There is a secret within the Storrier-Stearns Japanese Garden. The birds, trees and fish will never tell…but they know what they’ve always known….
By George Patton
That nature will love and sustain them in the endless story of life on Earth.
As I enter the garden,
a sense of peace
surrounds and comforts me
is deep and relaxed
Ο Ο Ο
I have arrived to see Chucho,
a man who uses a natural method of composting,
that enlivens, transforms, and nourishes
the garden and the earth.
Ο Ο Ο
Chucho is in his outdoor workshop
he looks up
and reassures me
I am safe
within this garden sanctuary
Ο Ο Ο
We walk to a long row
of Chucho’s ‘compost benches’
a woman nearby,
with a smile
mantra of universal love:
‘Thank you for coming!’
Ο Ο Ο
After he removes a lid from a compost bench,
the joy and mission of his life,
dark, rich compost is revealed
His special culture
has almost completed its mission
Ο Ο Ο
Chucho lovingly scoops up some
of the newly created ‘earth,’
and I experience its essence.
It is a spiritual moment!
Ο Ο Ο
Let me show you something in that barrel, over there, he says proudly.
A small piece of this substance is placed in my hand. It is loaded with L. acidophilus, and other beneficial bacteria, and has no odor. It looks like horse manure, but he exclaims that it is no longer.
We walk to a small koi pond next to an authentic tea house, and he tosses some pieces of this substance near the koi, and the fish gobble it up, like it is the best food ever.
Chucho explains that it not only feeds the fish, but keeps the microlife of the pond in balance.
This compost activator is called Bokashi, and like the fermented foods we eat for health, fish, plants, and animals need probiotic bacteria too in their quest of health and happiness!
We leave the compost benches and koi and tread on carefully placed granite stepping stones to cross a bridge and take to a large pond.
Our eyes are attracted to blooming water lilies, symbols of hope for the future and beauty for the soul.
A couple walk near; Chucho extends his hand in that familiar gesture of friendship and thanks them for coming.
As I walk towards the entrance, Chucho thanks another guest for coming, and I thank him for the chance to return, again.
George Patton is a Bio-Dynamic farmer and compost expert. He studied Permaculture with Bill Mollison and hosted his own “Gardening Naturally” show on KCRW. You can see George’s garden creations all over Pasadena, Altadena and the Los Angeles area.
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