Digging Deep


“Discovering the magic that takes place in the garden and in life everyday enables you to open to experience feelings of freedom and peace and engage in a playful type of creating – without worrying about the results. It’s play for the sake of play.Fran Sorin



When I read this quote, I was struck by how relevant it was in my life now.  I have a post about play DSCN9029coming up, on Thursday, on my other blog, Living From Happiness.  And I thought how insightful Fran was about creating and play.  

So when Fran gifted me an ebook copy of the 10th Anniversary Edition of her book, Digging Deep, I was excited to read it.  Especially since she goes into greater detail about creativity.

Now I have to confess that part of my delay in reading the book has been because I do not have an e-reader nor do I want one.  I am an old-fashioned girl preferring to read paper books.  There are many benefits to e-readers so it is wonderful we have them.  In case I need to use one (like to read this book), I have an app on my iPod Touch and on my laptop. 

DSCN9030But I must say it is darn hard to read an ebook on a laptop…and forget the smaller devices.  But I persevered since I really wanted to read the book.  I had read a few reviews already, as there have been many wonderful reviews since Fran released the 10th Anniversary Edition.  And I was excited to give you my perspective.

In the interest of creating and play, I am combining this post with my weekly, creating a vase, post where I link in with Cathy@Rambling in the Garden for her wonderful meme, In a Vase on Monday.  There is nothing more creative and playful than finding/picking flowers and making an interesting arrangement.  





Digging Deep: Unearthing Your Creative Roots Through Gardening



Author:  Fran Sorin

Paperback: 254 pages

Publisher:   Braided Worlds Publishing; 10th Anniversary Edition edition (October 7, 2014)

Amazon Price:  $13.19 (Paperback), $4.99 (Kindle)





In A Few Words

 As Fran write’s in her Introduction to the 10th Anniversary Edition of the book:

The idea of this book has helped people not only connect with nature-becoming intimately acquainted with its cycles and secrets-but with their own true nature, as well…


A perfect description of the essence of this book.  It goes beyond gardening to reach deep within each of DSCN9046us, and help us develop and unearth that deeper meaning we are looking for in our lives.  

Fran’s story paralleled mine in a way as she never considered herself an expert gardener nor did she believe she was creative.  And gardening became a sacred act where plunging her hands into the dirt connected her with the earth in such a profound way.

In her book, Fran takes us through a creative process much like she has done with her clients in her garden design business.  She uses what she calls the 7 Stages of Creative Awakening-Imagining, Envisioning, Planning, Planting, Tending, Enjoying and Completing.  She believes anyone can create a garden, or whatever they want to in their lives, if we can have an opportunity to nurture that creative spirit.

Each section/stage has experiments, advice, and important “how-tos”.   I thought I would take you briefly through the first stage which is so important to the creative process; Imagining:  The Sparks of Creativity.  In this section she has several subsections to explore:  Observing, Discovery, Remembering, Exploring, Opening To Possibility and Playing.   With each section comes a “Try This”, many of which I am already doing and have encouraged my clients to do when we start to talk about designing their garden.  And by reading this section it encouraged me to continue these practices.

DSCN8857For example in Observing she encourages you to keep a Nature Journal….I have done this in many ways (pictures and notebook) this past year as I have observed my garden.   In Discovering she says to look for elements and plants you like in garden magazines and garden books.  I did this as I was designing the initial bones of the garden almost 10 years ago and it is a wonderful process that I will continue.  In Remembering she encourages you to think about fond childhood memories of nature and gardens….very powerful and something I have used in designing my own gardens too.  With Exploring she says go and look at gardens and parks around you.  And I love the idea of envisioning a garden with no limits in Opening to Possibilities.  What dreams I have.

Lastly Fran encourages you to Play by buying (or picking) a bunch of flowers and arranging loads of vases with no set plan.  I do this every week now when I create my Vases and show them here on my blog.  And I have to say it is one of the most powerful experiences for unleashing your creativity. 

This is just one section of Fran’s book and I hope to continue to explore each section a bit further as the year unfolds.




What I Liked

There is so much contained in this book, that I couldn’t possibly tell you everything I liked, but here are aDSCN8911 few of the general ideas from the book that really made me think.

Fran encourages the reader to live with ambiguity.  I think that is hard for anyone, but especially a gardener.  And learning to live with uncertainty this past year was a valuable lesson that has served me well in my garden and life.  

Another lesson from Fran is that mistakes are a gift.  I cannot agree more, and when we accept mistakes as a good thing then we are free to try without fear or judgement.  

The final lesson that really spoke to me was surrendering your agenda.  Going through the creative process without an agenda is so much more rewarding because you open up to so many possibilities that you might have closed off. 




Not So Much 

 DSCN8914There really is nothing I don’t like about this book.  Especially because it is more than a gardening book.  I plan to use the book as I go through this year of discovery and planning in my garden and life.  I am sure you will see references to it on both my blogs.






Final Thoughts

DSCN9027I cannot recommend this book enough no matter where you are with gardening or with your life.  I have come to believe, as Fran does, that gardening is one of the best ways to uncover the creative spirit that lies within each of us.  With this book, you will learn something useful if you are a beginner needing to build your confidence, or if you have experience with gardening and are looking for a bit of inspiration.  A pleasurable must read for everyone. 

You can read more from Fran at both her blogs:  Gardening Gone Wild and Fran 







In A Vase On Monday 


amaryllis opening collage

It has been bone chillin’ cold with a layer of a foot of snow covering everything.  So thankfully one of the buds from one of my Hippeastrum bulbs (what we usually call amaryllis) opened up.  Amazing really all these blooms coming from one bulb.  This one is called ‘Sweet Star’, and is a gorgeous shade of pink.  I love watching the stages of this flower as it opens.  




I was so excited for the blooms, that I was unsure how I would display them.  I tried a crystal wine goblet and an antique sugar bowl, and I didn’t like either because the flower was so big.  Then I remembered I had this Mikasa lead crystal dish (a wedding present) that I never use.  It just sits on display gathering dust.  I hoped it would do.

I had read from various bloggers that it is best to secure the bottom of the stem with a rubber band to give it more stability.  I cut the stem to a short length, put the rubber band on securely, and then placed the stem on a flower frog.  I surrounded the blooms with some sphagnum moss to fill out the display as I didn’t have any greenery.




views amaryllis vase collage

I liked how the arrangement changed as the flowers bloomed more fully.  I displayed the vase in the turquoise bathroom with a white container and then with a bright pink candle holder.  Loved them both.  I also brought it to the kitchen table and used an antique china tea cup and saucer from the 1940s.  The china belonged to my MIL, and the pattern is called Cosmos.  I thought it was perfect.  

I really enjoyed fiddling with this display in various settings.  All pictures in this post are from ‘Sweet Star’ growing or blooming in its vase.

I am also linking in with Judith@Lavender Cottage who hosts Mosaic Monday, and Today’s Flowers hosted by Denise@An English Girl Rambles.




Next up on the blog:  

Wednesday I will have another Stuck Foot post showcasing the Bog Garden in a bit more detail.  And next Monday brings us to another Native Plant Profile.


I am also joining in I Heart Macro with Laura@Shine The Divine that happens every Saturday.

All original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Gardens Eye View, 2010-2015.  Any reprints or use of content or photos is by permission only.