Gardening, yes gardening, can be good for writers

lawn mowerLiving in the UK I think I’m lucky to have the benefit of such notably different seasons.  And yes, I admit when it comes to the end of February I can feel a bit miserable with the British climate.  But even then I know (without whishing the year away) in a few months that will all change, even if it seems at times in April and May the weather is trying to take us back to winter.  But nature is adamant that spring and summer will break through.  So I love those first signs of green in the hedgerows and in the garden all those plants that have lain dormant reappearing, or at least most of them.  The spikes of the hostas, the shoots of all the perenial herbaceous species which sometimes have me desperately trying to remember what new plants I invested in last year and is that one of them or a weed.

However, by the end of May and beginning of June the sun is warm enough that I don’t need a jumper, I can put on a pair of shorts (well at least some of the time) and watch the changes in the garden that seem to happen on an almost daily basis.  Growth is unstoppable and fresh, vibrant colours are appearing everywhere.  I admit I’m a bit of a sucker for yellow, reds and oranges in flowers.  There is of course work to be done, which is where the therapy comes in.  Cutting the grass, tidying the edges of the lawn, the dreaded weeding can all be done somewhat on autopilot, unless of course I’m still trying to figure out if something is a weed or not (and I have been known to get wrong, both ways).  As a writer I find that precious time.  You can smell the soil, get your hands dirty and feel the vitality around you.  It’s like my brain soaks it all in and that together with the warmth and sunshine affects my writing, making it more optimistic.

Also while I’m out there doing those repetitive physical tasks at least part of mind is free to wander unhindered.  The imagination gets a chance to express itself, which for a writer means new stories, plots and other ideas for current stories.  The idea for this blog, naturally, came from a Sunday morning gardening session.

Then as a science fiction writer I wonder if we will always cherish gardens.  I hope so, even with the population growth and space being limited we will need those oasis of calm beauty to sustain us, won’t we?  Even if they are communal gardens rather than individual ones.  And then when we do settle other worlds, even if again space, soil and water are precious commodities we will spare Me gardenjust a little to grow the things that make us smile and remind us of home.

Finally as well as all this thinking there is, of course, hopefully, when the work is done, just a little time to enjoy the results of that work.  To sit and soak it all in, have a cup of tea, read a book, or whatever.  So get out there, tend a few plants.  No matter how small the space, it will bring its own rewards.

As always views and comments are welcome.

Ian Martyn

Author: Ian Martyn

Science Fiction Writer

2 thoughts on “Gardening, yes gardening, can be good for writers”

  1. I hear echoes of my own life here – particularly trying to remember what I planted last year, and is that a weed or a plant?
    I came across a great piece on gardening in an article by prolific fantasy author Robin Hobb, and although I don’t recall the exact wording, the gist of it was that she does all her writing while gardening; the keyboard is just the place she works.

    1. My wife will say ‘has x that we planted last year come up yet.’ I answer ‘no’ and then have to think hard. I’ve read a lot of Robin Hobbs books, it’s not bad philosophy.

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