Monday, 9 June 2008

Looking Over The Garden Wall

I once took a test to see whether I used the right or left side of my brain, as an added extra the test told me that I am more visual than auditory.
I'm not sure how scientific it was, but it did make a certain amount of sense.

When I pick up a gardening book, most times I very casually skim read the text, preferring to absorb the pictures instead. This has always seemed the right way to approach the honing of my landscaping skills. Gardens are after all primarily a visual experience.

I've also always believed, that like plants and their ability to absorb water and nutrients, my natural ability to learn relies quite heavily on osmosis.
The absorbing of ideas through my eyes has been how I have learned most of what I know. I quickly get impatient with words, preferring to get to the real thing as fast as possible.
I would often look at planting, texture or colour combinations, and decide whether I liked them or not, and why.

I do believe that this is the best way to begin the learning experience as a landscaper. I think its the ideal foundation to lay to make your understanding of gardens as real and honest as possible.

But lately I have found myself drawn to words far more than I ever have in the past. Maybe its the influence of reading so many interesting thoughts in gardening blogs from people all over the world. Maybe its the act of writing this blog, and the discipline of having to put my thoughts down on paper.
It might also be the realisation that while pictures express so much to me, they may not be enough to try to communicate concepts or needs or reasons behind. And it is dawning on me that gardening as an Art, Science, Hobby, Language or even Need, has so much further to go in being accessible to people in general.

We have such a rich heritage and history as gardeners, that it is easy to look at the art of gardening as complete or mature. If I look back at history, and the growth and development of gardens, I could quite naturally compare it to an old man - wise, experienced and learned, but with little space left for new ideas or experimentation. All the ideas are already thought of, with any freshness coming from re-hashing old concepts.



But I keep getting a flash of the truth: that if we choose to look past what we have learnt, and know already, and up over the garden wall, there is a whole world of new ideas beyond.
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