An artist shares her experiences on creatively developing, tending to and nurturing her garden as spiritual sanctuary for herself, her friends and family. Gail Allen contributes her thoughts on creating a sacred space as an oasis for soothing your soul in today's busy world, enticing your senses and and fostering your own personal growth

Friday, January 8, 2010

Beginning a Garden

Gardening involves partnership, love and art which transform life, and this resonates to all corners of the world. It is meditative, and all encompassing of body, mind and soul.  It should be always evolving and changing. If it is approached initially in this manner, it will result in an experience which is both emotional and physical to the creator and the beholder. Alliance of your own personality with this new space, and seeing it as a cooperative effort between yourself and nature -  as opposed to strictly designing and controlling nature, will bring harmony and success in your ventures.
  Many factors come to mind when considering planning a garden. What kind of gardener are you, or would you like to become? What are your traits and archetypes that will be influencing how you work in the garden.What would you like the space or "room" to be like - is it a a place of sustenance,  personal/private space or one to be shared with others? What senses (sight, sound, hearing, touch) are going to be kindled as one passes through?  What kind of garden will you plant - annual, perennial, water, grasses, flower, vegetable and fruit? What style attracts you? Is it English, Country, Asian, Mediterranean, Artistic, Soulful, Planned or Unplanned? What is the  climate zone like? What are the watering needs?  What is the soil like? Which local animals could be a problem and do you want to plant so as not to attract them? How do light requirements influence the success of your garden?
  At the outset, the journey can be spontaneous and happen in a learn as you go adventure. Or, you can take the time to ask yourself some pertinent questions and save some often costly and frustrating mistakes.  Writing things down can be the first step in organizing your thoughts and feelings, even if you never refer back to them again. Think of it as exploring your soul and focusing the mind on what the soul truly wants. It  is parallel to making a life plan; exploring your wants, needs, and desires, the  financial requirements and working out the details on how to get the end result.
 So, here, where the ground is snow covered and the "bones" of the area are clearly able to be seen - I am taking this month to look, think, write, sketch and meditate. It should be fun and filled with creative expression as I begin to sketch and revise my own "Soulful Garden".

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