Friday, October 26, 2007

What is "gestalt," anyway?

That's the second-most often asked question I get when I'm out sharing the good word about The Gestalt Gardener. Most recently, it came in the form of an email from Nelva, who wrote:

"I am argueing with my husband.What does gestalt mean? Listen to your program all the time we both enjoy it very much.Thank you."

On this week's show Felder addressed Nelva's email directly with some description of his Gestalt philosophy, as well as some poignant remarks. Here's a copy of Felder's notes on the subject of 'Gestalt':

"Gestalt is a German word that means both 'pattern' and 'whole.' The word is used in English to refer to a completed cycle, something that is finished. I see the concept relating to gardening by how it:
  • takes into account the whole garden (or gardener - body, mind, and spirit)

  • uses an experiential approach to gardening

  • assesses what is happening in the present (the here-and-now)
  • emphasizes self-awareness

  • encourages personal (garden) responsibility
  • acknowledges the integrity, sensitivity, and creativity of the gardener
  • recognizes that the gardener is central to the gardening process.

There is a lot of whimsy and humor in gardens, relief valves for the anxiety that comes from uptight people trying to do as we please. The Gestalt approach helps find common ground, and peace between the organized 'left brain' of horticulture science and the free-form 'right brain' of gardening for the love of it. It includes ways to get more gardeners 'into the fold' by relaxing - or even outright mocking - some of our cherished gardening rules, and allows a garden to be seen as a whole, instead of a lot of details."


Anonymous said...

I just wished that you had spelled it on the radio. As for me and my mother, we are both hard of hearing and can't always hear the fine nuances of a word. If we are not familiar with the word as "gestalt" then we are at a loss. For several weeks I been trying to figure out what was being said. "The Stalk", "Dastalt" were a couple thoughts that wandered through my mind. This past weekend, I got my mother to listen, and she thought it started with a "g". With that information and the use of Google, I was able to find out that it was "The Gestalt Gardener"

Producer said...

Glad you found it! Remember, you can find info on any of our shows (spelling included) at