Can you imagine feeling like you’ve created a delightful feast for the eyes with only 4 window boxes?
I always thought that nothing would replace my love of designing large, sweeping beds. The expansive, long distance views gave me chills at the end of a long day of work in my garden. Or when opening the pages of a beautifully executed gardening magazzine.
But guess what? The yearning for that type of larger than life beauty has been replaced by something else. Gardening ‘in the ‘micro’.
Each morning, I can’t wait to check my garden before the pounding rays of the sun take over. I survey my small area of paradise as I walk out the door, take a deep breath, and register the colors that catch my eyes.
Then like a child scrambling to get her hand into the cookie jar, I scurry over to the window boxes to see what has been happening over the past 24 hours. There are always surprises.
I nuzzle up to the plants and then something happens. It’s as if my I’ve entered a jungle fairyland. The painters…Gaugain, Glackens, and Van Gogh…have influenced the way I perceive colors. But this spring, it is these windowboxes that are opening my senses up to a new way of using colors.
In this micro-jungle, anything goes. Rather than designing with a sense of symmetry, balance, and repetition, I let it rip. My intent is simply to have fun.
And am I ever! I’m in awe how overnight so much happens. How the tendrils of a vine might have wrapped itself around the leaves of another plant. Or how the deep purple flowers of the fluted silver leaved pelargonium and gazanzia contrast perfectly with the yellow leaved beans.
After taking off a few dead leaves, and checking the vines draping over the outer ledge of the wall, I do a slow walk about with my camera. And then I begin shooting. Slowly and quietly.
I sigh and think to myself how lucky I am to be here in this urban paradise…in this moment.
Here are 4 lessons I’ve learned from ‘Gardening In The Micro’
1. Slow down. Even if you have a slew of gardening tasks that need to get done, set aside at least 5-10 minutes to gaze, touch, talk to (yes I do), and photograph plants.
2. Develop beginners’ eyes. All of us get stuck in seeing or perceiving things in the ’same old, same old’ way. You can train yourself by looking at even one plant from different angles.
3. Be grateful. Communing with nature is an opportunity to give thanks for the magnificence of all other living things on this earth.
4. Stay In The moment. I’ve written about this in my book, Digging Deep: Unearthing Your Creative Roots Through Gardening. But I have discovered that when I am ‘gardening in the micro’ that it is easier for me to practice this discipline.
5. Play. Let go of expectations and perfectionism. And let the process of what you’re experiencing sink into your soul.