Personal taste is an interesting thing not up for discussion as prescribed of old (de gustibus…).
But each of us has at least one thing that we can discuss until the cows come home and beyond. My understanding is that clubs and other organizations have been created for the salvation of each member’s family’s sanity 🙂
And it usually involves a dream as well.
Mine is to plant a forest. Far away from a day job I happen to like, and still this dream would require that job as well.
I like and use annual plants, especially vegetables and flowers. I can tend them and enjoy them and cram them in wherever I see a spot available. But reading about permaculture I have become sensitized to the unnaturalness of this. It says that fallow earth tries to get back to the forest it was once covered in. And if you happen to find a piece of land that has not been used for a few years, you see what I mean by this: the first couple of seasons grasses and weeds prevail. After that though woody shrubs take off and, in time, tree seedlings make their way up, first of all short lived trees and then the giants. People seem to like the Earth solely juvenile, despite long-term effects.
But going back to the dream (if I may pontificate 😛 ) there is something satisfying for me when I see trees and, thinking of my current solid preference for edibles, I realize that this is only a result of not enough land.
You see, a forest requires space to grow and that requires some sacrifice. Not a lot, mind you, as outlined by the edible forest descriptions, but in terms of land allocated, time, money, work invested at the beginning… it’s daunting for a single person to say the least, and even for a family. And then there’s maintaining it, especially pest management… so you get people to help you, volunteers and those who would benefit from the environment, the goal, the tasks, the work experience… ah, but I am getting into the day job now 🙂
So what would I plant? Everything that would grow, really. Edibles would have a place, natives their own, sheer beauty throughout. Flowering trees and autumn leaf colour, summer shade and winter sentinels, dwarfs and giants, everything. I would pay attention to the water and to the summit, to the valley and to the rocks, I would have paths and bridges and benches and clearings. There would be a house with a huge kitchen (those volunteers need to be fed) and outbuildings with bunks in them (those volunteers also have to be housed). And there would be at least one if not more specialists, paid handsomely, to plan with and argue with and who would know where to plant what and in what way and what I can expect… should I just go to school and study all this? That way I can pay myself for making real my own personal dream.
And then, when it’s at least a piece of land with slender saplings barely visible under the grasses and nursery plants, I would put a sign on the gate saying “come on in” to all… for a forest does not belong to one person only… it is the Earth in its prime, made manifest.