Re: Consensus landscape?
From: Louis Lieb (
Date: Mon, 24 Sep 2012 09:13:06 -0700 (PDT)
this is a complex management and policy question and exists at many levels of 
abstraction. At the broadest level, a community or team must decide about 
over-riding aesthetic and philosophical issues such as native plants vs. 
exotics vs. permaculture (edible plants, not necessarily native). At the 
mundane level, there's a host of practical decisions related to individual 
plants or hardscape. Sometimes people get very fond of plants that they grew up 
with, whether they meet the criteria of the over-arching plan or not. 
Instructed by dynamic governance, I think it's a VERY good idea to have a 
garden manager - someone empowered to make decisions. If everything has to be 
done in a team meeting, it's a recipe for stagnation and ineffectiveness. 
Perhaps the manager would bounce a proposal off the team just to make sure no 
one had important input, and/or if the cost exceeds a certain threshold. 
People in the community may differ about broad issues. For example, I think 
it's VERY important to use native plants, whereas my neighbor may value 
something else. Maybe you can get showier flowers or more interesting foliage 
using exotics. One person may be very finicky, that every plant should be in 
its place, whereas plants do tend to have a "mind of their own" and move around 
the garden. I would be very tolerant. In general, I prefer a "naturalistic" 
garden; whereas someone else may prefer a more formal garden. 
ONE reason for preferring natives is to avoid planting something that is known 
to be invasive. Perhaps we could agree to plant natives and exotics that are no 
known to be invasive. This would be a compromise on my part, since I'd prefer 
all or mostly natives. 
I'm looking for a process that would yield a community decision on these 
matters - what I would call a compromise. Is compromise consistent with 
Another strategy might be to divide up the common area and allow people to make 
their own decisions about a certain area. That has the advantage of investing 
people in one area and providing motivation. 
Lou Lieb
Westwood Cohousing

On Sep 20, 2012, at 10:34 PM, Sharon Villines wrote:

> On Sep 20, 2012, at 9:41 PM, Louis Lieb <louislieb [at]> wrote:
>> Any thoughts as to how to reconcile different tastes and values to create 
>> one common landscape? 
> Can you say more about this?
> Sharon
> ----
> Sharon Villines, Historic Takoma Park, Washington DC
> "This era doesn't call for better management. It calls for a renaissance of 
> self-direction." Daniel Pink
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