When we drove into the long roadway approaching Scott and Kaela McGuire’s new homestead, I was struck by the solo sunflower greeting us like a towering beacon. Scott said it was a volunteer, probably from their previous garden where we’d taped An Experiment in Backyard Sustainability in 2006.
The McGuire family moved to their new home outside of Rogue River city only last May. This sunflower, Scott said, must’ve wanted to come along. He waved at a 50 foot stretch of perennials he transferred from the old house. “They told me where they wanted to be,” he said. “The only one that didn’t survive was the spruce.”
Scott’s a co-creative gardener, meaning he communicates with the plants. For example, he asked the transplants where they wanted to located in the new garden, and used muscle-testing and similar techniques to get their answers. Companion planting (like tomatoes with basil) is just a rudimentary form of doing what the plants themselves know works best. Communicating with them is an indigenous skill we need to re-cultivate.
We taped a dynamic and wide-ranging conversation with Scott. He updated us on the experiment, including the eight family CSA who shared the surplus and his class called “Eat Your Yard. He has a forthcoming DVD how-to series on sustainable back yard gardening…watch for it here. As well as the produced conversation.
A fabulous sendoff for our first show of the Northwest 2010 tour. Thanks, Scott!
Watch Beyond Back Yard Sustainability (episode 178).