How many of us can just “be” in our gardens?
When was the last time you sat down and relaxed in your garden and just enjoyed it, without making a mental list of all the pruning, watering, and planting you were going to do as soon as you got up from your chair or bench?
Elizabeth Lawrence wrote in a January 1, 1961 column in the Charlotte Observer, “… I added a new resolution to the old promises to get behind my garden sins; the new one is to take time to enjoy my garden. It has been a long time since I sat in it with a book that I didn’t read, and never gave a thought to weeds or watering or plants overgrown by other plants. I have always found it hard to reconcile a resolution to do nothing with one to do everything and do it ahead of time, but I used to find it easy to put my sins and negligence out of my mind. This year, I am going to try to recover the talent for leaving things undone…”
As the prime gardening season gets ready to take off here in the Midwest, many of us are reviewing our own gardening resolutions and goals set back in January, reminding ourselves of our grand and glorious plans for this year’s garden. And most of our plans involve us doing things in our gardens.
Okay, maybe we have already long forgotten those resolutions and goals set in the dark, cold days of winter. We realize now in the brighter light of spring the realities of actually following through with some of them and have adjusted them slightly or a lot, or even abandoned them outright.
But it is still early spring, at least in my garden, and the real beginning of the gardening season. I think now is a better time to set some goals and make resolutions for gardening and the garden.
One of my goals will be to spend some time just being in my garden without thinking about what I need to be doing in my garden.
I challenge you to do the same, to make it a goal to spend some time sitting in your garden, enjoying it and doing nothing and thinking of nothing that needs to be done in the garden.
Spending time just being in other gardens doesn’t count. It was easy to be in the Taniguchi Oriental Garden at Zilker Park in Austin, Texas, pictured above in early April, far way from my own garden. I easily enjoyed it and thought of nothing else but what a beautiful garden it is.
Try that in your own garden… Just “be” in your garden, and leave a few things undone.
It may be the hardest thing you’ve ever done in your garden, but it may be the most enjoyable thing you’ve ever done, too.
The quote above is from the book Beautiful at All Seasons: Southern Gardening and Beyond with Elizabeth Lawrence, edited by Ann L. Armstrong and Lindie Wilson, chosen to be the April-May selection of the Garden Bloggers’ Book Club.
All are welcome to join the book club by reading this book or any book by Elizabeth Lawrence and then posting a book review, your own insights on her writings, etc. on your blog before May 31st. Then I’ll publish a “virtual meeting” post on May 31st with links to all the relevant posts.