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Rumi

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What does contour design look like?

These 5 drawings were my original set. I will elaborate on the details of the last two drawings (which include more than contours) further down the thread.

I made a very simple cross-section sketch of hillside with contour swales to show how they work.

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Not sure if I shall use that topic, but we can move after if needed.

My first idea seeing that hill, is that in my country the first thing a gardener would do is to chose the place where to plant the few vines. Because a true gardener would collect its own grapes to make its own wine (a few bottles for his own pleasure).

That could be a row at the bottom of the hill, because the place is very sunny. They should be one rosebush at each side of the row to detect the potential diseases (not sure it's the right word for a plant, but you get it).

If you like the idea, then we shall select the grape variety. For that, it would be better to know the nature of the soil (clay, sand....) so that we find an adequate type. I could help finding an unknown variety (no Cabernet or Merlot or any famous grape of course), that would give good results.

Let me know if that makes sense!

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[quote name='Passant the Weak' timestamp='1303713447' post='83362']
My first idea seeing that hill, is that in my country the first thing a gardener would do is to chose the place where to plant the few vines. Because a true gardener would collect its own grapes to make its own wine (a few bottles for his own pleasure).

That could be a row at the bottom of the hill, because the place is very sunny. They should be one rosebush at each side of the row to detect the potential diseases (not sure it's the right word for a plant, but you get it).
[/quote]

I think grapes are a wonderful idea!

"If you ask me what is the best kind of farm, I should say a hundred iugera of land, comprising all sorts of soils, and in a good situation; [i][b]a vineyard comes first if it produces bountifully wine of a good quality[/b][/i]; second, a watered garden; third, an osier-bed; fourth, an oliveyard; fifth, a meadow; sixth, grain land; seventh, a wood lot; eighth, an arbustum; ninth, a mast grove."
-Cato the Elder, Republic of Rome, from [i]De Agri Cultura[/i], 160 BC

With this garden, I encourage you to think outside the box as much as you can, including in three dimensions. Grapes and other vines have a wonderful trait that they can be trained to grow in any direction or form we choose. I think an arbor or a series of arbors with grapevines would be very elegant and would use the three dimensional space. I have drawn a path in the fourth and fifth drawings, which I think would provide access - provided it doesn't conflict with "four stones lay where three roads meet (ie: not four roads); more on that later - What comes to mind for me is setting vining arbors over the access path, where grapes could be picked from above. These grapevines would be a first experience when walking into the garden and would also provide shade when hauling a wheelbarrow up and down the path. Each arbor could be planted with two vines, one on each side and they could possibly be different varieties if that was our inclination.

You are absolutely right on the money with regard to planting companion plants, such as rosebushes to provide for pest and disease control. We will be wise to develop plant guilds (micro-ecologies), rather than considering individual species without regard to their ecological interactions. Plant guilds can be developed around a variety of types of interactions. Some examples are space and time. With a spacial guild, you might look at lettuce and onions growing together. They have different spacial characteristics and can be densely planted together. A time guild would use plants that flourish at different times. Many types of citrus can be planted as a lower canopy beneath a deciduous upper canopy because that upper canopy will be bare at the time the citrus blooms, allowing sunlight to penetrate and grow the fruits.

The most important guilds in my opinion, getting back to your rosebushes, are functional guilds. Oftentimes, it is important to have in a guild a nitrogen-fixing (fertilizing) plant such as beans or acacia tree, an insectary plant with lots of flowers, like your rosebush, which attracts pollinator insects (ie: bees) and predator insects (ie: ladybugs), and a dynamic accumulator plant, such as dandelion, with a deep taproot to break up clay subsoil and draw up subsoil minerals which are unavailable to shallow-rooted plants.

If you were to take the grapes and add nearby rosebushes, do you think there might be anything else you would add to the guild? Be creative :)

[quote name='Passant the Weak' timestamp='1303713447' post='83362']
If you like the idea, then we shall select the grape variety. For that, it would be better to know the nature of the soil (clay, sand....) so that we find an adequate type. I could help finding an unknown variety (no Cabernet or Merlot or any famous grape of course), that would give good results.
[/quote]

You have brought up something really important here, which I think merits the creation of a dedicated research thread.

http://magicduel.invisionzone.com/topic/9571-community-garden-research/

Thanks for your contribution, Passant the Weak!

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[quote]If you were to take the grapes and add nearby rosebushes, do you think there might be anything else you would add to the guild? Be creative :)[/quote]

I need to think more, but first idea would be to add a couple peach tree. Provided we have enough space. They have basically the same role as rosebushes: they are sensible to the same diseases (oidium or however it is called in English) as the vines. They also provide a bit of shadow to rest under when it's the pause for lunch during grape harvest season (By the way, i slightly disagree with your sying vines would provide shadow... They wouldn't be high enough if we have a sunny area, because the vines would be cut somehow low enough to limit the grape number and allow the sun to illuminate them with no limitation). And if you chose the right variety, they will produce fruits at the same season as we harvest grapes... which provides for a nice dessert (we call those fruits "Pêches de vigne" in my language, aka "Vine peaches").

But to answer more correctly your question, we would probably need a small plant that will avoid the use of weedkiller... but I need to make a bit of research on that!

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[quote name='Passant the Weak' timestamp='1303838708' post='83450']
I slightly disagree with your saying vines would provide shadow... They wouldn't be high enough if we have a sunny area, because the vines would be cut somehow low enough to limit the grape number and allow the sun to illuminate them with no limitation
[/quote]

Do a google image search using the term "grape arbor" and you will see grape arbors can indeed provide plenty of shade. I picked a few images to post here to give an idea.

We have a limited space to work with and traditional row agriculture systems may not be suited to the diversity of elements we wish to include. A healthy ecosystem is not necessarily one that provides peak production in the short term. In my own experience, grapes grown long and trained to specific types of structures are less productive in the short term than cultivated rows. At the same time, the grapes' ability to vine out in any direction and be trained can provide for many more functions which can make the garden as a whole more healthy, productive, and pleasant.

[quote name='Passant the Weak' timestamp='1303838708' post='83450']
They have basically the same role as rosebushes: they are sensible to the same diseases (oidium or however it is called in English) as the vines.
[/quote]

I know which disease you speak of, which is the powdery mildew. This can be indeed a pain to deal with. My experience with grapes and powdery mildew is that certain varieties are more susceptible than others. As I understand it, traditional wine grapes often among the more susceptible varieties. As with any fungus, the best way to deal with powdery mildew is to allow spaces for air and sunlight to penetrate the plants and keep the powdery mildew from forming in the first place. This is usually accomplished through hard pruning. One benefit to hillside design is the natural flow of air up hills during sunlight hours (of which we have many in MD). By directing the airflow using windbreak plants and hard structures, we could possibly create what is essentially a wind tunnel, to keep a constant breeze where the grapes grow. If it were a series of grape arbors over top of the path, this could be accomplished so long as there are no sharp turns, especially if the path follows the natural drainage path of the hill, which already serves as a natural wind tunnel.

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Heyh! Nice pics!

I did not understand you were after such vine trees. I was myself more focused on wine friendly culture. The Vine trees are very good for the use you describe, along the path. But those would not be very suitable for wine making, because of the yeld that would give less concentrated grapes. However, this is not big deal: we could still make wine and enjoy it even if it is not the best wine of the world (to say the least): home made, that's all we need to enjoy the wine.

Coming back to the question of which plants to associate with the vines, in a structure similar to what you show on the pics, I would definitely try:
- rosebushes between each vine
- 3 different clematis associated to each vine, so that they are planted in the shady place and will grow along the vine to bloom at the sunny side. See the attachment to get an idea of what I mean.

[img]http://chambres.chez.com/clematite.jpg[/img]

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That clematis vine is beautiful. I think that would be a nice idea having the vines intertwining.

I don't have a lot of experience with clematis myself. I read on Plants for a Future (awesome site - http://www.pfaf.org/user/default.aspx) that they tend to compete with with other plants. Grapes are pretty vigorous themselves and might not be affected. Another similar vine that I love is jasmine. Best scent in the world!

If you have grapes and clematis growing up the arbors and rosebushes between the arbors, do you have any idea how you might fill between these larger woody elements? Maybe some kind of short herbaceous plant or ground cover? In California, many of the vineyards grow mustard underneath the rows of grapes to attract beneficial insects and provide mulch and cover crop. Perhaps mustard or some other brassica family plant would go well.

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All the clematis I have grown were rather fragile and certainly not dangerous for something like vine. Their roots stay in surface, opposed to the deep roots of vines. So, I anticipate no problem there. Also I suggested 3 per vine, in order to mix different varieties that would produce flowers at different times of the year (but do we have seasons in MD... another research to do maybe?).
The key for clematis growing well is to respect a single tip: "[i]Les pieds à l'ombre et la tête au soleil[/i]" ([i]"Feet in the shadow and head in the sun"[/i]), which would be easily acieved by protecting the clematis foot in the arbor shadow or behind a decorative stone.

To complete the scene between the arbor as you describe, mustard is indeed a possibility, but I think we should go for smaller plants (maybe no more than 20 cms height: we have the big vines, the possibly big clematis, the medium bush trees, the complimentary plant should be smaller and contrasting in my opinion). Best solution would be tio find a small plant providing pest protection/repulsion (particularly against aphids). I will check out what I can propose.

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[quote name='Passant the Weak' timestamp='1303997753' post='83543']
All the clematis I have grown were rather fragile and certainly not dangerous for something like vine. Their roots stay in surface, opposed to the deep roots of vines. So, I anticipate no problem there. Also I suggested 3 per vine, in order to mix different varieties that would produce flowers at different times of the year (but do we have seasons in MD... another research to do maybe?).
[/quote]

Something I have been thinking about and looking for information about. I have not yet found any information pertaining to seasons, and nobody has counseled me one way or another. We do have principles of time, cyclicity, and balance, all of which suggest seasonal activity. Of course they also suggest the sun rising for day and setting for night.

[quote name='Passant the Weak' timestamp='1303997753' post='83543']
The key for clematis growing well is to respect a single tip: "[i]Les pieds à l'ombre et la tête au soleil[/i]" ([i]"Feet in the shadow and head in the sun"[/i]), which would be easily achieved by protecting the clematis foot in the arbor shadow or behind a decorative stone.
[/quote]

I learned the same thing the hard way with jasmine. I bought five jasmine plants and set four in the sun and one beside an outdoor bathtub with a woven bamboo screen. The four in the sun flowered a lot and quickly died, while the one in the shade hardly flowered an thrived. Soon the shade jasmine climbed the trellis and crawled over the bamboo shade into the sun, where it flowered vigorously.

[quote name='Passant the Weak' timestamp='1303997753' post='83543']
To complete the scene between the arbor as you describe, mustard is indeed a possibility, but I think we should go for smaller plants (maybe no more than 20 cms height: we have the big vines, the possibly big clematis, the medium bush trees, the complimentary plant should be smaller and contrasting in my opinion). Best solution would be tio find a small plant providing pest protection/repulsion (particularly against aphids). I will check out what I can propose.
[/quote]

Carrots, parsley, and Queen Anne's, dill, fennel...anything that is apiaceae family might do very well in such a guild. They all attract predator insects, like ladybugs, which consume aphids. They also have a deep taproot, which will integrate well with the shallow roots of the clematis. Many of these plants grow short, and the ones which grow tall remain short if they are frequently harvested.

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I would rule out carrots for the clematis prefer that we keep their soil in rest, which wouldn't fit with the hungry gardeners around. But parsley is very appelaing, while i was myself thinking of Thyme, that is said to act as a repulsive for avids.

Maybe a combination of Parsley and Thyme between the Rose bushes would be a good start for a garden that would be useful not only for our eyes, but also for our mouth. :)

That would make something like that, for one side of the path (suppsosing an arbor with 3 arches / 4 pillar:

Vine/clematisx3/Arbor Pillar - Thymex3 - Rose Bush - Thymex3 - Pillar/vine/clematis- Parsley x3 - Rose Bush - Parsley x3 - Pillar/vine/clematis - Thymex3 - Rose Bush - Thymex3 -Pillar/Vine/clematis

I put the parsley in the middle, anticipating it would be the most shady place, while Thyme would support and enjoy more sunny side.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Sorry, it's been a while and I haven't replied.

It sounds like we have a first guild and element designed. We may come up with other things we want to add to it in the future, and we can always do so when the time comes.

This particular element would be a part of the pathway and has me thinking about other pathway elements.

I think the toolshed and compost pile should both be accessible from the main pathway. I am inclined to have compost at the top of the hill because it's much easier to bring finished compost down a hill than up it. This would also keep it a distance from the road, where it would not cause a stir if something gets to smell for a short time.

The pathway itself could be done in a few different ways. My first inclination (as seen in the fourth drawing) has a stair path up the hill. It is aesthetically pleasing and it is not suited to wheelbarrows. Gardening does not require the use of wheelbarrows, and I have never gardened without one. In a second version (as seen in the fifth drawing), the stairs remain with a second wheelbarrow path beside them. This appeals to me because it keeps the stairs, and also feels like an odd mashup of two different designs which might be better separate. One possibility is two distinct paths, one with stairs and one without, in different places. It seems to me that there is one very logical place for a path and I don't know where a second path would make sense.

Finally, with regard to the placement (and existence) of the path (and this possibly belongs in the research section...) As you can see in the drawings, the path leads down to the roads and meets between the two stones. This can be construed as "four stones lay where four roads meet", which is certainly not appropriate. The path into the garden is not exactly a "road", especially because it doesn't lead anywhere (except into the garden), like the other three roads. One interesting thing that keeps sticking out in my mind is Mur's discussion 'The sun, because' (http://magicduel.invisionzone.com/topic/9197-the-sun-because/) found in the SOTIS forum. Mur speaks about a circle with four points, which has three "regular" gates, and a fourth "different" gate. I see this represented in the four stones and the three roads. In this way, the garden could represent the fourth path, which would be very appropriate.

I'm interested to hear some feedback on these ideas.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Big News!

I have drawn an initial design map based on many of the elements suggested by the community and my own vision. This first version was done entirely in pen and may be too sloppy to convey anything to anyone but me. It may be posted on the forums or I may make a new finer version and post that. Images will be available soon, one way or another.

Elements included:

Contour swale design for water management
Community garden plots (for cultivation by individiuals)
Orchard forest garden
Sitting area with shade tree, benches, & swing
Bird and butterfly habitat
Perennial flower and berry patch beside road
Culinary and medicinal herb garden
Pond and associated ecology
Greenhouse with additional passive solar reflection from pond
Compost and manure piles
Tool shed with rooftop rainwater collection
Paths with grape/clematis arbors
Corn, bean, and pumpkin patch with scarecrow

More to come!

If you have ideas for elements you would like to see included, now is a great time to speak up. I'm getting creative with ways to effectively use every bit of space without crowding or disturbing natural energy flows. If you would like to see an element that will take some space, it's easier to incorporate before everything else has an established and unchanging location.

I'm looking forward to sharing my design maps. :)

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I'm not sure how feasible this would be to your pre-planned ideas, as I can't quite visualize it in my head yet. However, I wonder about the pond. With an everburning sun, would there be an issue with algae blooms in a semi-stagnant pool?
I only ask this because my neighbor jsut finished building a small windmill next to his own small pond, and connected it to a very simple "bubbler" pump. Essentially, when the wind blows, it drives a small something which agitates the water. Not a proper fountain, just an obvious rippling under the water surface. The result is the layer of "frog froth" that had started to accumulate already has magically vanished. Seems a very low-tech method of controlling the issue, so I thought I'd mention it here. :)

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A windmill is not a bad idea at all. We already have a dutch style grain windmill in the fields of abandonment and its clearly a very important part of md symbolism. I don't know that putting a small pond circulating windmill would infringe on the symbolism of the big windmill.

There are many ways such a windmill can work and only a few of which could be effectively put to use with low technology. The kinetic energy converted from the wind can be used to power pumps directly or to generate electricity. I would stay away from electricity since it requires magnets, copper, and other hard to find materials. It is also grossly inefficient, given our intended application. Directly powering pumps is the traditional way to use a windmill and there are essentially two ways to achieve the desired aeration. We can pump water or we can pump air.

Your neighbor uses an air pump, which is incredibly effective for aerating a pond, as well as creating intra-pond circulation and destratification of temperature layers. This would be an ideal solution and there is one potentially serious limitation. These pumps work using a diaphram pump and air compressor system to achieve the moving of air to the pond bottom. These are generally constructed from petroleum-based rubbers and plastics. I think it's feesible that such a design could be replicated using leather construction, similar to bellows a blacksmith might use. However, the transmission of the compressed air to the bottom of the pond without the use of petroleum-based tubing might prove very difficult as well. Such an installation would certainly require the expertise of a master craftsman from GG, such as Yrthilian.

Pumping water is a much easier task and has been the realm of windmills for centuries. A windmill can use a well pump, which is simple and sturdy mechanics, to draw water up from the pond's depths and deposit it using simple plumbing uphill from the pond, allowing it to flow back down. The aeration is accomplished by the flowing water and the extent of the aeration is based on the course of that flow. If the water flows uninterrupted along the ground, little aeration is provided. If we incorporate a series of small stone waterfalls, a much greater aeration is accomplished. The peak aeration would be provided if we constructed clay flowforms (which flow in a figure eight pattern) for the series of waterfalls. Waterfall aeration would also provide a very nice visual and auditory aesthetic.

Finally, I want to address the need for aeration. Ponds become stagnant and full of anaerobic bacteria and algae when they lack the appropriate ecology. The vast majority of clear ponds and lakes all over the world have never had any mechanical aeration. When we create a new pond by digging and/or constructing a levy, we can inentionally mimic a natural pond ecology and develop a clean, aerated pond. Plants in a healthy ecology will provide more aeration than any mechanical system can provide. The key is finding plants to inhabit all of the niches of a pond ecology. This includes deep subsurface plants, shallow subsurface plants, floating plants, pond-edge plants, and hydrophilic dryland plants including shade trees. A healthy pond ecology will also include aquatic species. First tier species, like algae and plankton will stabilize with the plant ecology, making room for second-tier species like scum suckers and herbivorous fish. As these stabilize, third-tier carnivorous fish can be introduced if the pond size can accommodate them. These third-tier fish make for good fishing. For every 1000 units (by mass) of first-tier species, 100 units of second-tier species can be supported, or 10 units of third-tier species. In the sea, there are fourth-tier "big fish", of which a single unit is supported by 1000 units of first-tier organisms. The integration of aquatic species provides further aeration and attracts all forms of vertibrate and invertibrate life, creating a full ecology.

I think it would be advantageous to rely on both mechanical and ecological aeration to keep the pond vibrant. A strong storm can knock over a windmill and a strong pestilence can harm an ecology. And we can't forget magic. Unknown consequences are the name of the game when we play with magic. The more redundancy built into the system, the more resilient the system becomes. I would like to have a windmill. :)

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Well, my friends, the time has come.

I have redrawn the design map with far more grace than yesterday's slop.

I present to you a map in three stages.

Base map - existing elements and contours
[attachment=2977:meetinggardenmap2-med.jpg]

Design map - images only
[attachment=2978:meetinggardenmap3-med.jpg]

Design map - elements labeled
[attachment=2979:meetinggardenmap4-med.jpg]


These are works in progress and not the final designs. As we continue to discuss the garden, I will add or alter elements as necessary. I hope these maps help to foster further creativity in all of us.

If any artist who has volunteered to work on the community garden has the ability to translate this kind of map into the perspective image required for the scene, please speak with me. This will be a big upcoming task.

Thanks for your support everyone.

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[quote name='Rumi' timestamp='1303702723' post='83357']
What does contour design look like?

These 5 drawings were my original set. I will elaborate on the details of the last two drawings (which include more than contours) further down the thread.

I made a very simple cross-section sketch of hillside with contour swales to show how they work.
[/quote]

ooh! I likey!

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[quote name='The Warrior' timestamp='1306689753' post='85351']
I don't want to critisize, but where does the broken bridge between Fortune's Well and Oak Fort fit in?
[/quote]

That broken bridge is not a part of this scene. That would be a good deal to the north from this map.

The labels 'Fenths Press', 'Maple Road', and 'Fortune's Well' are labels for where the roads lead to. None of those places are actually represented on the map. The label 'Loreroot' does represent the southern edge of Loreroot Forest, which is visible at the top of the Meeting of the Roads hill. That forest (South of the Oak Fort) is not an accessible location as far as I know.

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You do realise that...you are [i]very[/i] unlikely to get your "community garden" drawn onto the existing scene? I won't say that you won't...but very unlikely is possibly and understatement. Perhaps you should focus on drawn an extension to that scene, not editing the current.

Just a suggestion.

~Sasha Lilias~

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[quote name='Sasha Lilias' timestamp='1306690667' post='85354']
You do realise that...you are [i]very[/i] unlikely to get your "community garden" drawn onto the existing scene? I won't say that you won't...but very unlikely is possibly and understatement. Perhaps you should focus on drawn an extension to that scene, not editing the current.

Just a suggestion.

~Sasha Lilias~
[/quote]

Very unlikely simply means there is a small but Non-zero chance that it may get approved.
I don't see the harm in it, personally, even if it never materialized in-gaem. The mental exercise of coordinating and planning all the ideas, gives a great outline to do such similarly in Real Life. If not a garden, then the planning and consideration of interlocking roles for plants and environmental factors, is a wonderfully useful analogy for many "problems" we may face.
(though it would be really neat to see it changed, I also doubt it may happen, but would support it anyway, so it can someday)

Oh, and as an addendum, I talked to my neighbor about his littel setup. it's not a bubbling pump at all, it's simply a water pump, that instead of pushing "uphill" it just has the pump nozzle pointing "up". So when the wind blows, it stirs the water by making a varied strength 'jet' in the middle of the pond, stirring up the layers and moving any algae growth towards the sides. Simple and effective, if not most efficient for aeration.

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  • 2 weeks later...

OK Rumi, i should have a bit more time in the coming weeks. I will come back and suggests things for a second guild, based on your original ideas and what came up in the "Plant list" thread.
Any guild you would prefer we start with?... Or i pick up what inspires me the most?

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You are always welcome to pick what inspires you most.

If you've seen the design map, you know the different guilds can be found in various design elements. Some of the important ones that need some thought are the pond ecology and the forest garden orchard. There are several other areas which also need some guild design, if you want to pick one and go with it.

I will be updating the plant list section with the different elements, so we can focus on the individual elements and their required plants, rather than considering the entire garden at once.

I haven't been particularly active with design since the maps were finished. At the moment, I have been spending a lot of time evaluating my creatures and dueling. I will be getting back to the garden soon.

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  • 7 months later...

I asked Rumi in game if there was room for a small zen garden with pebbles and a pond. The pond is already taken care of, so the zen garden remains. A zen environment is great for meditation. Of course you can meditate everywhere, but why not help a bit? I am looking for a picture. I have one in my laptop, but can't get it here ... :(

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