Thursday, April 19, 2012

The Garden as Inspiration

After years of living in an apartment only a block from Times Square, where bus fumes choked even the hardiest perennial, I finally live in a house with a yard.

While I may never find my Mowing Zen, and doubt I will ever stop swearing at the lawn mower when the choke doesn’t catch properly, the daily pleasures of having a garden and yard feel the creative soul.

I never planted tulips before. Last fall was my first batch -- and they’re all coming up! Tulips have long been a favorite flower of mine, and having my own, in the ground, makes me happy every time I look out of the window. I recognize plants I didn’t know existed three years ago, and I’m constantly discovering new things. I can fulfill my passion for lilacs and hollies, I’ve got a witch hazel tree that delights me, and I’ve got an eye on a Scotch broom.

How does this influence my writing?

Taking a cup of coffee out on the deck every morning, after my yoga/meditation practice, but before I write my first 1K of the day, gives me time to settle in the moment. I can sit outside, drink my coffee, enjoy what’s blooming, see what needs a bit of extra attention. I can also let my mind roam over the day’s writing -- sorting out plot tangles, worrying about character development, and come to the page with a clearer head.

I’m also more aware of the sensory details of garden -- the scent of fish fertilizer, the sound of birdsong (or woodpeckers busy at their task), the sensation of an aching back after hours of weeding, the feel of earth in my hands, the taste of a freshly-picked strawberry. I’m more aware of the weather, of the cycles, in general, more attentive. It makes me honor my stewardship duties of my home and community more intensely.

This then feeds into the descriptions to enrich the piece -- even if it doesn’t take place anywhere near the garden!

Whether it’s a pot of basil in the windowsill or a new azalea bush put in the ground, letting the garden inspire is enriching for both the creative and the practical sides of our souls!

--Annabel Aidan is a full-time writer publishing under a half a dozen names in fiction and non-fiction. Her paranormal romantic suspense, ASSUMPTION OF RIGHT, is available from Champagne Books. Visit her website,, and on Facebook.


Rosemary Gemmell said...

I'm so pleased you're getting to enjoy a garden, Annabel - it really is good for the soul, isn't it?

Anonymous said...

The idea for my novel VEIL OF DECEPTION occurred one m orning while sitting on my porch watching the sunrise and something happened right in front of me, so yeah, your surroundings can affect your muse.

Michael Davis (
Author of the Year (2008 and 2009)
Award of Excellence (2011)

Jude Johnson said...

Lovely to sit and enjoy one's surroundings, isn't it? Though we don't have much in the way of grassy lawns here in Tucson, I find it creatively stimulating to dig in the dirt and see what I can plant that will thrive. Glad you are enjoying some blossoming of your labors, Annabel.