the oldest hobby
Humans have been gardening for thousands of years, maybe as long as we have been farming. We grow plants for food and also for their beauty. Truly, gardening is as old as civilization itself.
This web site is about a certain way of looking at gardening. We are “deep nature gardeners” who are passionate about the beauty, diversity, and abundance of our gardens.
a passionate human
The source of these pages and posts is Nick Turner, a human who reached a “tipping point” after more than 30 years doing highly complicated, technical, difficult things to unfeeling computers. All at once, one day it was clear that this kind of work was no longer possible.
A new calling and a new career were urgently needed!
Nick says: “After several years of explorations and experiments, the current work began to take shape, and it continues to evolve. The new calling is beautifully suited to my personality and goals. I can honestly say that I have never enjoyed my work so much!
“Now as this work continues to evolve, we are exploring new directions in gardening and new applications of ecology to create more beautiful, diverse abundance everywhere.”
three important principles
The enterprise called “deep nature gardens” is an ever-evolving collection of offerings based on three fundamental principles. Read more about these principles and others.
* beauty – The whole point of almost any garden is beauty. Creating extreme beauty is one of the passions behind this work. Of course, different people have different ideas of what is beautiful, and we respect that. We have our own vision of beauty, which we call naturalistic gardening. When we interview a prospective client, one of our goals is to find the intersection between the client’s idea of what is beautiful and our own particular definition.
* diversity – In this age of history the world is going through a major transition, in which many species of life are dying out. It is already one of the largest mass extinctions in the history of life on Earth. As stewards of Gaia, we are committed to preserving and enhancing the beautiful diversity of life across the planet’s lands and waters. We offer ways to take part in the healing of Gaia by transforming or upgrading your gardens to preserve more of Earth’s beautiful diversity.
* abundance – It is likely that the very first gardens emerged from humans’ early attempts to cultivate food. Then and now, the distinction between a “garden” and a “farm” is soft at best. We work the whole spectrum, from a garden that is solely for beauty, to a full production farm where beauty is at best a secondary factor. One of our passions is to create gardens that are deeply beautiful and abundant. For us, abundance includes not only food, but any material that is edible or useful, and not just for people. Our gardens offer nesting materials for birds, food plants for butterfly caterpillars, berries edible by humans, and many more products.
(Special note: As of June, 2015, this entire blog was closed and all of our offerings were moved to our new home in a secluded valley north of Corvallis, Oregon. All of the following services are still available, but only to residents of Corvallis and nearby towns. A new blog has been started to serve our new community. If anything you see in this (now closed!) blog sounds interesting to you, please click over to the new blog and see what’s been happening since our move.)
The best way to start is an introductory visit. We’ll walk through your garden and talk about ways to improve it. What are your garden dreams? Which of those can we make real for you? Does our naturalistic style of gardening appeal to you?
What happens next is up to you. Here are some ideas…
We can do a landscape transformation of almost any area into a genuine deep nature garden. This is a serious (but fun!) long term commitment to shape, grow, and care for an exceptional work of garden art.
We are also delighted to offer a wide range of small or large garden upgrades. An upgrade can be as simple as a path of step stones with lush moss between the stones, or as ambitious as a full pond-stream ecosystem with many kinds of plants and animals, powered by a battery-backed solar pump. What they all have in common is the three basic principles: beauty, diversity, abundance.
There is one more service offering: We love to create many different kinds of enclosed ecosystems, from a desktop terrarium or aquarium all the way up to a city-size biodome. In between there are wonderful walk-in “eco-cells” which can be connected together into self-sustaining multicellular enclosed deep nature gardens and eco-farms. Can we build an enclosed ecosystem farm in your back garden?
In the course of our work we create some physical products we use often, and most of these are available to anyone who would like some. Our product offerings include the amazing, super-potent ultra compost, a rich soil / seed blend called eco-mix, small containers of interesting plants called eco-packs, and various other materials we use regularly.
There is one other physical product we are especially proud of. We love to create and grow mini-landscapes, which are like tiny deep nature gardens in sturdy, durable, beautiful containers. They can be kept outdoors or indoors, as long as they receive the proper conditions and care.
Nick says: “For the first two years I worked almost entirely alone, but since early 2014 there have been other participants as well, including apprentices, various kinds of partners, outside contractors, and other kinds of helpers. Of course, I must also recognize and include the wonderful clients who have made the work possible in the first place.
“Because there is now a growing community of allies of all kinds, I often use the words “we” or “us” when describing our work. It is fun to watch as this organization continues to grow, attracting more lovers of naturalistic gardens.”
applied ecology – How applied ecology is being used in many ways to heal Gaia.
what is an ecogarden? – Our earliest post, from before we even had the name “deep nature gardens.”
state of the eco-garden 2012-03-02 – Another early post, where you can see how our oldest deep nature garden looked in its “adolescent” stage. You can see the same garden just one month later in blueberry blooms, chard, and iris buds. Here is how it looked at the end of June. By October the garden grew up quite a lot and burst into autumn color.