Gardening Creatively

I’m aware that reading about my daily goings-on and seasonal tasks may be the only reason you tune in, so I’ll definitely be posting regular updates via Twitter and Instagram, but for now, regular posts on GardeningWays will be altogether different.

Rudbeckia laciniata fading at the season end, backlit by  autumn sunshine
A little sunshine over fading blooms – Rudbeckia laciniata I believe.

All I know is that I presently feel driven to be more creative. Over the last year I’ve been exposed to various things that have really challenged my thinking and opened my mind, and I’ve come to feel that now is the time to change my game.

I’ve reignited an interest in art, or drawing at least, and immersed myself in some fascinating podcasts from history and horticulture, to culture, media and business. I’ve consumed as many audio and traditional books as my head, time and pocket would allow. But more than this, I’ve also taken a good hard look at where I am in life, at my growing children, and for all the reasons above I feel there’s never been a better time than now to try new things.

Along a new garden path at Sulgrave Manor, with a fully loaded wheelbarrow .
Along a new garden path

My new Head Gardener role, my day job, offers more than enough to fill me up, with all the trimmings you’d expect. Managing a team, improving numerous borders, understanding the historical development of a notable formal garden, mature tree management, planning garden interpretation – the list goes on. Exciting and challenging in equal proportions, and so far – so fascinating!

There’s also a voluntary garden design that I agreed to do back in the summer, which itself has given me good reason to dust off my drawing equipment and stretch out my measuring tapes. It’s been a good few years since my last ‘proper’ design work but I was thrilled to be given the opportunity, and I’m really excited to see the project evolve. In respect of this, I’ve mapped the space available, consumed site attributes, discussed aims of the project and my head is awash with 3D shapes for that garden.

One final thing. I’ve chatted with a friend, a respected artist, who’s set me an interesting target that seems simple – at least on paper. Essentially I’ve to complete a sketch, a quick and simple sketch, every day going forward. How hard can that be? Believe me, I’m already stressing over it, so bound am I to presentation and detail. Fingers crossed I’ll relax into it… but in the meantime, here follows a few words to round off today’s post:

Sketch No.1

To sketch, quickly and repeatedly, is to build my creative confidence and free my hand. To design a garden, is to move ideas from head to page to plot, a rare treat indeed. To manage an established heritage garden, is to connect, understand and nurture a living and evolving artwork. And to write, for me, is to think, see, create, engage and hopefully, to inspire.

I think those few things mentioned above are more than enough to challenge my creativity over the coming months.

Until next time…

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