CRAIG T. KOJIMA / email@example.com
Jeremai Cann arranged rocks in a spiral for an herb garden at the Green House in Pauoa.
Conservationists hope that water-saving spiral gardens will catch on
Gardens rouse an array of metaphors for Jeremai Cann - they are serene settings ideal for solitude, a connection to the land, a source of food and sustainability.
» Workshop: 10:15 a.m. to noon May 31
» Place: Halawa Xeriscape Garden, 99-1268 Iwaena St.
» Cost: $15; reservations required
» Call: Diane Moses, 748-5363, Arthur Aiu, 748-5312; or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Next weekend at the Halawa Xeriscape Garden, Cann teaches how to create a spiral garden - in a workshop established as a partnership between the Board of Water Supply, the Green House Sustainable Learning Center and Friends of Halawa Xeriscape Garden - as a means to promote water conservation while beautifying landscapes.
Cann, an environmental efficiency engineer and instructor at the Green House, also teaches in-school and after-school programs.
Spiral gardens save water, improve soil and beautify surroundings, according to Cann. But the process also provokes a deeper meaning. "The aina not only provides food, it's what sustains us," he said. "Your garden feeds you."
Cann compared spiral gardens to a Thanksgiving holiday cornucopia - "plentiful," he said. "I believe that when you are doing something like this, the meaning is very deep ... living symbiotically. The garden is very three-dimensional, so you can be creative and imaginative."
The gardens involve planting herbs within a spiral-shaped bed of rocks. In addition to saving water, the rocks warm and dehumidify the soil. "The roots become like veins and pathways," Cann added. "Using a spiral shape, the water naturally flows downward."
To get started, all you need is different-size stones, a good soil mixture, some plants and a dose of creativity, Cann said.
Cann uses two rows of stones to form the spiral. "The base is much bigger, and the stones are placed farther apart. At the top of the garden, the stones are closer together and smaller. Creating a three-dimensional aspect is the key point. Oftentimes this is difficult because we are trained by two-dimensionality."
Class participants will learn to choose an appropriate site, properly place plants and maintain the garden. Plants from lavender to basil and rosemary can be used. "Most importantly, use plants and herbs that you like," Cann added. "Everything is done by hand with lots of love."
Water costs about 22 cents a gallon, not to mention the ill effects on the environment when water is wasted, Cann explained. "Every barrel costs $12. ... It's precious, liquid gold."
The Board of Water Supply hopes classes like these will offer alternative and creative ways to save water, since an estimated 50 percent of water consumption is outdoors.
"We hope to minimize the amount of drinking water used outdoors," said Su Shin, chief communications officer for the Board of Water Supply.
"Many people taking small steps will result in significant water savings on Oahu," Shin added. "We are hoping to change people's attitudes around water use, change the social norms."