeybee wants poppies, give the honeybee a poppy.

   Ladybugs? How about some Wild Lettuce.                    Bumblebee?  Here is a bull thistle.

If we see where the ants like to lay there eggs, we can give them a place to lay there eggs.   In return, they offer us access to quality food for the fish.  If we pay attention to Nature's subtlies, and help along where we can, we find that all of a sudden we are surrounded by bounty.  We are beckoned to play our role.



We, as humans, are not seperate from our environment.  There is no such thing as scenery, for the threads that hold the world we see together are bound to us as well.  We are a "keystone species". We have a pivitol role in how the world around us looks and behaves.  

 This responsibility is a blessing of a curse, it demands our attentive participation and utmost respect.  In return, we gain provisions able to support people for generations to come.  It's the kind of thinking that makes you plant a Walnut tree, even if you won't be around to eat from it.


 The potential of a single seed is immeasurable, we have a pointer finger and a thumb capable of sewing millions of them.  Gardening is an on going process.  A timeless exchange between steward and stewarded.  That process develops everyday.  Communally, we are doing what we do in the garden.  We are creating spaces for somthing to happen in.  We are bringing together different Roots and giving them a place to intertwine amongst the fertile grounds, filled with the life of water.  We are helping to build communities, in the garden and in the world around us... and we invite you to join.