Friday, September 12, 2008
Another type of garden writing is rather like a memoir and recounts the evolution of a particular garden, or gardens if the author is a landscape designer, from start to finish. Martha Stewart’s garden books, for example, have literally invited us into her various back yards. Less common is a kind of archeological dig that provides an overview of the restoration of an historic garden.
Writing about period gardens (Colonial, Medieval) or gardens of a particular style (bungalow, courtyard) can require a lot of research, but be very rewarding in terms of adding to the writer’s knowledge base.
Various religious sects have gone through periods in which elaborate gardens were built as demonstrations of the church’s or an individual’s power (the Roman Cardinals’ 15th and 16th Century pleasure gardens) or as spiritual or meditative aids (cloister or temple gardens). For those who like to travel, writing a book on such a topic combines the best of work and play.
My kind of creative garden writing is on a more esoteric level, stories about the transforming power of the symbiotic garden/gardener relationship. While there is some existing literature on therapeutic gardening, and how gardening might become an expression of a person’s religious, spiritual, or humanistic nature, The Transformational Power of Gardening is more about the conscious, and often subconscious, meanings that gardening has for some.
In these gardens, one feels a certain type of energy or “atmosphere” that just isn’t there in the majority of gardens. As the story of these gardens unfolds in private conversation, it becomes apparent that these living works of art are shaping their creators every bit as much as the creators are molding their gardens.
Lois de Vries' thoughts on gardening and environmental issues run the gamut from gardening in her own back yard to promoting land management practices that reconnect people to the Earth. Lois is seeking a publisher for her book, The Transformational Power of Gardening. Visit her blog at http://loisdevries.blogspot.com.