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for a well gardened mind.
I’m sitting in the garden. It’s another sunny day. Eos has headed back inside at a speed that suggests she was too hot. Atlas is hiding in the garden somewhere. We forget he was outside last night and it wasn’t until he started demand barking to be let back in that we realised. He can be subtle when he wants to be. Under the peach tree is a meddly of plants. I started off with a plan and carefully planted a number of seedlings which the dogs then (namely the little one) decided to dig up. I planted more seedlings. Same thing. I planted anything that was left over when other flower beds where full and now I look at see a mix of loveliness. Dahlias with bright pink single blooms which have bumble bees foraging. The sweet pea that is the bane of my life. A few cornflowers and some echium. It is a mass of flowers tangled in amongst the overgrown lawn and the odd weeds. It is messy but it weirdly has a magical harmony that occurs in nature when you stop planning and just let it be.
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As part of my research for “my work in progress art book with no name yet”, I’m reading old books again. One of my re reads is Sue Smith Stuart “ The Well Gardened Mind”. In this wonderful book she talks of a harmony one feels in a natural space and how it helps soothes. The idea that our gardens are a place that soothes us is, I am sure, one we all know and agree with. I am having a soothing moment now as I write this in the garden, appreciating a sunny day, knowing full well they will start to become fewer as we move towards Autumn. Atlas just wandered out of the bushes to say hello and he has slopped off to another corner of the garden. It is all very peaceful. As I sit here I realise I haven’t spent much time amongst the flowers and soil of late. The reason? My time in the garden is not often as soothing as it is at the moment. Of late I have found when I’m in the garden I hear noise from builders down the road or from the builders over the fence. Banging and driflling and so forth. All this noise has seems to shatter the sanctury of my garden space and I’ve found myself retreat inside until there work day is done, returning outside again later in the day or like today appreciating that fact that they are not working.
Another sentence of “ Well Gardened Mind” read, another thought realised. This time the thoughts are about family and land and how so many generations ago we were more country dwellers than city. This is idea leads me to think back to my ancestors, well the ones I know of, and I realise I am the first in a long line that has grown up in town and then lived in a city. My first Nana to set foot on New Zealand soil back in 1840 was the first of a number of Nana’s to farm land in New Zealand. I realise that I am the first in 5 generations to not live on a farm and wonder if my hankering to move to the country is some ancestral longing to return to what was known for generations as a way to work.
Substack is a space about community which is one of the reasons I like it here so much. There is the community that I create by sharing my world and words with you but there is also the communities that I become part of by signing up to other folks newsletters. One of the newsletters that I greatly enjoy is Field and Nest . Emma writes about her garden in rural England, her work as a freelancer and makes some excellent book reviews. If you think this is something that you might like to read then email me and I will send you a gift subscription of one month to her paid newsletter. I have limited number so don’t delay email me today.
One of my favourite things is to play with an app called Snapseed. It is what I use to create my double exposure photos. As part of my paid subcription you can watch a short video which explains how I created this image. If you are an unpaid subscriber then simply upgrade your subscription for access. I hope you find it inspiring and perhaps amusing - there is a guest apparence by Atlas the Airedale.