- Gardening can be one of the most profound ways to unearth the creative spirit buried within every one of us. Once you unleash this creative energy, you will be amazed at what happens in all areas of your life. Here are six ways you can use your garden as a tool for your creative awakening.
6 Exercises To Re-Ignite Your Creativity Through Gardening
1. Explore plants, flowers and nature.
Often the scariest question to answer can be, what do I want? The sheer open-ended boundlessness can be overwhelming. Discovering your wishes is one of the most basic ways to begin unearthing your authentic roots. Here’s where to start. Take a walk in your neighborhood and local parks and arboretums. Take photos of any plant that you like. Visit your local nurseries – take time to touch, smell, look, and familiarize yourself with plants. If you have a nature trail near you, use it. Find a spot outside that you’re drawn to – sit, meditate, write, or just ‘be’. Let the beauty of nature sink into your soul.
2. Open yourself to possibilities.
The process of designing a garden is really all about being open to possibilities — standing before a blank canvas, facing the unfamiliar and opening your mind to seeing what might be. Ask yourself what would you do in your garden if there were no limits on time or money.
3. Play with creativity.
What we really want is the freedom to be playful and spontaneous, to be able to say yes when all grown-up reasoning dictates that we should say no or not now. This is one of the main reasons I love gardening. It is out of spontaneity that sometimes the best ideas and creative solutions arise. Play is creativity at work. It is an attitude, a spirit, a point of view and most of all, a way of living life. Play in your garden. Play in the dirt, play with ideas, play with new projects and play with possibilities.
4. Own your unique style.
We all have our own style. So many of us are afraid of owning our unique style — afraid of being thought of as having no taste, or worse, bad taste. But taste is so arbitrary! Who can really say what is appropriate and what isn’t? In order to live authentically, we need to stop concerning ourselves with what others think of us.
I know that I don’t quite fit in with the typical gardening world, and after many years I feel pretty happy about that. I have weeds and mistakes. I don’t plant according to a strict calendar. And I sometimes leave the dead stuff in toward the end of the summer because I like the way it looks juxtaposed against the bloom of new life. Your garden can be a wonderful laboratory for you to define and express your unique style. Forget about curb appeal, what the high priestesses of taste dictate or what types of gardens are “in” right now.
5. Make your own choices.
For beginners making choices for a garden can sometimes feel daunting and downright intimidating. Oh please, it still happens to me after all these years! There is nothing orderly about making choices about which plants to use in the garden. There are two questions to ask yourself about any kind of plant life in order to determine if it will work for your particular garden:
* Does it fit the tone, vision and style I want for my garden?
* Does it make sense? Is it appropriate for where I want to put it?
6. Take risks.
A garden is the most forgiving of mediums, and so it is one of the easiest ways to learn to take risks. My garden contains a lot of risks I’ve taken over the years, some big, some small. One risk was when I pulled out the requisite evergreen bushes that come standard with every suburban front lawn. People from the neighborhood were literally lining up to take them and I thought, “Yikes, am I really doing this?”
What can you do to take a risk?
Think of one risk you’ve been itching to take in your garden. Don’t say no to it right now; just sit with the possibility of doing it. That’s all you need to do for the moment.
Portions of above text taken from my book, Digging Deep: Unearthing Your Creative Roots Through Gardening, which can be purchased on Amazon.
NOW IT’S YOUR TURN. How do you re-ignite your creativity in your garden and/or life?
Fran I have been taking risks for years in the garden and re-inventing it…now I am more comfortable with my style…I plant natives and have taken out invasive bushes. I deliberately compost them so my neighbors won’t plant them. I figure why continue the problem.
Kudos to you for becoming comfortable in your own skin. That’s a real accomplishment. I’m a kindred soul with other gardeners who use natives and discard invasive plants. Good idea to compost them. Thanks for chiming in. Fran
The way you relate gardening to life is just lovely Fran. The idea of opening to possibilities really resonates with me, both in the garden and in my experiences.
I for one am glad you don’t fit into the typical gardening world because where you fit is just perfect.
Elle – thanks so much for your kind words. Your support means a great deal to me -xxoo
Love these ideas, especially going against the grain and being creative. I listen to planting advice, but usually go with what moves me. Beautiful!
Cathy – I love that you go with what moves you – that’s what gardening is all about!
Fran, I’m not much of a gardener myself — but many of the widows that I’ve started connecting with are. I know that many of them feel like their creativity and aliveness has died out along with their loved one. Your advice is a wonderful gift for them! (and countless others).
Nature is such a great teacher and it shows us every day how death is part of life and how the creative, loving force of nature (and our inner nature) never dies.
It’s wonderful that you can give them practical, doable ways to learn these lessons and re-ignite the life force within.
With joy –
Halina When dealing with a loss of a loved one, gardening is an affirmation of the cycle of life – it’s a great form of therapy and a tool in the healing process.
Who knows – you may become a gardener yet. With your soul, you could create a beautiful one. Fran
Nature is such an excellent teacher, Fran. And gardening is a wonderful way to directly communicate with her. I love the quote about Nature accomplishing everything without being in a hurry.
Your suggestions for igniting creativity through gardening are powerful, yet simple and can be applied in any facet of life. Thank you for sharing your wisdom through this beautiful post!
Always such a pleasure to read your writing!
Nature is the ultimate teacher – if we would listen to what she is telling us and follow her lead, the world would be a very different place-for the better. xxoo-Fran
Part motivational narrative and part garden design advisory, this book puts forth “tools for creative awakening” through gardening. Sorin, the owner of a garden design business and the gardening expert for iVillage.com, takes hesitant but motivated home gardeners by the hand and leads them down the path toward a satisfying horticultural experience. Through a process of designing the garden from concept to plan to plants in the ground, Sorin invites readers to develop a personal vision rather than conform to expectations or rules, offering a series of activities and exercises to guide this process. She focuses on interests and ideas rather than technical concerns with plant life zones (although short lists of items like key tools and rose care are included). Suitable to complement a body of more traditional garden design resources.-Jennifer Burek Pierce, Indiana Univ. SLIS, Indianapolis Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
You always thought that gardening would be a perfect way to express yourself and relax.
Whitney – You are 100% correct! 🙂
hi this is a great idea for gardening i love nature it is looking good