Why Accepting The Rhythm of Nature Can Bring Joy To Your Life

– Posted in: Garden Design, Garden Musings

Gardeners strive for beauty.

We work endless hours, season after season, and year after year. Designing, planting, and tending to our gardens. With the  hope that we can capture some moments of perfection.

Moments where we sigh and experience a sense of ‘something other’ than our regular state of being.

Where the exquisiteness overwhelms us.

purple pink roses up close-53106

But if we limit our perception of what constitutes beauty, we close down to the possibility of what might be.

Look at what our culture teaches us.

Women are told from the time we’re young that we can cover imperfections with the right make up and clothes. As we grow older, we work hard to look younger. We’re rarely satisfied.

Our gardens are no different. We have a pre-conceived notion of what we want them to be. I understand why.

After all, who doesn’t love the first flush of sweeping bulbs in early spring?

meadow in spring

Our May and June gardens, filled with peonies, irises, roses, and alliums, grab our heart.

top bed-spring-with peonies

Our summer gardens with their parade of flamboyant colors take us by surprise. Veggies, tropicals, and annuals grow as quickly as Jack and the Bean Stalk. One day they’re babies, the next day they’re towering over us.

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In recent years we’ve been taught to grab onto the coattails of autumn. To squeeze the last of its rich colors, smells, and chilly, crisp days.

November 2005 -grasses-2

As we approach late fall, luscious magazines spill over with spreads of winter gardens …serene, and elegant. A still life painting. A new kind of beauty that gives us pause for thought.

Abbey House Gardens

But how many of us actually take the time to gaze at weaving dead asters with snow nestled at their feet? Or a solo straw colored grass in mid-winter trying to maintain its stature in a stark landscape? A lifeless sunflower ?


For all of you who wish your winter garden away, a suggestion. Give yourself the gift of nature this time of year. Imperfection and death are  a part of the natural rhythm of the universe.

Become familiar with its unique beauty. Appreciate it for what it offers. The cycles and imperfections of our gardens are a great metaphor for what we should strive for in our lives.

Dealing with the things that really matter.Accepting our own flaws and growing older. And ultimately surrendering to our mortality.

Remember that your garden…and you….are perfectly imperfect. 

That’s my New Year wish for you.  A healthy and beautiful 2012!

Fran Sorin

Fran is the author of the highly-acclaimed book, Digging Deep: Unearthing Your Creative Roots Through Gardening, which Andrew Weil, M.D., recommends as "a profound and inspiring book."  

A graduate of the University of Chicago with Honors in Psychology, she is also a gardening and creativity expert, coach, inspirational speaker, CBS radio news gardening correspondent, and Huffington Post Contributor.

Learn more about Fran and get free resources that will help you improve your life at www.fransorin.com.

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Fran Sorin
11 Comments… add one

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valentine December 31, 2011, 1:08 pm

Thank you for this thought…it comes at the perfect time…to start the new year right!

I’m glad you liked it. This morning, I’m looking at my window at withering canna leaves, dead broom but with magnificent seed heads and believe it or not, a morning glory in bloom. Go figure. Happy New Year! Fran

Benjamin Vogt December 31, 2011, 2:16 pm

Oh goodness, I love the dead winter garden! Give me my seasons in full measure so that I might know myself, my life, and this world that much more deeply! And in summer, the messier the garden the better–more wildlife come in, and I get even more from this planet.

Dear Benjamin,
I couldn’t agree more with you on all fronts. Your garden and writing are evidence of that. This year is going to be a magnificent one for you Benjamin. You are gaining momentum.

Nell Jean December 31, 2011, 3:16 pm

Happy New Year. I try to take it as it comes, with an occasional tweak.

Thanks for the New Year wishes Nell Jean. It sounds like you’ve got a good attitude that serves you well. Have a beautiful New Year. Fran

Scott December 31, 2011, 8:21 pm

Absolutely wonderful post, couldn’t agree more!

I’m always happy to hear from other gardeners who appreciate the cycles of life. Have a wonderful New Year. Fran

Scott Hokunson January 1, 2012, 1:13 am

Well said Fran, great thoughts to usher in a New year!

Thanks Scott. I hope you have a beautiful and healthy 2012. Fran

Lotusleaf January 1, 2012, 7:49 am

Wonderful post! Imperfections have beauty and freedom,which we can see if we only have the right perspective. The rainforest is so beautiful in spite of its imperfections.

Lotus Leaf…
I just got onto your website and so appreciated your latest post for the New Year. And yes, all of nature’s imperfections are magnificent. Wishing you health and great gardening for 2012. Fran

Karen Chapman January 1, 2012, 11:44 am

As women I think we need to be reminded of this on a regular basis. It also helps to have a sense of humor so we can laugh at our ‘mistakes’.

I wrote a similar post not long ago called ‘Perfect in its imperfection’ which will make you smile. Here’s the link if you’re interested;


Happy New Year!

Hi Karen,

Thanks for sharing your link. I read the article and there sure is an overlap. It is a beautifully written piece.

I wrote an article not too long ago on ‘Gardeners and Perfectionism’ (forgot about it until you mentioned yours..HA!).

Yep, for us females, it takes years of hard work to make headway through this forest of illusions. Maybe we should start a club for women who relish their imperfections. A wonderful 2012 to you and your family Karen. Fran

Donna January 1, 2012, 6:52 pm

Living in a place with four seasons, but one that is very dominant, is very easy to ‘wish winter away’. Finding the longer you spend in a cold winter, the more you grow to appreciate it and the few morsels it has to offer even on the bleakest grey day. It takes just the ability to ‘see’ and marvels abound. And the camera enables us to capture the moments. Good structure helps a garden to stand out amongst the deepening snow, but on a greater level, gives the critters food and shelter to weather just about any windy, snow filled day. My garden has walls of green that they use and I am happy to provide it for them. I don’t mind the dying perennial foliage, I look at it as life that sustains, and life that will repeat. Those autumn seeds are just waiting for spring and summer to start to show what four seasons are and will become.

A woman after my own heart. Niagra Falls, eh? I lived in Rochester, NY. for a large part of my childhood. Cold indeed. All I remember from (outside of helping my Mom clean up in the garden) are the in your face peonies (which I adored) and of course, the lilacs.

Your attitude raises the bar for a lot of gardeners who put up with winter, rather than savoring it. Thanks for your treatise (more than a post) on Canadian geese. Your photos and thoughts are beautiful. An outstanding and healthy New Year to you and your family. Fran

Saxon Holt January 3, 2012, 1:15 pm

So nice to start the new year with the recognition of joy that all gardeners can appreciate. I bet few of us really wish our winter garden away, as it is truly the best time to see the rhythms. You have reminded us to do so.

I do want to stress that part of what we in the media need to do is change the expectation of what a garden is “supposed” to look like. There is much intrinsic beauty in those gardens that celebrate nature’s patterns and reveal imperfections as part of a joyous whole. Thanks for helping us realize that.

Benjamin Vogt January 3, 2012, 10:11 pm

Saxon–is there a book titled “Perfect Imperfect Gardens?” And if not, wouldn’t that be a great project?

cindy juliano January 5, 2012, 10:30 am

I loved this post…I am trying very hard to appreciate what the winter garden has to offer. And you’re right — there’s so much beauty in the seed heads, the grasses, the faded flowers. And I love the stillness in a snow covered garden. Happy 2012 to you!

You hit on a great point about the stillness in the winter garden. It does take work to learn to appreciate the beauty of this season. Keep plugging away…you’re doing a great job. Fran

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