Thursday, December 6, 2012

Gardening and creativity

I've been re-reading a lovely book that I've had for awhile -- Fran Sorin's Digging Deep: Unearthing Your Creative Roots Through Gardening.  She's a tremendously wise gardener, and her book, published in 2004, has obvious 'legs' as it's still in print.

I'm planning on leading a workshop this spring where we'll explore some of the  exercises she describes in her book. And, I'm proposing another workshop and a talk based on this approach in the future, as well.

I think we're missing the creativity in gardening in our popular horticultural press in this country (probably in NA as a whole).  We're all about landscaping language (and tasks), even in fairly sophisticated pieces about gardening in our various magazines, websites, etc.

I've greatly enjoyed Gardens Illustrated (published through the BBC in the UK) for its plant and design-based approach -- they seem to be more about celebrating the creativity of the garden designer and the gardener, instead of thinking about gardens as the equivalent of a room that gets "decorated" every so often, so the articles seem like they have a fresh approach.

Plants grow and change, so are a challenging artistic medium, but they provide an exceptional creative palette, too, for expressing and creating a surrounding space (a garden, if you will) that suits YOU, not anyone else.

Piet and Anja Oudolf's garden, late September 2012
That's what I'm thinking about when I'm considering why I garden and for what purpose, and how I encourage folks in my classes, too, for that matter.


  1. That sounds like just the book I need to get creative. Thanks for the recommendation. Would love to take your workshop (and you've just reminded me I need to get going on my early February talk!).

  2. Jean,
    You'll love Fran's book -- I've really found it to be an inspirational way to think about and reframe what I've felt about gardening -- especially WHY I love to garden!

  3. Lisa- Wow! I was perusing through google for key words for the re-issuing of my book -Digging Deep: Unearthing Your Creative Roots Through Gardening - What a pleasant surprise to see that you have found it to be useful. It gives me great pleasure.

    A favor - Would you mind going on Amazon and writing a testimonial and 'liking' Digging Deep? The higher the book's ratings, the more likely it is to get noticed and bought.

    Also, do you mind if use what you have said about Digging Deep on promotional material?

    In advance, thanks so much. You've made my day. With gratitude -Fran

  4. Fran,
    How great to hear from you! Digging Deep certainly has resonated with me, both as a gardener and educator, and I was just thinking about the process, as I'm updating a workshop description (for next spring at the John C. Campbell Folk School) where we're going to use the book (it will be one of the materials included in the weekend workshop).

    Please feel free to use my perspective on your promotional material! I'm so glad that it's being reissued. And I'll certainly be glad to do a review on Amazon for it. All the best, Lisa

  5. Sorry for the late response Lisa. Between traveling, gardening, and preparing for my daughter's wedding, I am way behind on commenting.

    BUT thanks for your support. I appreciate it.
    Have a wonderful gardening season. Fran

  6. Lisa-
    Thanks so much for your support. And sorry for the tardy response - between traveling, gardening, and planning my daughter's wedding which is this week - I've pretty much dropped off of the radar. Have a beautiful spring. Fran


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