Flowform Feng Shui & Ecological Design

The Flowform…

It is a beautiful art form, yet a dynamic technology. It is Nature’s heart, yet humans crafted it. It contains mysteries within it, yet is an open book. It is infinitely complex, yet amazingly simple. And it wants to sing for you…

 I have been involved with ecological design (otherwise known as permaculture), Feng Shui landscaping, and Biodynamic agriculture since the 1999. My work in those related fields of sustainable agriculture, design, and philosophy culminated in my work with flowforms. Between 2007 and 2010, I was the principle owner and operator of California Flowform Artisans- a small flowform production company in Sonoma County, California. Due to various factors, both economic and personal, I stopped producing and moved into sales and consulting for flowforms and landscape design. Production is now in the hands of more qualified concrete artisans. If you are interested in flowforms for your garden, farm, winery, retreat center, cemetery, waste water facility, food processing plant, your home or business of any sort, please feel free to contact me at patrick@patrickgarretson.com with a brief description of your site and desired uses. I am also available for general ecological design consultation and Feng Shui work. Outside of working directly with flowforms, I have extensive knowledge and experience with edible and medicinal perennial polycultures, companion planting, orchard and forest management, composting and soil revivification, and formal garden maintenance. A picture tour of the formal Victorian garden I was responsible for between 2011-2015 is featured after my flowform gallery. 

A flowform purchase is usually a significant design component of any ecological landscape, so specializing your request and meeting your budget needs requires a modest amount of dialogue. I provide technical details and basic design considerations to help figure out which flowform will best suite your project. I am available for more in depth on-site design consultation on a per hour basis at $90/hr in the Portland, Oregon area (including outlying areas like Oregon City and Beaverton/Hillsboro). Travel fees apply to anything beyond 30 miles. 


~The Flowform Water Feature~

For those less familiar with flowforms, the following is a brief synopsis of their history, function, and significance. Flowform water-sculptures are a kind of bio-mimicry technology and art form invented by A. John Wilkes in the early seventies in collaboration with water scientist Theodore Schwenk (Sensitive Chaos), and mathematician George Adams- all of whom were students of Rudolf Steiner. Flowforms derive their inspiration and design directly from the book of nature, specifically from Water itself. Wilkes and his colleagues observed water’s tendency toward certain rhythmical states as well as its capacity to create coherent vorticular patterns and concluded this to be a necessary process in water’s self-cleansing and life-supporting function. Their work lead them to conclude that in essence, water is both the sculptor and the blueprint for all organic form. In the preface, Commandant Jaques Cousteau summed it up by stating that “all that life around us (is) really just water, modeled according to its own laws, vitalized by each fresh venture, striving to rise in consciousness.”

The essence of a flowform is the rhythmical flowing figure eight pattern that water naturally does in the bi-lobial structure of the flowform. No other water feature or technology is known to induce this effect, which has been shown to have an added benefit beyond the induction of dissolved oxygen which is a natural process anytime water flows. It is thought that since all living things have some sort of coherent rhythm inherent in them, that being surrounded or supported by the pulse of water through the flowform amplifies and harmonizes their vital nature.

Flowform water features also have a strong connection to the renown water wizard Victor Schauberger. Schauberger’s work with water and natural forces has strong implications into far flung realms such as energy production, farming, economics, and spirituality. The flowform likewise is deeply connected to almost every aspect of our lives and has numerous applications. Pictured below are flowform installations I created between the years of 2007-2010 as the key agent in California Flowform Artisans. The main screen shot is from the Davis Cemetery District, in Davis, CA, perhaps one of the most poetic applications of flowform sculptures.

While flowforms are very associated with Biodynamic agriculture, and some of them even designed specifically for stirring preparations, they also are very effective tools in other schools of agriculture and design such as permaculture and feng shui. As a biomimicry technology, they exemplify many permaculture principles such as stacking functions, designing with nature, maximization of surface area and edge, and of course the pulsing figure-eight is an actualized metaphor for the model of natural cycles as well as a mesmerizing and therapeutic thing to observe. In the ancient Asian art of feng shui, which means “wind, water”, they demonstrate healthy flow. In doing so, teach a crucial lesson which is that living energies have pulse and rhythm. Many people think of feng shui as a form of interior design for placing proper objects and colors in different parts of the house to bring good luck. But feng shui is actually much broader than that- looking not just in the home, but outside as well. What are the different dynamics and energies that structures all around us create? Human made or natural, we are affected and influenced in myriad ways by the physical environment around us, both for better and for worse. Flowing water is one of the most powerful tools in feng shui for creating abundance, good health, and general well being. And unlike other water features, flowforms have a particularly directed nature, and generate a potent energetic field around them by producing the basic pattern of Creation in the basic fluid of Life. They also generate a significant negative ion field which is said to have healing properties in the body.


An extended Sevenfold II at the Grgich Hills Estate Vineyard, American Canyon, CA.





Emerson 1 and 2 (large and small) in the Biodynamic education garden, Benziger Family Winery, Glen Ellen, CA.





A partial Sevenfold II as a part the Global Healing Village yoga space at Earthdance 2008.



The Vortex (lightweight) for mixing agricultural teas and sprays. (not currently available, check back soon!)


~Feng Shui in the Garden~

Following my training in permaculture under Penny Livingstone and Brock Doleman at the Occidental Arts and Ecology Center, in Occidental, California, I was involved in a number of different projects utilizing permaculture principles and design strategies. Since before then, I have also been active in sustainable forest restoration and management. I am a plant lover to my core, and have a keen eye to high esthetic and functional beauty. I have a special interest in growing of Chinese herbs for medicine as well as pure beauty. Much of the plants that went into making the high gardens of Victorian era gardens were from the royal gardens of the East, where many plants had stacked functions of exquisite beauty, beneficial attractors, and medicinal storehouses. While the idea of a Victorian garden may sound like nails on a chalk board to most permaculture designers, what I learned in my 4 years of maintaining an existing and established acre of intensively and meticulously designed Victorian landscape was that between the perennial polyculture and the energetic component of the design (the Feng Shui), it provided prime conditions for a self-sustaining ecosystem that warded off heavy pathogenic invasions and was resilient under varying climate changes. Additionally, from a Feng Shui perspective, the complex network of topiary and flower schemes created a dazzling array of plant life that is incredibly soothing to the senses (otherwise known as zone zero gardening). And as a hidden highlight, much of the landscape was potentially sources of highly medicinal plants valued in Asian medicine. While the garden required a large amount of maintenance, most of it was pruning and weeding, with very little active pest management or fertilization necessary. Below are pictures from my Secret Garden as I often referred to it.

“The Wishing Well”, one of the central features of the garden, incorporating a toroidal topiary surrounded by more hedge work and flowers. The toroid is the central organizing principle of all of creation, from the shape of galaxies and stars, to trees, magnetic fields, and biological structures. Medicinal plants pictured: clematis (in the central urn), scented myrtle, redwood (large hedge in back), rose, and apples (left).




The Green Man was in numerous places in this garden, and provided a useful reminder that more than just human eyes appreciate good design with lots of color and vivacity. Medicinal plants pictured: Dogwood, sword fern.




Medicinal plants pictured: Magnolia (huo po, and xin yi hua), tree peony (mu dan pi),



An antique lightning rod provided a special sculptural spectacle that created an enhanced energy area that further enhanced the rest of the garden from a Feng Shui perspective.





Medicinal plants pictured: ginger, rose, magnolia (huo po & xin yi hua), tree peony (mu dan pi), self-heal (xia cu cao), dogwood