View From The Glen

Monday, April 26, 2010

Gardening Your Words

It has been gorgeous weather and I'm spending much of my time in my vast gardens. It struck me as I raked and hoed and spaded and transplanted that spring gardening is very much like editing. It's the same basic steps.

  1. You start with a mess, a jumble of plants/words that you're pretty sure belong together.
  2. You go over it as a whole, raking off the excess leaves/descriptions to see what lies beneath, to reveal the bones of the garden/story
  3. You consider the plot. Does it work for what you intend?
  4. You do some judicious pruning of plants/words, cutting back where necessary.
  5. You look for gaps, and transplant with complementary plants to fill the gaps in without marring the lines of the garden.
  6. You look at form/structure, colour/description, variety/character, and location/setting, ensuring that everything works harmoniously together and nothing is forgotten or overlooked. Having a shade plant in full sun is the wrong setting, and it just won't work.
  7. You add compost or fertilizer to improve what is there, to make it stronger and to help your garden/story flourish.
  8. You take cuttings and surplus plants/plot elements and put them somewhere else. There will be a place to use them in another garden/story.
  9. You sit back and enjoy a job well done.


Leanne Haines said...

I am a terrible gardener. Absolutely pathetic! So I guess it is appropriate that I should buy I house with absolutely not one thing planted on the property besides grass. However, that it driving me crazy! I need some bushes and some flowers. Chris says not this year -- we have other places our money needs to go. But I'm sure I could create a pretty inexpensive bed in the front yard, with a couple of shrubs. Maybe a place I could plant some tulip bulbs this fall. But I will have to keep your invaluable advice in mind. If I think of gardening like editing, maybe I could actually become a decent gardener. That is assuming I really do know how to edit... And going by the length of this comment, maybe I don't...

Finola said...

I hate gardening too!
And I have never tried editing anything other than my own blog posts, but I still love your analogy :)