I believe that pleasant sounds are as important to a complete gardening experience as sweet-smelling and good-looking plants. But according to ancient Asian traditions, not just any sounds will do. Instead, sounds should assist the flow of the positive, life-force energy called "qi."
Feng shui is the Chinese practice of synchronizing earth, wind, fire and water to balance the qi of objects or locations in order to promote positive outcomes. And, feng-shui practitioners believe that wind chimes are especially suited to promoting optimal qi.
According to feng-shui practices, though, different types of wind chimes must be positioned at different places. For instance, metallic wind chimes should be placed along a western or northwestern border of a property. Plus there should be six or eight clinkers per chime in order to receive good luck. A metal wind chime having five clinkers, on the other hand, supposedly invites bad luck, as does putting a metallic wind chime within a southern corner of a property.
Similar rules also apply for the placement of wooden wind chimes. To avoid inviting back luck, for example, feng shui practitioners put wooden wind chimes along an eastern or southeastern border of a property.
Incidentally, the Chinese used wind chimes during prehistoric times. They were made from bamboo and were intended to appease the wind god, Fei Lian. The ancient Chinese also used wind chimes as a type of anemometer, to let them know beforehand when Fei Lian was getting ready to act up.
Our metal wind chimes face west — a good feng shui location. There, they catch the slightest breeze from prevailing, westerly winds. I don't think they've ever appeased threatening winds, though. Yet they have occasionally warned me when Fei Lian was getting ready to act up, and their pleasant ringing is as much a part of my gardening experience as our plants.
This week in the garden
Looking for wind chimes, plants or lots of landscape ideas? You may find just what you're looking for at the Maryland Home and Garden Show at the Maryland State Fairgrounds, in Timonium. This year's theme is "Books in Bloom," and features gardens inspired by famous writers. The show opened March 2 and continues Friday-Sunday, March 9-11. For more information, call 410-863-1180, or go to mdhomeandgarden.com.