Radiation Knowledge & Documentaries Uniting Hands — 311docu

Sakura Tree Blooming in Fukushima

The message I want to say is, that let’s garden a bright future for Japan and make their live more safe. Having traveled there many times not just for promoting slow gardening but also for friends and fun. I just know, that it’s a country that deserves more attention on their struggle of the radiation issue. Not just because these people are so fantastic, but because their problem is not that theirs. The situation with the safety of nuclear power plants and that ever increasing level of radiation on our planet is global. it is effecting all of us, which is something we just tend to forget because Japan feels like it’s something far away. Well, this is far from the truth of course because the winds of this world are shared by all. What one country does, will be carried over wind to another country and ultimately everything is shared with everyone. A global mindset is not beneficial in terms of economics, but in terms of the air we all breath.

I have heard of rumours, about a fantastic project that is taking a step closer and bridging the gap between knowledge about nuclear problems. Of course there has been several documentaries, some more and some less great about the incident in Fukushima. To bring these documentaries to light there is an upcoming project that you may watch for at 311docu.com, the homepage of this ambitious task. The idea is to make objective reviews about the films that have been created. So that people who are interested in knowing more but not willing to read a book, can choose for themselves. Choosing a film to watch based on objective truth can have a much more quicker path to an understanding that actually has a positive, insightful impact on us. Ultimately it will united our hands thanks to the knowledge absorbed!

At least I think that the 311docu project is a wonderful one. Now tremendously looking forward for the project to see light of day. Another fact that needs to be covered more in detail is the effect of radiation to gardening, soil and plants in general. It is one of the first negative signs that we can see in light of such a disaster as the one in Fukushima. When radiation such as radioactive caesium enters the soil, it doesn’t simply stay there. Instead it enters a whole circle of life, that can contaminate our water supply, the plants that grow from the soil, all which enter our bodies. Our DNA could have profound negative effects over years and that’s why it’s extremely important for us to keep watch on this increasingly important problem. Not just in Japan, but in the whole of our mother earth.

As a side note, the 311 comes from the date when the Fukushima earthquake, tsunami and disaster happened. 11th of May 2011. We will never forget and through this understanding we can go forward in life.

Best regards & love to the Japanese people,
Pete Underwood

Travel & Acrobatics to Take Mind off Gardening

Old Theatre in China

I had an interesting question about gardening the other day. It was that if I ever needed to take my mind off it. Interestingly enough, there really are plenty of moments when I just want to forget it all. Ranging from cooking, travel, having sex or even an acrobatic show. That is in fact, an important essense of the Slow Gardening concept that I haven’t really talked about. Because gardening is a very natural thing, it is not just something you should take slowly but also something that should be very automatic. Meaning, that if you are thinking about your garden and worrying how it’s going to end up.. this is the wrong approach to start with. One needs to forget it, it’s as important as remembering it. It’s a kind of a zen approach to gardening, which makes the vegetables even tastier. Consider the nature as something part of everything, that we are working together.. just trust that it’s there and it will produce amazing results for you. The richest vegetables and most beautiful plants grow when they are not disturbed too much. This is very important to understand when starting your “career” with the a slow gardening approach.

Coming back to the interesting question I had. Everyone has a different way to just forget about it, after all it’s life that’s different. So for me, it’s a sort of a continuation from gardening to something that makes me connected with the world. And one of the most amazing experiences that does that, is travel. Also when travelling to China for example, as explained in previous posts, you are away long enough to totally forget. When you come back after several weeks, things will be different, fresh and exiting again. I personally need that from time to time. It’s also a good no-brainer tip from me, that’s not to be forgotten if you really want to loosen a little.

Anyway, also when I travel. While I am interesting in seeing other gardens around the world and such.. it’s definitely not the only thing on my list of things do to. For example, in one of my favorite cities to travel to, which is Beijing in China. I have several favorite things, that I just love to do.. and one that kind of tops all the other experiences so far is the acrobatic show in Beijing. In earlier posts, I have blogged about the brilliant experience in Chaoyang Theatre that has kind of like transformed me because I enjoyed it so much. It is something very far from gardening, yet it is a circus performance that a gardener can definitely appriciate. But why the acrobatics is such a perfect example in all this, is that while it totally takes my mind off gardening. At the same time, it gives me huge power and motivations to continue with my hobby. Seeing those acrobatic performers do those amazing tricks, gives birth to a voice inside of my self that is saying: “yes I can!”. But what’s really magical about it, in a meditative way that is.. that I cannot really put my fingure on what it might be. Perhaps a new design in the garden, or a new goal to grow some very exotic fruit or vegetable. You never really know, but just having that sense of inspiration and innovation is very important for the next big gardening project.

For everyone it really is different, and why for me acrobatics in the distant China. Well, it just came to me and I cannot explain it so perfectly. All I know that the Chaoyang Theatre is the most impressive theater venue I have witnessed in my whole life. It really made me think again of my possibilities. Something that the actors in this show have definitely figured out! Want a trip to performing show life, head to Beijing and forget about everything you knew, only to be born again. That sentence would definitely sum it up.

Now back in the states I feel more confident. And that’s the whole reason why I go to such far lengths to travel to China or anything similar to achieve it. Try it out.. and get deeper into slow gardening!

Best wishes,
Pete Underwood

Timeless Tips to Focusing on Gardening

Little Slow Back Garden

I am going to do a post later about taking your mind off gardening, but for now I will focus on gardening. That is to focus on gardening it self. Because so many people seem to be distracted by everyday life and don’t find the time to do gardening. Especially when in the slow way of things, time tends to be consumed rather a lot. So several people have asked me, about how I manage to find all the time for it. And the answer is pretty simple.. I don’t. Which is often quite a releafe to others, knowing that I am in the same timeless situation as everyone else.

What that means, is that the only way to find the time to do this.. is to forget about time. There is no other way around it. As soon as you look at the watch, you fill fail because it will make you distracted and hurry on to other things in your life. That’s why you need to make a time when you forget about time alltogether. The key I guess is as simple as not caring about how much that time lasts.. do you understand?

What I mean is.. that it doens’t matter if you garden five or fifty minutes per day. Any time is enough and since you are not looking at the watch. You can focus on gardening undependent on any limit of time. When you need to do something else do it.. the magic of plants is that they live in nature by themselves. Being overly obsessive about caring for plants is the biggest mistake you can make.

Natural way is best for nature and the peace of mind. That’s my tip to focusing on your garden! Hope it helped to answer your questions guys.

See you next time,
Pete U.

Economics of Going Natural

Money Tree

I wanted to take this opportunity to make it clear, that slow gardening is far from anything commercial. Which is a movement that I have inreasingly seen on the game board of anything that’s “eco”. It’s really a pitty to see those who protect or not protect the environment devided into the rich, and the poor. This is only pseudo-naturalism and overall has negative consequences that are just as bad. The more the gap devides, the more it becomes a question of survival. While the rich feed of the poor, one is supposedly suppose to succeed monewise inorder to protect themselves. Gardening of just about anything from food to flowers in especial has this profound importance in the cycle of life.

But no matter how gloomy things might seem from the big picture, there are a lot of people who are waking up. Especially those who can afford it and later realise that maybe their effect on this world is not as positive as they would have hoped for. Living in balance with nature, brings happiness to life and ones surroundings. Staying locked in your castle of richness is not a satisfying life unless of course, you keep on growing your fortune more and more. This if of course what the millionares are doing, they are sick people. Addicted to a dose of money which is never enough.

This is the reason why we should not devide different levels of income, we should devide economics from our earths resources. This of course, is a battle that those who hold the power will fight until the last drop to protect. Luckily enough, they are the vast minority and already loosers at such. We need a healthier planet in so many ways, while slow gardening is one.. it is a drop in the ocean which btw. vibrates for all drops. Dribble and we are already half way there.

Let’s garden and remember what’s important to us, the beautiful life of travel. Not everyone is bad or evil, while it may seem so. I learned that in the most unlikely of places, in China where everyone seemed just corrupt and greedy. It was far from truth and if there is hope, hope is everywhere. We have to believe in it, or it will be a huge battle for the survival of the human kind. Economics will be the last thing on peoples mind then. Naturally.

Xian Show & Beautiful Xian Botanical Garden

I’m proud to present to you some beautiful pictures I took at the Xian Botanical Garden. Which is by far one of the most impressive gardens I have seen with flowers and all. Yes, this huge garden that covers an area of 20 hectars or approximately 49 acres is one of the oldest botanical gardens in the world. And amongst the first eight that were built in the whole of China to please the emperor of those times. I am presenting to you some pictures, but I have to say that the 3,500 or more plants that are presented here are more than plenty to take photographs of. That’s why I have only settled on presenting to you a handful, to see some of the highlights that I personally liked. Also another little restriction was, that I only had one whole day to observe it. For those who want to really get deep into the world of flowers, I would recommend a much longer stay.

At Xian

Despite this time restriction, I was able to witness one of the most brilliant displays and assortments of flowers I had seen in my life. The diversity is simply mind boggling. My favorite kinds were the medical plants as well as the aromatic plant garden. I like to think about the different uses for different plants, be it medicine, aroma or insense. China is surely one of the experts in this field, of which Xian is the oldest city for having such deep culture.

At Xian

Of course, no garden is complete with a panda to decorate the garden. Such as this one in the picture. Also, this is absolutely my favorite flowers or at least one of them.. the “Big Wild Goose Pagoda” which does not fail to show it’s beauty and impress everyone!

At Xian

Also one impressive display was that of the tree-peony. It is the Chinese national flower, however there are over 200 categories of it. Incredibly all of which are on show here! There is also an exhibition that explains the history in very detail. Highly recommended!

At Xian

And no trip is complete, without some entertainment. For which Xian is famous for it’s traditions in performing arts. The Tang Dynasty which is when the city of Xian was built, is the name of the show that displays beauty of acting as beautiful as the flowers. Along with a live traditional Chinese orchestra. It really made my day and in the end the night as well, more perfect than I could ever hoped for. The Tang Dynasty Palace is also an extremely beautiful old building, so in itself it is worth to go to see it as well. The magical show was enjoyed by me and my colleagues and we will never forget it!

Best regards,

Pete Underwood

The Meditative Power of Gardening

Meditative Rocks

Slow gardening, is a lot about medidative gardening. When you see an old man in the field, doing hard labor.. or an old man in a beautiful garden, doing lots of careful work. Either way.. have you ever though about what goes on in their hands.

I think I got the answer.. nothing!

This I know from experience. Because it’s one of the things I most love about the art.. is that it clears your head and stops your thinking. Makes you relaxed and feel at peace. There is a magical power with plants.. They don’t demand anything from you, they just go on with their lives.. with what they have. To garden is not just to watch that, but to witness that.

You have a distance with the plant.. yet you feel one with it and see it live it’s life. Meditation works in the same way. Because they don’t tell you what to do, it’s so easy to learn from them. And to forget. That’s why it’s important to go slow.. so you start to understand and you don’t forget.

Peace to my brothers in the wide world. It’s time to start planting seeds again!


Pete Underwood

Peace Through Acrobatics & Law of Nature

Shanghai Contest Show

Just as there is a battle between plants that grow amongst themselves.. at the same time there is harmony. This is one of the mysteries of life. How can people be in peace while they are competing against each other, even trying to destroy each other. But I would like to stress that I don’t think there is any reason to be scared.

Such is the case between China and Japan as well as Korea. All countries are so deeply and historically rooted, just as a tree that has grown for centuries. Yet, they choose to fight. While it’s unfortunate, perhaps the balance is there.. just hidden to those who think negatively.

In shanghai I observed this through the Shanghai acrobatic show scene which I am very fond of. While many have fallen down because of territorial disputes.. some have gotten up and create an even better show of acrobatics! There are about three theaters left, from the total of almost a dozen that use to roam the scene.

It was sad to see some of the older theaters wither away.. because there were no Japanese people coming to these shows anymore. They are scared and trying to find another way to approach China. With peace and balance. But those who survive are better than ever. During my visit there, I enjoyed them extremely much.

And that’s the peace.. how things evolve. There is lot more to evolve and sometimes the world needs such dramatic events to learn. Again, it’s unfortunate but seems to be like a law of the nature. Shanghai is a good example, because while the development there seems totally irrational and even crazy at times. Even from such places, this peaceful harmony can be found. Be it performing arts or the local flower shop.., you just need to look at it the right way!

My peace wishes for two of my favorites countries in this world, Japan and China.

Pete Underwood

Rice Harvest in Japan

Rice Harvest

The harvest season in Japan has been largely successful, dispite the usual typhoons that still continue to sweep the country. The Japanese are busy at home eating their “shin kome”, newly harvested rice which for some reason tastes better than ever.

Just as Christopher columbus put it when he first set foot on the island, the landscape was covered in gold. Wherever you can find errable land, there are fields in use.. even for some of those fields that are not being used at the moment, the government is paying the farmers to plan flowers.. only for display!

One amazing view after another.. but they all seem to have at least three elements that are the same. The fields, the mountains and last but not least the electric cables!

This sight is hightened, when the crops turn to gold.. wind blows through the fields and sprinkles magic golden dust throught Japan.

Then it’s harvest time and machines carefully process all the rice.. until a fine white mountain of grain. Not all of the crop can be processed by machine so the plants on the edge of the field are being collected by hand to save every last bit of rice.

After this is done, the field is burnt to make the soil ready for next years crop. The air is in smoke and the island has lost it’s golden glow.. winter is coming…!

Back in Beijing, Back in Plant and Kung Fu Show Life

Well, I could not hold much longer. When I go to visit places such as Beijing, I become affectionate with them and it’s hard to leave it at just one visit. China is really the country of opportunities, and my life in the states has become increasingly harder to get into grips with, when it comes to managing my life there. Everything seems so easy and flexible in the mainland if you have some knowledge and skills to share with these kind people.

I’ve have been temporarily recruited in garden design and management, which is a great pleasure to be welcomed in a country where gardening already has it’s long roots with many professionals around. My personality is to show sympathy towards local culture as I sincerely do want to learn foreign countries as deeply and profoundly as possible. A mission that even many locals seem to forget nowadays. In this way I have gained much respect amongst these people whom I have received as dear friends and colleagues.

As usual, I caught up on some local expertise, this time the Red Theatre Kung Fu Show was another Beijing production that blew my mind. Tender was not the word that crossed my mind when I went there but incredibly this was one element that was intertwined into the spectacle. As a heterosexual but tender flower loving person, I did appreciate the tenderness that was shown amongst a story full of aggressive moments and action. Such a dance of balancing the two creates a somewhat realistic feature of what is the true story of Kung Fu. I would definitely go and see the show again as the Red Theatre captivated my mind pretty well.

Nature is definitely at close proximity here, the bald skillful men showing their martial art skills, the monk style, takes some guts to perform in such an exquisite manner. One disconnected with nature and plant life would not be able to make such a performance. I’m sure about that!

Home Vegetable Gardens Bring Happiness, Energy, Alimentation and a Pleasant Hobby

Vegetable Garden

At home gardens you can grow vegetables, root vegetables, fruits and berries. It’s advised to take your resources and time available into account when planning the size of your garden. If you are after a good yield, that takes a lot of effort but as we have a tendency to here at slow garden, a small yield will bring you enough to nourish your mind.

Besides nourishment and exercise, the garden will bring food for the eyes for you as well as your neighbors. Let’s say a 10 square root garden could bring plenty of joy to the whole family. The light needed by plants is different, therefore give more room for those that need more light for a successful plantation.

An important division between plants is those that are easy to grow and those that are more challenging. Fruits and different berry bushes are much easier than having a garden plot. Just the trick is that you need to cut the plants in April or before the spring comes.

More time consuming hobby is a garden plot, which you should sow, trim, water and weed. Then in the end you have to collect the harvest. Herbs are a popular “easy grow” that have less watering and trimming needed. Other easy to grow vegetables are radishes, onions, peas, zucchini and lettuce.