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.
Chanticleer in Spring

Chanticleer in Spring

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.

Chanticleer - pathway to woodlands

Chanticleer – pathway to woodlands

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?

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