The Evolving Garden

Older gardens have a marvelous sense of stability and a unique character. They're restful to wander around in or sit inside. Not that they're static, no garden ever stays exactly the same. But they have a depth of spirit, you might say, a quality that's almost indescribable. 

 

The gardeners and the gardens seem to have reached a balance that means, usually, less work. The more plants there are to fill the space, the fewer the weeds and, often, the less water it needs. The plants that do well have been allowed to spread, the ones that didn't work out are gone. The shrubs and trees are full grown. Stability amid change, that's what a mature garden says.

Nurturing stability

 

A stable piece of land has a good plant cover, often three or four layers from ground covers to tall perennials or shrubs.  No bare soil, no expanses of mulch, means less maintenance. This ideal may take a few years and many plants to achieve, but it's a worthwhile goal.

Nurturing meaning

 

Meaning is always personal, something to give to an object in the outer world, a way of melding inner and outer reality. You can always add something with meaning to a garden, a statue, a rose planted to honor a friend, a special rock from your favorite place. 

The more meaning infused into your garden, the more the garden as a whole with feel uniquely yours, and the more energy you'll have for working with it.  In a way, gardens are like sandboxes for grownups. We play around, change the furniture or the decorations and when we get bored we find something else to do. 

 

 

Nurturing possibilities

Brainstorming is a good winter activity, or even something to occupy yourself in the midsummer heat when you're not going to actually change anything. Seed catalogs arrive, you. have time to look at gardening sites online or the beautiful books of photos that tempt us into bookstores.

And brainstorming is, by definition, separate from decision-making. Ideas, lots of ideas, are the purpose here. Write them down, collect photos, let your imagination roam.  Practicality comes later.

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