Search

Rooting, Growing, Blooming: Essential Lessons From Plants and Gardening That Can Change Your Life

1. Gardening mirrors the path of life

I often reflect on these 3 words: rooting, growing, blooming – noticing how the journey of a plant beautifully mirrors my own life path.


Rooting: If you've ever experienced feeling lost, unsure, stuck, overwhelmed - you may have found that finding a sense of rooting really helped. This feeling of grounding, connection to the earth can really help to find more balance, clarity and calm. A valuable life lesson I have experienced on numerous occasions. I've suffered with anxiety and depression, and connecting physically with plants always helps to bring me back to myself. More recently I observed that physically planting a plant in the ground or sowing seeds greatly enhances this feeling of grounding, safety, rootedness. There's something about physically planting into the earth, touching it, connecting with it, that is really quite magical medicine for the soul.


Growing: My healing journey started 5 years ago. In the beginning much of this was around finding a sense of safety and grounding. In more recent years as I've began to establish my roots, I've moved into a phase of growing - finding strength, nourishing myself, understanding self-care, gaining more resilience, riding the storms and downpours. With solid foundations (roots), I could then start finding my way to the surface.


Blooming: I've recently moved into a blooming phase – slowly finding courage, confidence to fully and unapologetically show myself to the world! My rooting and growing practices are still essential, but now I'm learning to start coming more out into the world and sharing all I have to offer. Just like plants, we can all spend different amounts of time growing before blooming, and maybe we will bloom, then grow stronger, then bloom even bigger and bolder. Sometimes if we go through a trauma and our roots become dislodged, we need to go back to establishing our foundations again. It's a beautiful mirror of life, and I feel very thankful for Mother Nature for so beautifully showing us this.


2. Start somewhere, even if you can’t see the end

I recently completed some garden works and there was an element of ‘finishing’ my garden design (although in truth it’s never really finished – more on that later!) Although it looks great and is totally transformed, it’s taken more than 2 and a half years to get there, and I never had a grand plan or overall vision. I did little bit by little bit – one thing at a time following various ideas – some grass, a little pond, a bathing area, a greenhouse… and gradually, gradually, after following those things I loved creating, it all pieced together. I think this is often how we’re called to live. We want change, we want transformation, something different. A new career perhaps. A different lifestyle. But we can’t see the end – what that looks like, what the end goal or vision is. Often because of this we don’t start something – we like to know how it’s all going to pan out. But this is a key thing the garden has taught me – just start. I had to take small steps to create a big change. And it took time. And there were bumps along the way. And I didn’t know how it was going to turn out. I often hear we need to navigate our path in the fog – we can’t know where we are going, we just need to follow each step, one at a time, as we feel called, following what lights us up. And trust that eventually the bigger picture will become clear.


3. Patience, ‘perfection’ and letting go

To get to where my garden is today has taken patience. As well as not being afraid to have a go, I’ve had to find a sense of surrender and flow. It takes time for plants to establish, to learn what works, to create and maintain a garden. And in the process I’ve been reminded to let go and be patient. This year I planted maybe 25 sunflower seeds, had around 20 seedlings, 15 plants, and only 3 that made it to flowering! I learnt some spots were too shady, too windy, too hot – and mostly that slugs love them! But I viewed it all as a beautiful lesson and experiment. It taught me its ok to try things – and get them wrong! It showed me to let go of that image of having 25 ‘perfectly formed’ sunflowers dotted around the garden, and to just embrace and go with the flow, learning for next time. Plants, humans, life – aren’t perfect, we’re all beautifully messy, chaotic, non-linear, flowy.


4. Its ok to always be learning

I learnt so much from just trying to grow sunflowers – can you imagine all the other learning that is constantly happening in the garden – plant names, what they like/don’t like, how to grow different seeds, how to prune and care for plants… It’s never ending – and such is one of the beauties and blessings of gardening! It’s so exciting to always be learning something new, always discovering. Much like life, I find so much joy in always learning, growing, expanding. I will always be a lifelong learner, and this to me is one of the greatest riches of life.


5. Have fun, get creative – and remember to rest

Gardening brings me great joy – it’s fun (and mind-blowing) to see things grow – from literally a tiny seed or bulb! But what’s also really important to me about gardening is that enables me to be creative. I love to design and create beautiful space, and gardening is such a wonderful creative outlet. From planning the planting for a flowerbed to creating an outdoor bathing area! When I’m in the garden, it reminds me of the importance and value of these two things – fun and creativity. Life can get so busy with doing, achieving – quite a masculine, productive energy and way of being. When I’m in the garden I can return to a more feminine flow. And in this flow, I am also reminded to find rest. It can become easy to be drawn into a doing momentum – so as well as playing and creating, it’s also a great place to sit back and enjoy your creation – I love eating al-fresco at any given opportunity, soaking in my bath, or lounging in my hammock with a book!


6. Things are always changing and evolving - nothing is forever

I used to find autumn and winter in England a real struggle. Everything becomes more inwards – darker, colder, and the plants mostly bare, dormant, waiting for the next season. But in more recent years I’ve come to embrace and admire this transition of the seasons. It’s such a huge lesson in non-attachment, releasing, letting be, admiring change. As the plants begin to die back, leaves are shed, flowers drop off – I try to remember to celebrate what was and the beauty they provided, rather than mourn their ending. And then, just like magic - spring eventually returns, and somehow through the barren earth, life begins to arrive again – it never fails to amaze me! Through the seasons, through the weather, year to year, the garden is in a constant state of change. Flowers come and go, beds transform from empty to full to overgrown. Petals fall, leaves shed. It’s never permanent. And waking up each morning and heading out first thing to see how it’s looking is such a delight. This has been a big personal lesson for me – learning to flow and embrace the waves and constant change of life. Finding release and acceptance that nothing is forever and everything is always subject to change. And just like the plants and the garden, we are always evolving and transforming as we too navigate life.


7. Become present, notice the beauty, and feel the gratitude

With constant change, I’ve learnt to stop and be present in the garden as much as I can. Stopping to notice and admire – growth, buds, blooms. This year I had great joy taking a moment each day to appreciate a magnolia tree. It was gifted to me the previous year but didn’t flower. This year it seemed to enjoy its new spot and I took great delight gradually seeing new leaves unfurl, tiny miraculous fury buds begin to appear, waiting in anticipation as these grew bigger and bigger and slowly slowly began to open up in all their beauty. Not only does this completely fill my heart with love, its also a great way to disconnect from the busy-ness of the day – finding presence, becoming mindful, slowing down – and feeling such a deep gratitude within. As I look around the garden and notice all the magnificent blooms, it also reminds me that beauty really does come in all shapes and sizes. Just like flowers, we are all the same, all one, but different – another great beauty of life.

8. Nurture and love – care for that which gives you life Plants and gardening give us so much. Joy, connection, growth, learning, exercise, food, beauty, creativity, fun, grounding, healing, life… and I believe we need to respect, honour and show love and gratitude for that. We need to nurture and love our outdoor spaces, as they do for us. It’s a 2-way relationship and we can’t continually take without putting anything in. Collecting seeds to re-scatter, providing compost and nutrition for the soil, having wild areas for bees and insects. Just like the planet on a global scale, we need to respect and act with a sustainable and loving mindset and heart. I wouldn’t have a beautiful garden if I didn’t love and respect it, and similarly, the state of our beautiful planet is suffering as our love, understanding and connection to it weakens. The plants nurture and love us, so we should nurture and love them too. Nature doesn’t belong to us, it isn’t ours to control. It’s there to enjoy and be a part of – and in the process we need to give it lots of love and look after it!


9. There is no end

A gardener’s ‘work’ is never done. This is one of my favourite things about gardening! There is no end, it is never finished. I will always find so much joy for pottering, tweaking, changing, redesigning, sowing new seeds, growing new plants, moving things about, making mistakes and learning, following new ideas, using the space differently, weeding, pruning… Just like life, there is always so much going on, so much requiring our attention. We’re always learning, experiencing, living. Just like a garden, our personal ‘work’ or purpose in life is ongoing. Lessons, healing, ideas, adventures – there’s always more to experience and enjoy.


10.Life is a miracle! I often stop and peer into the depths of a flower and just think – wow, how is that even possible?! The tiny details, the vast range of species, all so different, so complex, so intricate and beautiful. From the tiniest of seeds into a seedling, a plant, a shrub, a tree, a flower. The magic of it blows my mind! And similarly if we stop to consider ourselves as human beings – all our intricacies, our diversity – formed from microscopic beginnings! If this isn’t a miracle, I’m not sure what is!



Written for Seychelles Nation, published here August 2021.



5 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All