Then, you take the lessons learned and apply them to other facets of your life. I love gardening and have a favorite old, beaten hat that I wear; it makes me feel like a gardener. Creative ideas are like gardens and often my best ideas come after a day of walking around the yard, digging in the dirt. Gardens thrive in the hands of a good gardener, just as ideas flourish in the hands of a good creative thinker.
It takes great creativity to keep ideas alive and reap the rewards of a good harvest. Another way gardening can inspire creativity is through contrast. You'll find tons of contrast in the natural world, and planting contrasting colored plants side by side is a great way to create an eye-catching centerpiece. Gardeners won't need to be convinced of the benefits of fertile soil, and a fertile mind is a good start for creatives (for some ideas, see Learning from the Creative Inspiration Around Us) Those precious shoots need protection from all kinds of insults.
Where our shrubs may need protection from pests and diseases, heat and drought, frost, wind and storms, animal attack, so sometimes we need to protect our fledgling creative work from doubts and wrong turns, mistakes (they're okay, they can lead you in new directions), the opinions of others (this can be particularly destructive in the initial work which, let's face it, will always have to evolve) and the enthusiasm, interruptions and withering excuses. If finding the time to be creative is a challenge, check out When the Time Comes: Juggling Priorities in a Time-Constrapped World. Many plants benefit from stimulation in the right direction. I have been known to laboriously and repeatedly twist vine shoots around support structures or fences and hang partially filled bottles on tree branches to train them where I want them to go.
I commissioned several garden designers to come up with plans for our garden, none of whom could see their path in the easiest and cheapest way than I wanted, before one encouraged me to design it myself (and gave me great advice that helped us achieve it and more). Creatives need to be open to the journey that our creative work wants to take us, and there are times when we need to take charge of our project and direct it where we want it to go. You'll know when you have the vision you need to do it. It took me a long time to learn how to prune confidently in the garden and (surprise, surprise) also in editing.
If you're not sure, start carefully, review and then cut back a little more, and repeat over and over until you're done. Fortunately, in writing and in many other creative pursuits, the benefits of a healthy prune can usually be seen instantly in its brilliant work, where in the garden, it can look seriously brutal until the plant sprouts again. But you have to do it to get a better result. I have to keep reminding myself that cropping will bring out the real beauty — I have a habit of jotting down my word count at the beginning of every editing session — perhaps the tangible equivalent of pruning to see the number constantly falling (even if I add bits here and there) because you don't fully appreciate that the text shines brighter until you finish it and read it again with new eyes.
I encourage you to put on your gardening hat, present yourself as a creative gardener, rummage through the dirt, pull out some weeds, trim the hedges, get your hands dirty, feed, water and love your own patch of soil, in no time that little seed of an idea will be ready for a full and glorious harvest. In a way, the garden's own transience, the knowledge that this beauty will not last, is the inspiration that drives creativity. Yes, that empty plot that has been excavated, the land accumulated with seeds planted and watered may not look like the garden of your dreams, but it is a great achievement in itself. This will keep your garden safe from unwanted intruders and your family healthy when it's time to harvest.
We hope that the following ideas will help give you some starting points to help your children make the most of the garden in many ways. As you can see, the garden can offer many possibilities to enhance your child's creative experiences. Gardeners won't need to be convinced of the benefits of fertile soil, and a fertile mind is a good start for creatives (for some ideas, see Learning from the Creative Inspiration Around Us). When I put on my old hat, I imagine that I am a flowerbed caretaker of a beautiful English country garden with herbs, roses, hedges and paths of Downtown Abbey.
Not only is this beautiful, but it also provides food sources for the beneficial creatures you want to have in your garden. Stone surfaces offer purchase and warmth for small lizards, which will eat insects that could damage your garden. Spending time learning about how to garden can encourage a person to buy locally, for example, or become more involved in environmentalism and the fight against climate change, another example of community action. It also gives them greater respect for their garden and a broader understanding of where things come from.
But it's interesting to consider gardening as a creative act in itself; where shapes and colors are carefully cultivated just as they are found in a notebook, on top of a canvas, or in a fresh document without a title. This is also a good opportunity for your children to do some research on aspects of gardens on other lands and how people interact with them. . .