I have been in my Hawkes Bay home for one month now. I had grand plans of a major outdoor transformation, fuelled by the new and energetic person I would surely transform into once I had moved. That happens right? No. I spent some weeks floundering around my artistic practice - making artwork that had no ‘end goal’ and making a website (this website) whose intentions were not whole and complete and henceforth, induced the anxiety. I took a breakdown break (highly recommend) and got some perspective.

I met a dear friend from art school and amongst my lamentations of “what I am going to do with my life" he piped up and said “ you are just in a research phase”. YES! Truth, I am. What a sublime and sacred place to be in. The agenda is to uncover that which you do not know. To follow little tidbits and treats into the bigger and deeper knowing of yourself. The pressure is off now. I get to unfurl. I get to adventure with my time and knowledge. The pressure to make art and exist online has been somewhat lifted, and now I find time to garden.

Yesterday I spent some time cleaning the paths and weeding some little spots around mum and dads. I moved some plants around, repotted some bulbs, rearranged the back door area and gave myself some thinking and dreaming time. I have been a messy, lazy little gardener in the past. Claiming I like piles of leaves clustered into corners. Claiming I like ‘weeds’ popping up amongst bricks. Whilst there is truth and rebellion from the status quo within these statements there is also a new truth: TIDYING is TRANSFORMATIVE

These are some of the lessons on having a tidy garden:

  • Things actually do look nicer when they are tidy and swept.

  • It takes just 10 minutes to transform a place.

  • That the act of tidying releases stagnation from a space and gives it a new breath of fresh air.

It is also so vital to conceptualise this tidying as CARING for your garden. It is not just tidying up a mess, but investing time and attention into a physical space that is in a long term relationship with you. This care cultivates a compassion, a love filled and generous act of giving that honours the gift that the plant world gives its people. For the person activating this care, the effects are far reaching. Your heart expands, your knowledge and understanding of your backyard ecology deepens and you get flowers and food.


Liv Worsnop