Garden Adjectives

Juli and I argue about the garden - It's one thing that is sure to spark an argument.  We have a garden guru / counselor / designer who has agreed to coach us lightly through a design process and our first assignment was to come up with five adjectives that describe how we want to feel in a garden.

I came up with the following not_five adjectives.  Sitting with this a while in draft form on the blog has given me the chance to define and distill them as well as to link associated or somewhat duplicative ideas (for example, Wonder and Appreciation came to be linked in my list, though they started out as separate adjectives).

When I first formulated the list, I had a tendency to fall into the trap of defining how I wanted the garden to be.  I found that a way to help guide the process in the right direction was to start each item with the phrase, "I want to be/feel _____".  The parts of the list that I couldn't phrase in such a way belong in a different list.  There were two such items on this list prior to its most recent revision, but there were more earlier. 

  1. I want to be Surprised and have my Curiosity Stimulated - I want to take a turn down a path and see something that is only visible from certain vantage points.  I want to have my curiosity stimulated to find out what's behind a gap in a hedge.  I want to have whimsical add-ins to the mulch, objects hidden among shrubs, funny or interesting or meaningful garden art.  I want to find unexpected pollinators buzzing about. I want to see something that makes me take a closer look and photograph the moment.  Blooms, bugs, birds, movement, hidden features, nooks.
  2. I want to feel a Sense of Discovery - This is linked to Surprise and Curiosity.  An example might be to discover ethnobotanic uses for a plant or to learn by experience what grows best and what garden practices help.  I think this is telling me that I want to garden rather than just be in the garden.
  3. I want to feel Wonder and Appreciation - I like to see unexpectedly heavy blooms, birds dive bombing among the plants, interdependence of one plant on another, flowers blooming in cracks
  4. I want to feel Joyful
  5. I want to feel Peaceful
  6. I want to feel Sheltered - There should be spots that cradle and surround
  7. I want to feel Restful - I want to be able to pull up a chair and rest while watching the garden move gently around me: in the breeze or with wildlife or to be still in the heat of the day.
  8. I want to feel Energized - Energy of others may be contagious.  If the garden is full of wildlife (I'm definitely counting insects here) and motion and the stored energy of newly emerging growth at the right times of year then I would find that energizing.
  9. I want people, pets, and wildlife to feel Nurtured - I guess this means that I'd like them to share the feelings that I've listed above. 
A related concept I found the on the web reads more like a bill of garden rights or a manifesto.  There's a high probability that it came from Mother Nature's Backyard.  I originally copied it as a group of well-formulated ideas, but I didn't keep track of where I found it nor if had I made modifications to it. 

We deserve shade, beauty, and places that call us to spend time outdoors.

Beautiful - Trees, shrubs, flowers, diversity, seasonal interest, natural.

Purposeful - Gardens that tell a story, you write the narrative.

Functional - Save water, provide habitat, recreate microenvironments and ecosystems.

Experiential - Invite people into the garden, paths, benches, garden art, feature plants.

Restorative - Healing places. Both the land and the visitors experience a new wellness. Ecologically sound.
Designed - Hodge-podge plant combinations are not pretty, regardless of why they were planted in the first place.

Things to avoid (I don't think we will have problems avoiding these)   
A bunch of random succulents and exotic grasses.
Extensive bare earth or gravel in the name of drought tolerance. 

Juli came up with these adjectives

Overwhelmed senses - sight, smell, sound.
A place to pause/sanctuary
Excitement - wonder

Seems like there's common purpose, doesn't there?

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