December’s descent into darkness has begun. The chaos of wind and chill and rain bring disorder and death in the garden. And of death, while we await, begets rebirth. Surely the gardening life places us privy to the many secrets of the cycles of endings begetting beginnings and our existence in between. These cycles play themselves out many times in the garden, and as we gardeners partake in these cycles each season, we observe and participate in the unification of being and not being, infinite and finite. It is a participation in the “holy,” this dance we follow.
January particularly triggers recognition of this unity dance of juxtaposition, as we remain still in darkness, yet yearn for new beginnings. It is the topic of ancient myths, death begetting birth, and indeed, death sustaining life. And as one considers deeply, we begin to see that these ancient myths silently guide our modern lives. Lately it has frequently filled my mind, this deep connection of garden and myth. Myths, rituals, and archetypes are quietly yet poignantly present in each design I create. As I delve into the understanding of this deep connection between the garden and myth, it is my intention to invite the further participation of my friends and clients. The garden is so much more than a pretty place to plant flowers, grow a lawn, and invite friends for lunch. I’ve observed this over and over as I watch my clients’ interactions with their new gardens, and as I have experienced with the creation of (and loss of) my own garden. Connections grow deep…
Jennifer Heath, in her book “The Echoing Green,” understands this connection. She proclaims, “Gardens and myths are companions, twin visions that touch the same desire for transcendence. Gardening and storytelling are both acts of love, veneration, and imagination.”
And so, too, a little death has taken place for me; I observe as I look back on the turbulence of the recently passing years. As I find rebirth, it is this companionship of the garden and myth which allows us a homecoming and a striving for transcendence, to which I turn and to which I offer my clients. I wish to you all a rebirth in this new year.