Gardening is a creative venture in and of itself, but when you add other creative modes to the mix, it can have amazing results. Here are two ways to extend creativity from the garden into other types of work:
Photographing your garden is a great way to not only stretch your creative muscles, but also document your progress along the way, even down to serving it up on the plate! Here are a few ways to use your camera and trowel together for a great project:
Photograph your progress from the very beginning
You don’t have to wait for your plants to bloom before you get out the camera! Take photos not only when shopping at the nursery for your new plants and types of seeds, take photos of the garden setup so you remember where it all started (and you remember everything you planted!). There’s nothing like a great before-and-after comparison to show you how much progress you’ve made.
Use the lens to capture what’s working
Take photos of your new blooms as they start to grow. As the growing continues, keep taking photos regularly so you can document their progress. This will also help you look back on which plants really took off, and which ones never fully took root; this can teach you important lessons about what works for your climate and your garden setup.
Experiment with different light and times of day
If your garden is outdoors, you’ll likely get the best shots when it’s overcast. But especially in your own garden, you can experiment with different types of light and times of day to see what works best for different types of plant. If your garden is indoors, try to find a time when the plants are well-lit, but not so bright that the colors are washed out. (And pay attention to the shadows! They can either be a cool addition to the photo, or a distraction, depending on the size and position of the shadow.)
Don’t forget to shoot the off-season
For those beautiful fall and winter gardens, even if it’s too cold for certain plants to grow, get out the camera and see what inspiration you can draw from your surroundings. The brightly colored lettuce leaves against the ice or snow-covered ground and icicles hanging from bushes can make for great images, too!
Journaling is another great way to process your creative energy from the garden, and keep track of your progress along the way. Here are some suggestions for getting started with your garden journal:
Use gardening to build a strong journaling routine
Getting into the habit of journaling is often the hardest part! Use your garden projects as a way to get into the habit. Set a reminder to document your updates every few days, until you get into the habit and don’t need a reminder anymore.
Keep a journal of plants you are trying to grow
Learn from your successes and failures in the garden by journaling. By keeping a record of where and when it was planted, how it progressed over the following weeks/months, and whether or not it bloomed as expected, you’ll know whether or not to try the same approach next time. And if you combine a journal with photos along the way, it will be even easier to keep track.
Go deeper by journaling about your mood and reactions to gardening
Once you’re in the habit of journaling about your garden projects, go deeper! Ask yourself things like:
- What kind of emotions — excitement, joy, hopefulness, disappointment, impatience — do you experience in the garden?
- What new smell or color stuck out to you?
- What was the most interesting plant you saw in someone else’s garden?
- What plants do you remember loving as a child?
- What would be the best fruit or vegetable to grow in your garden that you haven’t tried?
Talk to other gardeners in your life
Talk to the people you know with green thumbs, and learn from their experience! They’ll have plenty of advice on where to start and lessons they learned along the way. Jot down some notes on what you learn from them, and see how they can apply to your own garden and gardening routine.
Enjoying the fruits of your labor (literally!)
It’s always fun to have a pretty handmade woven basket to harvest your garden.
Gardening is a great way to connect with nature, engage your senses, and find inspiration in everyday life. Just like art, gardening requires patience and openness, and it can help you connect to the world around you. Growing fruits, vegetables, and herbs is a great way to explore nature, eat local, and reap the rewards of your time and effort. And flowers and other greenery helps brighten the environment, lift your mood, and inspire more creative thought.
Gardening — and the creative inspiration it brings — can happen anywhere, so keep an open mind! Maintaining a few indoor plants in a city apartment can be creatively fulfilling, just like an outdoor garden.
Take a look at my nature photos to see how nature can inspire your next creative project!