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and It's Role Today
you noticed how some people seem to happily potter for hours in their
garden oblivious of the cares of the world, or others who can unwind
the minute they are outside, smelling the roses, pulling up a weed,
snipping here and there. Maybe they love digging up the spuds and picking
the home-grown peas, or just stepping out and breathing in the natural
air and energy of the plants around them.
It seems to me that a
lot of people head out into the garden as a tonic and respite from the
hustle and bustle of hectic city life. So what is it about gardening
or just being in the garden that has such a calming influence?
Well, for those whose
idea of a tonic is one with a gin in it and whose respite from stress
involves a brick wall and lots of head butting, then here is an alternative
view according to the "Gardener's Philosophy".
We'll take it as given
that gardening as an activity is generally good for fitness and health
- lots of fresh air and some physical activity, so it's already in the
category of "good for well-being". However, it may just seem
like a lot more work to you - digging, pulling up weeds, mowing lawns,
watering, planting, feeding - oh my, I'm getting tired just thinking
about it now!
know how to work smart and they have a different "Way".
Sure, you can do it the
hard way and work, work, work until it is picture perfect, spotless,
not a leaf out of place and you are too worn out to enjoy it's beauty.
Or, you can observe, watch nature, go with the flow of the natural order
and let nature do a lot of the hard work for you. And this is the major
difference between the approach of the "gardener" and the
One views the garden as
an extension of the household and as something that has to be cleaned,
manicured and tidied regularly (ie just more chores). The other believes
in the "Garden" as an entity, a community, a creation to be
enjoyed, visited, played with, nurtured. Some may describe it as a canvas
on which they leave their own creative marks, but it is never static,
it is always changing, shaping and reforming from one moment to the
generally has a picture of exactly how their garden should be and tries
to freeze it into their perfect moment. This ultimately involves a lot
of effort on their part because what they are trying to do is stop time
and halt the natural living flow.
on the other hand recognises that they are dealing with a living, breathing
creation that they can participate in, modify, shift, explore, harvest.
They generally get more out of the garden than the energy they expend
in it. They are happy to moderate, shift and flow with the creation.
They are god in their own universe in that they can choose and select,
nurture or cull, encourage, train or deter.
That is why "spade
leaning" is an important activity of the "Gardening"
devotee. How can you know what is best for your own little plot of creation
if you ignore it's community and just start reshaping it without any
idea of what you are working with or what will be accepted? If you stop
and observe for a while, think about what you are trying to achieve
and let it mull while leaning on that handy device "the spade",
you will see more, learn more, understand more and find your "Way"
with much less effort.
On a practical level,
you've probably read of some of the obvious labour/resource saving ways
of gardening such as mulching to keep weeds down and reduce watering,
but every garden is different and what works in one situation isn't
always right for another. So time spent looking at your own little plot,
seeing what nature does without any interference will pay off later
when you are not trying to fix the problem you caused, while fixing
a different problem, as a result of changing things before knowing what
you know now!
(Responsibility also comes with
being god - such as fixing up the mess you made is one of them! )
And, even if there is
nothing for it but to do some digging (sometimes it just can't be avoided),
then don't just approach it as a big chore that has to be done, head
down and dig, dig, dig! Pace yourself (it will hurt less later) and
every now and then perform a bit more "spade leaning". Not
only will it benefit your back, but it will give you an opportunity
to admire just how much you have dug - but, never, ever look back at
what is left to do! It will also allow you time for more observing in
case you are visited by more inspiration and a better idea than digging
and it will keep the birds away because they will probably think you
are a scarecrow.
There is always more than
one way to approach life. There's an easy way, a hard way and many variations
If you think that perfection
can only come as a result of hard work, or if you think that you are
being lazy if it is too easy, or that it can't be real if it doesn't
hurt, or that life is meant to be stressful - you really, really, really,
need to do some "spade leaning"!
(J Hargreaves - 26th February 2003)
Spade Leaning and It's Role Today - article from Hark.net.au