Breathing In


All the gardening tools have been packed away. All the mistakes, all the glories of this summer are now done.

Minnesota’s long, cold months of winter have their own benefits, though. Now there is an abundance of time to weave a new narrative for next year’s garden.

Now, it’s dreamtime.

There’s time to curl up with all the gardening magazines that piled up, unread, during the hectic summer months. Now is the time to create collages full of color and emotion, a process from which practicality must be banned. Dreams are meant to be intense and inspired. I refuse small and careful! Dreams must be big and gloriously impractical. There’s plenty of time to whittle them down, to refine them into A Plan.

First, you must dream.

Gardening inspiration for me is often the search for voice. I’m seeking a garden tone to cradle me through the next summer. Someone who encourages, commiserates or adjures me to try harder or see the world differently is what I seek. Inspiration literally means to breathe in. So during winter I try to breathe as deeply as possible. I re-oxygenate my creative blood with word and images that excite me with what might be possible.  Sometimes a spectacular image from an exotic (to me) part of the world gives me that emotional hit I’m looking for.                                                                     bigstock-Provence-South-Of-France-35939932

Like this.  No, I don’t live in Provence. But what’s so arresting here is the heavy punch of color against the creamy stone. Something I can emulate. Strong vertical interest exploding out a small space is another element I love. Lushness against a stark background is another third contrast that appeals to me deeply in this shot.  How can I achieve that same emotional effect in a midwestern garden? What materials and plants would give me that punch? I pull out my favorite plant lists and sketchpad. Time to play.

It’s dreamtime here in Minnesota . . . how about where you live?

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