Biophilia: How we interact with our gardens is everything

If you are not familiar with Biophilia, then please take this moment to consider adding it to your garden know-how.  And a great place to start is with The Biophilia Hypothesis, a 1993 book of essays and studies on the topic by a number of researchers all building upon the earlier work by Edward O. Wilson – the daddy of Biophilia.

What is it?  Wikipedia says: (Biophilia) suggests that humans possess an innate tendency to seek connections with nature and other forms of life.[1] Edward O. Wilson introduced and popularized the hypothesis in his book, Biophilia (1984).[2] He defines biophilia as “the urge to affiliate with other forms of life”

What I find interesting is the reminders that we don’t create gardens that are absent of the lifeforms that co-occupy the space.  We are interconnected to our own biology and the biology of the plants and animals in the garden.  And to work in our garden space, it is important to understand those connections.

I did a podcast on the subject recently – go here CLICK

In that podcast I talk about five of the many principals I find interesting in the Biophilia research, namely 1. Our desire as humans for open spaces which are connected back to early man; 2. Staying connected with nature for inspiration, bonding, and curiosity; 3. Nature is beauty, and that motivation we feel to create beautiful things with living organisms; 4. Airflow is a thin in the garden – something to consider when designing for the health impacts that we breathe in and absorb through our skin; 5. Informal garden design beats formal design – that the natural world provides more benefits by keeping paths wavy and adjacent to free-flowing woodland plants, a mountain like feel with trees and native flowers, and more.

Want one more book suggestion on the topic? Nature By Design: The Practice of Biophilic Design by Stephen R. Kellert.  Kellert brings all the research together into a practical approach for professional and amateur designers and architects. 

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