Drawing Lines (In the landscape)

I learned of the bombings in our dear Boston while in the airport yesterday.  We were thankfully flying out of the nearby Manchester, NH airport en route to Southern California for a little R&R, family time and a sprinkling of work.

I am in shock as I expect most of you are too.  But even before yesterday’s tragic events, I have been feeling a bit overwhelmed by all the issues and news recently.  For some reason it seems like more than any other time in my life, I need to pay attention; to stand up and take action for the things I believe in.  Newtown was not only physically close to home, but being the mother of a first grader, I have mentally gone there nearly every day since.  Gun control issues need my attention, food resources and my community need my attention, equal rights need my attention, women’s health and women’s issues need my attention and then there is the nuttiness beyond my comprehension of international affairs.   These issues and the drama and trauma that they bring to my life seems to be constantly moving closer and closer to my sacred place, my comfort zone, my home.  Yesterday it all got a little closer.

Edging in Margaret Roach's Garden via www.pithandvigor.com

This year, for the first time in my current garden, I have spent the spring wielding the half-moon edger like never before.  It is an interesting thing to edge out your garden beds when you previously hadn’t.  The whole feel of the garden changes.  It goes from something more natural and wild and uncontrolled to something that feels much more managed and manipulated and organized.   A few years ago I cared less about this type of detail in my personal landscape.  But lately I want nothing more.  These newly made and strict lines are comforting me and I am prioritizing the activity of line drawing not because I’m planning an open garden event that makes me more occupied with aesthetics but because I find making them meditative, and living with them soothing.

Exerting control over our environment is at the core of creating a garden.  Exerting control over our thoughts is the root of a mindfulness that allows us to cope with stress and anxiety.  I am quite certain that there is a link between my often overwhelming concern for the events of the day and the comfort I am getting from being more assertive with the shapes and borders of my garden beds.

So while I am going to enjoy the sun, and the water, and the attractions, I also can’t wait to get home and stake out a few more lines in the dirt.  I can’t help it….this type of gardening comforts me right now, and helps me to breathe a little easier.  Those lines are satisfying as I come up the driveway and I kinda need them.

In writing my book, I am mentally noting all the types of gardens and the styles that wouldn’t have strictly carved lines of any sort.  Bohemian gardens, naturalistic meadows, and maybe even an abundant cottage garden are just a few.   I love all these styles and I wonder if I will get back to a place where I enjoy the letting go a bit more than I do in this moment?

images : Top:  The lined garden – Margaret Roach’s garden – read here about her (similar) obsession with edging

Bottom: The ‘Letting Go’ garden –  Christy Ten Eyck’s personal home garden. Soft and sharp and mostly line free.  from David Cristiani’s Blog, the Desert Edge


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2 Responses to Drawing Lines (In the landscape)

  1. Dear Rochelle.

    What a beautiful and honest post. It makes me silent but also hopeful. As a new garden owner my hope is exactly as you write – that it will help me to find order and to calm down so I get more resources to cope with the very real world.

    Thank you.

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