The seeds of inspiration: the writer’s love of gardens


the seeds of inspiration

There are so many types of writer, and they’re all sowing the seeds of very different inspirations.

There are the mad uber-macho drunks like Hemingway and Bukowski; the wayward wanderers like Ginsberg and Kerouac; the intellectual aesthetes like Joyce and Woolf; and then there are those romantic visionaries who love nothing more than a stroll through a beautiful garden.

I wandered lonely as a cloud,” claimed Wordsworth, a poet (and avid gardener) who sucked inspiration from nature in the same way that a hungry person inhales food. But other writers didn’t think of plants and trees and gentle wisps of clouds as lonely – they let them populate their imagination like a friendly crowd of strangers.

The wonderful children’s stories of Beatrix Potter, for instance, were all clearly influenced from her cottage-style garden in Cumbria.

A popular resident of her nearby village, she was given plants and ornaments from every garden in the area. She once joked, "I have something out of nearly every garden in the village. Some unbeknownst to the owner, as stolen plants always grow".

Take even a small glance at her garden and you could imagine Peter Rabbit bounding around, waving his bushy tail and heading onto mischievous adventures.

And just imagine how different the work of Agatha Christie might be had she not spent her time ambling around her garden in Devon.

This vast woodland haven off the Dart Estuary, with its dark mysterious corners and labyrinthine pathways unfurling like one of her mysteries, has clear parallels with some of her finest works.

Even wilder flights of fancy have been created inside gardens. Roald Dahl’s James and the Giant Peach, for example, was directly inspired by the vegetable patch in his countryside retreat, and where would Jane Austen be had she not walked through stately countryside manors of floral wonder?

Most of have dreamed of being a best-selling author whose writing is their legacy. Maybe you want to pen your memoirs in your later years, or perhaps you want to hit up hip cafes and bellow beat poetry before an adoring crowd.

No matter – whether you’re a wandering writer or a burgeoning businessperson, your garden can give you the spark of inspiration you need for success.


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