Gardening can be about looking, learning and doing. But we know there’s more to it, right?

If I were asked to explain how I approach gardening, I would simply say that it’s all about LOOKING, LEARNING, and DOING. But we know there’s more to it, right?

I certainly don’t want to over simplify, or undervalue the practice of horticulture, for we all know its importance to professionals and amateurs alike. For this post however, I want to briefly describe my approach to gardening, and highlight why gardening is so beneficial to me. After all, it’s not just about gardening for the sake of gardening!

Returning to my key words, I firstly take time, and really enjoy LOOKING at a garden. Not in a passive way I have to say, but in an examining, searching, working out kind of way. The longer the time spent studying, the better – and I definitely include photography in this area too.

Details, vistas, sight-lines, flooding, erosion, footprints, damage; the list goes on. However, as important as it is to tune-in and enjoy the detail, it’s also important that I stand back, reflect on each scene and try to see the bigger picture.

Second up for me is to LEARN about the garden; this process never ceases and keeps me engaged constantly. I take time to consider plants and their fascinating stories, how micro-climates affect garden spaces, character areas and garden archaeology, and the balance of ecology in the garden. Photography again can help as a reference tool in many instances, but talking to experts in their fields is always illuminating and never time wasted!

I learn as I mow, as I plant, as I prune, sweep and rake, and during all the other little tasks that fill my time. Even in my lowest moments, or through garden failures; I continue to learn.

Gardening dishes out many lessons, (and not all on day one,) so I continue to learn, to keep an open mind, to read, (I read lots!) to adapt and grow; both the garden and myself.

Gardening reference books

Finally for my list of three is DOING; I enjoy the physical engagement that gardening gives me. Planting, weeding, maintaining, tending; it can be hard if necessary work, but the doing makes me stronger in mind and body.

Gardening clears my mind, it gives me an immediate focus and it rewards me daily. Through the ‘doing’, I nurture not only plants and gardens, but myself too, and it’ll be a sad day if I’m ever forced to give it up!

Felco Secateurs
My partner in crime!

So there we have it: SEEING, LEARNING and DOING; my three gardening keywords. But why did I feel the need to break it down, to explain and write about it?

Because: I believe that gardening keeps me grounded in this mixed up world; it keeps me in touch with the seasons; it helps me see the bigger picture; and the process of gardening recharges my positivity on a regular basis. If gardening does this for me, it can do it for you too!

All of the above describes my approach to gardening, and what I feel as a gardener. It’s what I am, it’s what I do, and I heartily recommend it to you!

I’d genuinely love to hear how you garden, and the benefits it brings to your life. Do let me know!


Gary Webb

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