Gardeners must dance with feedback, play with results, turn as they learn. Learning to think as a gardener is inseparable from the acts of gardening. Learning how to garden is learning how to slow down.
I remember thinking at the time how much gardening is like writing – writers have to dance with feedback and play with results, too. And, thinking like a writer requires actual work as a writer. Over the weekend I helped my daughter, Ann, plant a garden in a space she cleared in her front yard. As I reflected on what we accomplished, I realized that our process resembled a writer’s process in many ways.
First, we gathered the tools we would need – gloves, spade, shovel, wheelbarrow, mulch. Then, with paper and pencil in hand, we sketched and talked about color and space, listing the plants and flowers we thought might work best. Having a plan helped as we shopped, but we weren’t afraid to revise the plan as new possibilities arose.
When we returned from making all our purchases we were ready to draft, or plant in this case. We got to work making small revisions as needed with the mulching, digging, planting, and watering. So there we were, going through the whole process – the editing would come in the continuous care of weeding and feeding.
As with writing, the best part came in the sharing. We were so proud that we couldn’t wait to share our little garden with the world, and we didn’t have to wait long. As people walked by in Ann’s small neighborhood, they stopped to admire or offer a comment of praise and encouragement. We decided right then that creating gardens should be a new Mother’s Day tradition for us.