Be A Guardian, Not A Gardener

By Linda Wiggen Kraft

These were the words in a recent Instagram post by my favorite garden designer, Mary Reynolds of Ireland. Mary was the youngest person ever, age 28, to win a gold medal at the Chelsea Flower Show in London*. Her garden made of Irish soil, rabbit droppings, trees, stones and meadow plants was full of the wild force and beauty of nature. People wept after visiting it because it reminded them of the power and connection to nature they knew as children in landscapes not often seen or experienced anymore. Mary listened, and listens to the land and works with it, not against it, as a guardian not a gardener.

Mary’s Instagram post went on to say, “Maybe we should stop calling it nature and begin to call it our extended body? Because that is exactly what it is…all of it.

The trees are our lungs, the rivers and streams our blood and veins. The seas are our emotions. The soil is our skin and bones…”

Mary goes on to list some of the ways we desecrate nature. She continues, ”Listen to your land. Love it. Get to know it. Embrace it into your heart as part of yourself, as part of your family. Only pour things on its skin that you would happily touch with your own skin. Ask what does the land want to become?”

These wise words are from a guardian and a world famous gardener. Listening as a guardian to the land and working with it brings about a much deeper relationship. Our relationship to our gardens and land becomes closer. We are parent, sibling and co-creator with Mother Earth when we listen. A garden that Mary designed for Kew Gardens in London was the embodiment of listening to and into the land. A path lead people to a larger than life mound shaped like a sleeping woman, Mother Earth. The path ended at her ear, where people were encouraged to whisper their dreams into her ear. This planted the energy of those dreams into the heart’s ear of Mother Earth where those dreams could germinate and grow.

A way we can listen and plant our dreams into Mother Earth and develop that closeness is to open our hearts to the living essence of all parts of the garden, animate and inanimate. Try spending time sitting quietly in your garden, and listen with open heart and body.

Feel a warmth of heart expanding to cover and enter into all the land of your property. Listen with your heart’s ears. You won’t hear words back, but can receive the wild force and beauty of nature into your heart. In silence, or a whisper, speak your dreams into the heart of Mother Earth, let them enter into your land where they can germinate and grow.

*Mary Reynolds at age 28, in 2002, won a gold medal in the World’s most prestigious garden design show, Chelsea Flower Show in London. She competed against Prince Charles and won top prize. The amazing true story of how she with no money, prestige, or famous name got into this show, pulled it all together and won was made into a movie titled Dare to be Wild. It is available on Netflix.

Mary wrote my favorite garden book titled The Garden Awakening. It became an instant best seller in England in 2016. It is available this side of the pond. Her website is: www.MaryMary.ie and her Instagram is: WildMaryMary.

Linda Wiggen Kraft is a landscape designer who creates holistic and organic gardens. She is also a mandala artist and creativity workshop leader. For more information please visit her blog: www.CreativityForTheSoul.com/blog or her website: www.CreativityForTheSoul.com. Call her at (314) 504-4266.