The Wabi Sabi of a Summer Garden

Wabi Sabi Sunflower

By Linda Wiggen Kraft, Healthy Planet Green & Growing Editor

My gardens seem loveliest at this time of year, in a wabi sabi kind of way. The Japanese term “wabi sabi” is defined as “a world view centered on the acceptance of transience and imperfection. The aesthetic is sometimes described as one of appreciating beauty that is ‘imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete’ in nature.”* Despite the sweaty heat and ravages of this summer, the gardens are beautiful in their imperfect way. 

All the garden work that could be done for this growing season is mostly over, and that which never got done will have to wait. The garden is not “perfect” in the sense of how it looks. There are the signs of neglect and the nature’s own ways. The plants that didn’t grow as hoped, but are still alive have their own way of growing that can be admired for what is. The hole where the plant that didn’t make it shows a space for next year’s planting, a reminder of the impermanence of life. The gardens are on their own. All I can do is sit back, do some weeding, and enjoy. I love the wabi sabiness of nature as it is a reminder to let go of my expectations and accept what is. I feel more present and in-the-moment when I am in the garden at this time of year than at any other time. I can take the time to be open and aware of all that is happening and not feel like more needs to be done. 

The roses are blooming again after the assault of Japanese beetles. The hydrangea paniculata hangs heavy with white blossoms ready to turn pink and green. The tall phlox have been blooming for at least a month. The perennial small pale blue aster like daisies of kalimeris incisa are still blooming. The hummingbird favorite, black and blue salvia with deep blue tubular flowers, lures the birds to its nectar. The five-foot tall self-sowing flowering tobacco, nicotiana sylvestris, has seeded itself here and there spilling its fragrance into the night air. The scents of rosemary, fennel and basil fill the vegetable garden. The air is also filled with the dance of monarchs, swallowtail butterflies and bees. The sounds of cicadas are a night serenade. The goldfinches descend from their hiding spots to eat the browned seeds of echinacea and sunflowers.

I stand in wonder in the early morning before the heat returns. I watch and listen and feel grateful to be part of this diverse amazing creation. My little plot of city land calls to the life that longs to live here. I hear this calling in my heart and each cell of my being. It comes deep from the earth, originating there but also reflecting back something from the heavens. It feels like a current that circles through me. I am not the only one sensing it. The plants, animals and even stones resonate with this calling and answer with their own response. This response is a silent essence that goes beyond the ears. It is a subtle garden song. It speaks through the heart and can only be heard when one is very quiet and still. It takes time to hear and feel it. But it is there. Always.

*from Wikipedia

Linda Wiggen Kraft is a landscape designer who creates holistic and organic gardens. She is also an artist and creativity workshop leader. Here next Creativity & Mandala workshop is Oct 22. Find out more, subscribe to her blog and Instagram at www.CreativityForTheSoul.com, Call her at 314 504-4266