When I was five years old and received my first box of crayons in kindergarten (a set of the primary and secondary colors of the rainbow) my senses were awakened to the magic of color.
Then when I was ten, I somehow acquired a packet of zinnia seeds in mixed colors. I planted them just off my front porch. These were the first seeds that I ever planted. As fate would have it, the soil was good and the sun ample, and these large, colorful blooms delighted me.
Ever since, painting, drawing, crafts and growing flowers were my creative outlets. I love creating with color, it nourishes my soul and calms my spirit during uncertain times.
The flower garden is the canvas I love the best, perhaps because it is a living, co-creative process. I can choose the kinds of seeds and plants I will cultivate and where I will plant them, depending on their size, shape, color, texture and sun and water preferences. However, I cannot control the weather and other mysterious factors that play a significant role in a plant’s ultimate growth and expression. Some years lilacs proliferate, other years it’s the cleome that thrive. Every year is different.
Sometimes, plants show up where I did not plant them, their seeds arriving by birds or compost or some other unknown way. These surprises of weather and chance delight me, I experience them as gifts. I like that I am not ultimately in control (and don’t need to be) in the garden. I get to work with the plant devas* and nature spirits* to co-create something beyond myself that nourishes me deeply. Perhaps it is this involvement with the unseen other that makes me feel so happy in my garden. When I gaze on the color and form of the flowers around me I feel at peace, settled in my soul, at one with Nature, and a part of something greater than myself.
by Shelley Goguen Hulbert
*Two books about plant devas and nature spirits that I read as a young adult that impact my perceptions and work in the garden are: Behaving as if the God in All Life Mattered by Machaelle Small Wright and To Hear the Angels Sing by Dorothy Maclean.