Volume 3 ~ Issue 4 May 31 , 2011


Feng shui consultations can be beneficial at several different times in life. Many people consult with me when they move but also when you are experiencing a bit of bad luck, you can often turn things around with Feng Shui. The most successful people I know don't wait until things get worse, they nip bad luck in the bud because they just don't tolerate bad luck in their lives!

  • NEWS


Most people choose trees in their gardens for the way they look or how it fits with their house or the role a tree played in their childhood. Is that the best criterion? NO, though those factors should be considered. The effect of your selection can affect your feng shui luck, your pocketbook and the birds and wild animals around you. The most important considerations for a tree is how will it fit in the place you have for it. Most people don't think of the long term consequences of their choices. From a feng shui perspective a tree is a powerful energy source that we are adding to our environment. From a "green" perspective a tree is a major living organism that serves to host for many other living things.

Choose tree varieties wisely. Put the right tree in the right place to prevent the need to severely trim or remove trees because they are too big, no longer "work"? or are causing problems for plumbing, uprooting sidewalks, growing into electrical lines, etc. The first thing you need to consider is the amount of space that you have to allot to a tree. My front yard has an Ash tree planted 40 years ago. It is over 75 feet high and 40 feet wide only because it has been trimmed. Every few years I have to have it prune which costs $$$. I love the tree but never would have planted it in this amount of space.

What does choosing trees have to do with wild birds?

One of the most important reasons to select trees carefully is to conserve the wild birds and other animals that call your trees home. If you aren't a person that loves the sound of the twittering birds do you care? You should- birds do more than sound wonderful and poop on your pavement. Birds eat many thousands of insect pests, including mosquitoes. Swallows such as the tree swallow, chickadees, house wrens, bluebirds, vireos, warblers, orioles, tanagers, and even some of the sparrows as well as bats are effective mosquito eliminators. Getting rid of pesky insects also may eliminate the need for toxic pesticides in your garden. They also disperse seeds over wide areas, ensuring plant health and bio diversity. Many bird populations nationwide are plummeting primarily because we humans are destroying their habitat. This is a chance to turn that trend around. Our positive, cumulative actions can make the difference in ensuring their long-term survival.

When you make an unwise choice of trees and either trim or remove it, you are taking the home of your wildlife with it.

What can you do?

Beside making a wise choice of trees initially, you can take care with the timing of tree trimming. There are more reasons to trim trees in the winter or when trees are dormant than the health of the tree. Birds are nesting in those trees at the very least between March and September.

In some areas, birds are nesting all year round. Here are the ways I recommend that you proceed to persevere their precious lives:

Hire an certified arborist,a licensed landscaper, or a qualified tree trimmer who knows and cares about a tree's health. Avoid hiring "bargain" tree trimmers or handymen, as they are generally inexperienced and may cause more harm than good to the trees.

The people you hire should be made fully aware of the laws protecting birds and the proper protocols when encountering active nests.

Begin with a careful inspection. For larger areas and sensitive habitats such as areas of native plants, dense brush, stream sides and stands of trees, it is best to hire a trained biologist. It is difficult as a layperson to access whether there are nesting birds in your trees because birds try to hide their nests from us. When in doubt your tree trimmer or other professional can get up there and look.

Tips for finding nests are: 1) look on the ground for white-colored droppings, then check the vegetation above; 2) as you walk through an area, look for birds flying out of vegetation close to you and intensely scolding you; they may have a nest nearby; 3) sit quietly and watch for birds that may be bringing nest material or food repeatedly to one place. Birds tend to place their nests just on the undersides of the tree canopy and where branches join together.

All work that has the potential to disturb or destroy the nest should cease in the immediate vicinity (50 ft is a good rule of thumb for songbirds, 500 ft for raptors such as hawks and owls). The nest should not be touched or moved. The parents choose the nest location for specific reasons: proximity to food and water sources; protection from predators and the elements. Birds may abandon their nest (which may already include eggs or young) if it is disturbed or if the parents are harassed. Moving a nest requires special permission from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and is usually only granted for human health and safety reasons.

If you witness tree trimmers disturbing nests, ask them to stop, and make them aware it is against the law. Then call the California Department of Fish and Game to protect the birds.

Save yourself money

Most trees are trimmed excessively and inappropriately, especially around apartment complexes and condominiums. This is not only to the detriment of the trees, but it leaves fewer habitats for birds to thrive in. Examples of unnecessary tree trimming are:

Thinning out pine trees and conifers to the point that you can see through them;

Sycamore trees—they do not need pruning because they don’t drop limbs;

Removing dead palm fronds that drape down around the trunks of palm trees, which provide valuable nest sites for orioles and kingbirds.

Adding water sources helps to attract birds that in turn take care of noxious pests in your garden.


To encourage birds in your yard, you can put up feeders. Just make sure your cat can't get to them.

Many pines and conifers will never recover a pretty or good shape after being "opened up" or trimmed down to preserve a view.


Attention all Northern California subscribers:

You are invited on Friday, June 3, 7:30 PM at East West Bookstore in Mountain View. Have for an Evening of Divination with Your Secret Sisters - A Free Event! Join Katherine Metz and Marina Lighthouse to work with Katherine's Dish Fairy Board and Marina's Kuan Yin Temple Oracle. Both divination tools will help you get to the heart of your question. Whether you are puzzled, pressured, or preparing for change, come extend yourself beyond your everyday thinking. The answer you seek may be transcendental. Some participants will get free mini readings. To reserve your space, please call East West Bookstore at 650.988.9800 .

Keep Plants Healthy, Monthly Actions for Beautiful Gardens. -- PUBLISH DATE IS EMMINENT!

Have you ever wanted someone just to tell you what to do each month to keep your plants thriving? This monthly action guide will help you know what to plant, when to fertilize and how to maintain your garden.


Blogging is more fun than I thought it would be and it gives me a chance to make quick but important observations on both Feng Shui topics and Garden and Landscape topics. Check it out at http://harmonygardens.net/?page_id=338 and tell your friends about it.

Garden Secrets - Your Garden Personality Guide.

Learn how you can adjust your garden to balance and express your personality. Check out my web site and tell your friends about it.


Shelley Sparks is a Feng Shui Expert, Licensed Landscape Architect and Humble Gardener. Through the practices of Feng Shui and Landscape Design she creates Harmony, Healing, Prosperity and Beneficial Qualities to her client's home, business and garden environments. She believes that as we bring our environments into balance we live happier healthier more abundant lives, benefit all that we relate to and help heal the earth.

She has been licensed as a Landscape Architect for more than 25 years and has designed award winning residential landscapes. She is a disciple of His Holiness Master Lin Yun Rinpoche, Grand Master of Black Sect Tantric Buddhist Sect of Feng Shui and has been studying Feng Shui for more than sixteen years. She teaches Garden as a Healing Space and Feng Shui and Feng Shui in the Garden for U.C.L.A. and other venues throughout the United States. She analyzes Feng Shui for people's homes, businesses and gardens.

Shelley is author of the forthcoming book Secrets of the Land, Designing Harmonious Gardens with Feng Shui

Shelley Sparks, Principal
12224 Addison Street, Valley Village, Ca 91607
Phone (818) 505-9783
Fax – (818) 760-7558
E-mail [email protected]

See us at: www.HARMONYGARDENS.net
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