Humans seem fascinated, sometimes obsessed with change. In the name of change, humans embark on some fabulous, interesting, and some might say quite crazy behaviours.
I’ve just read “Maddadam’ by Margaret Atwood. Now she’s an author who’s terrific at imagining change. She takes our fantasies, our dreams of change and details them in dystopian comedy-dramas. “God’s Gardeners” in charge of the world. Hmm. Not so practical, it turns out. And that marvelous fantasy that males and females have – ‘if only we knew exactly when someone wanted to mate with us’ – that would save us so much time and heartache we think. It’s wonderful what Atwood does with that one. I won’t spoil it for potential readers, but it does involve spontaneous colour change of body parts.
And plants and animals change too in surprising, fascinating ways. Convergent evolution, where two unrelated species take on the characteristics of one another. Scientists suggest this may be explained by such things as shared climate which accounts for similar changes in both the species.
Then, Plant Chimeras, the shape shifters of the plant world are spontaneous mutations that create a bloom pattern called a pinwheel. This pattern is genetically unstable, but sometimes if you take a stem cutting, a plant with the same flower can be reproduced.
Or you could take a cutting from a variegated plant and see what happens. What fun, being the creator.
You could deliberately try to replicate nature’s changes. And perhaps you could also take an early morning garden walk and see what change has happened in your Garden, think about that change and how it relates to your life?
For isn’t our garden a projection of our dreams, fantasies, desires for change, desire for self-sufficiency, desire to control our environment or be at one with it.
Clare Marcus Cooper believes that our house is a mirror of our selves. Certainly a garden is an extension of that house.
A therapeutic gardener may ask you “what do you like in your garden? Why have you planted this? What do you like? What do you want to change? And in answering these questions, you will find some interesting questions and answers about your life. It’s Rainer Maria Rilke who says “we should try to love the questions themselves”, not only the answers.
Let’s see what my garden tells of. Last week I discover a delicate, yet at the same robust-looking trailing vine has mysteriously appeared under my papaw tree. Its bright green heart shaped leaves and clear white flowers surprise me, but I welcome it into my garden and wait to see what it will do. Will it blend with my garden amiably, will it fit nicely with my other plants? Will it need curtailing, or shall I be happy for it to twine its way among the slightly restrained experimental wildness that is my back garden. Time will tell.
And there’s a new dwarf zinnia, from Spring-scattered seeds, now a compact bush surprising me with many coloured flowers. Unlike the parent plant which, from memory, was pink. I think of Wally, now gone from this world, whose garden they came from. I think about him, wish I’d asked more questions, different questions. Changes like this often bring regrets. But also the chance to change the way we are, ask the questions while we can.
Twelve months ago, I put up a wire mesh frame so my outdoor sitting area could have a green wall to shade from summer afternoon sun. I chose to plant a honeysuckle vine, symbol of enduring love and loyalty in friendship and love. And now it’s lush and twining, fulfilling my imagination in planting it.
I placed a seat in my garden right in front of the wall of honeysuckle, for when I want to contemplate this vine and its meaning for me. What’s important in friendship, in loveship. What things help friendship stay through life’s changes.
And what of my cute, maintained front garden? I had to take out the pepper scented geranium, it just wasn’t suited. Which left a space for something…..What a change in my garden two Flamingos make!
How else can the garden help us change? As Sarah, fellow blog-hopper of the Health and Happiness Collective quoted in her blog the Wellness Ninja “when you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.’ If work weighs you down, would a bunch of flowers on your desk help you and others change the way you look at situations? Would humming a song, my favourite for such occasions “Blue Skies,’ not only cheer you up, but confuse those workplace bullies? Would buying a new house plant while on your lunch break help your mood?
Perhaps planning to get your garden project moving along would give you a new outlook, get you in touch with what’s important for you. With what your dreams and desires are.
Would starting your day with a short garden walk help you change the way you look at things? Would planting a passion fruit vine be what you need?
Not such crazy ideas for change, I think. What about wearing a green wig? A little shape shifting? Oh maybe that’s going a little too far.. but then again maybe not…….is seeing the world from another perspective, shape shifting our brains?