“A garden is the place millions of people go to touch the earth, to smell flowers – to use some of that fabled human brainpower in the cause of better participation with the natural processes in the place they call home. It serves as an art project, an organic produce market, a spiritual practice, a pharmacy. It offers ongoing lessons in ecology, biology, chemistry, geology, meteorology. Gardening imparts an organic perspective on the passage of time. It bestows on its practitioners a genuine sense of admiration for the plants, the soil, the sun, the water.
-an excerpt from the book Why We Garden: Cultivating a Sense of Place, 1994, p. 2. by Jim Nollman
Jim Nollman’s book is full of useful information and insight that he gained over decades of gardening. In it he expresses his philosophy on our need for tending the land. His approach is Zen…being one with Nature not working against it. It is about the beauty and contentment one finds in living simply and being in-touch with the earth.
Learning to garden is the process of learning from Nature while also discovering your own. Gardening is personal. It is a relationship between you, the plants, soil, sun, air and water! Trial and error is the way most of us gardeners learn. Nobody has exactly the same conditions you have…everything is unique to some extent. You can learn a lot about gardening from other gardeners, books and articles. But, it is not until you really try that you learn what works in your little corner of the earth. Or better yet in the words of Yoda in the Empire Strikes Back “Do. Or do not. There is no try.” To be content, Nollman says, all you need is love and an organic garden.
For me having a garden or the process of tending is a need! Even when I lived in London, in a cold-water one room bedsit, I had plants on the window ledge. My garden here at Ravenscourt has evolved without a real distinct plan…more of a collectors garden. I love each and ever plant and remember how they came to be where they are in the ground.
For some reason, when thinking about what my garden means to me it made me think of one of my favorite Beach Boys song, In My Room. My garden is my room…it reflect so much of what is going on in the depths of my soul. And I suppose gives clues to my true nature. It has been the rhythm and needs of the my garden that has kept me grounded through some very rough patches in my life.