Thursday, January 17, 2008

Creative Fire In The Rain

I got a book yesterday called Digging Deep by Fran Sorin. The rest of the title is "Unearthing Your Creative Roots Through Gardening".
One exercise in her books opening chapters is to remember the gardens or plants of your past. These are actually your gardening roots, sometimes buried in the layers of life that have happened since then.
I did not think I had any, and then a few surfaced up into my minds eye.
I can remember playing with Daisys and Dandelions with my sister Jawsy (Not her real name, its actually Georgina, but Jaws is my nickname for her). We made necklaces and bracelets of daisys, linking the flowers through little nicks in the stems. Daisy Chains.
The Dandelions we turned into Soft, staining pillows on fresh cut grass. Placing the flower heads with great care close together. All the combined flower heads formed a soft pillow!
Another memory it sparked was having to clean up after the Dog (A gorgeous Greyhound called Lizzie) who used the backgarden to do what dogs need to do when they get let outside...
I was armed with a shovel, which was used to move dog poop from the garden to under the Rosebushes. They were the best looking Rosebushes in the area, thanks to Lizzie and my shovel. That is my first gardening job memory when I was about 6 or 7....

I wrote an email to a Journalist called Leah Garchik who writes for the San Fransisco Chronicle. She wrote a funny/sad piece after she won through a garden consultantation through a charity auction.
I felt sorry for her after the consultant was horrid to her about her house, but more painfully about her garden. I wrote to Leah that the best gardens are made over time, as an expression of yourself. Each gardener wants their own unique garden, not gardening by numbers or a copy cat garden replica of another one.
Time, and the Environment cause gardens to develop their own uniqueness. What grows well stays, what struggles or dies leave the fold. Garden ornaments, decorative pots, fountains or water features. We buy them a few at a time and add it to our own eden.
Gardens can be as filled with as much stuff as you like. Leah had a mannequin with ivy growing on it...Viva la Differance.
If you are happy with a Pink plastic Lawn Flamingo, and Ten garden gnomes then go with it.
Maybe you're into a Zen garden with single plants, raked gravel, and space. Maybe you long for the wild beauty of a Cottage garden, plants spilling over the edges of the garden. The creativity in a Gardener needs to be released not crushed by Gardening gurus saying you cant grow that here etc!
The Home and Gardens Sub Editor says they want to print that email, and it cheered Leah up after she read it. Its funny how I was writing to Leah about an individuals creativity is the best driving force to make a garden your own. Then I came across the book that taps into some of my own ideas!

Another section of the book was Observing. Going outside for ten minutes and just looking at the Garden or sidewalk or park, Seeing whats there and writing short pieces about what you see. From flowers to individual leaves to weeds growing through cracks in the sidewalk.I think this is a process to involve you in Nature. You look at the small things, and realise your connectedness to the Earth. All things from food to Clothes come from plants. The whole world relys on growing from the earth.
I looked at the rain drops hanging on the washing line in next doors garden, the colour of the pegs at the near side of the line.
Bird seed which has started to germinate under the Viburnum. Seeing little single stems of grass with translucent roots. All I thought was how small must the seed be? The wet weather has inspired the photos today.
Life can be increasingly fast. Sometimes its good to observe nature around us. From weeds to wildflowers to bees to birds to trees, leaves and bark. Winston Churchill was famous for spending time in his garden to recharge his batterys when the rigours of public office were getting to him. I have a lot more book to go. I reccomend it highly if you have a creative gardener dying to get out from inside you. It may light your creative fire.
The photo from Wikipedia is Prometheus who stole Fire from Zeus to give to Mankind.


lisa said...

Sounds like a really good book. You were sweet to write to that gal and cheer her up...I felt badly for her, too! Not only was the "consultant" rude, but the comments on her article! Geez...I thought New Yorkers had a reputation for bad attitudes, but they got nothin' on San Franciscans! I agree with you-only a garden with your own personal history and style will make you happy in the end-not what some snotty know-it-all says you should plant. Even my mistakes are all my own, and I enjoy them nearly as much as the sucesses. Hmmm....maybe I should be a "garden consultant"...sounds like that broad didn't have very much actual "wisdom", and I'm a helluva lot nicer!

David (Snappy) said...

Hi Lisa,Some of the comments on the article were just as rude.I told her to keep her chin up!
I think you would be a nice down to earth consultant.I think if you get a chance to read Digging deep you should.
The best gardens are never complete, there is always something else you want to try or dream about.We all need dreams for them to come true :)