Last weekend I went to several local open gardens (The Arbours-Kallista; Taylor Garden - Emerald; Kirkcaldy-Kallista) - gardening is one of my other vices. Love the chance to wander around to see what other people have done, what plants they grow, how they grow them and of course I take my camera and come away with ideas.

I want one of these .... doesn't every garden need some mosaic in it?
and then I want to build one of these arches----laburnum hanging down in yellow cascades...truly stunning.

I came away very inspired, took notes, drew a few rough sketches BUT then reality can't do any of this without working on the foundations.

We need to build paths, some sort of paved area, or even several paved areas, and we need a retaining wall of some description. All the boring hard scape before we can be truly creative and begin the 'fun' stuff.

It is so much like writing. It is one thing to have an idea...I want to write a poem about water. What about it?

What will be the structure of the poem?
Is a poem the ideal vehicle for the idea?
How do I want it to feel?
To sound?
What do I want to say about water? Or is water a tool I want to use to offer up some emotion or event?

And before I even begin to write this poem I had to have some knowledge before hand. Have to have the foundations already sourced.

It is a cliche but you do have to know the rules before you can break them.  Spelling and grammar are the concrete. The core to any scape. Then you can work from there.

Dig the bed, get the soil right, add those wonderful metal sculptures...that is the foundation. Then the plantings. then the fun part of playing with texture and colour and flower and shape.

Learn the basics, get your foundation set....then work from there.

Writing is often organic...before you know it something has grown, taken over, some work will need to be pruned, harshly, others if left alone will become something you had never really thought of.

So before I plant a bed as glorious as this- I need to dig it, prepare the soil, do my homework and find out what plants they are, find where I can buy them, see if they are right for the position....then and only then does the fun begin.

Gardening is a lot more instant gratification than writing. There is a lot of hard work but the results can be seen virtually right away- even dug over soil means you've done something.

Looking at a poem you've redrafted four times, with only one or two word changes - a short story you've edited three times - even a novel that you have taken apart two times and are now slowly putting back together....these are harder to see the work involved.

But hopefully they too will flourish...become something as interesting and vital. If not as colourful.


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