The Gardener’s Way: Fruits of Maturity

Growing older can be tough when society’s in denial about it, so what can we learn from analogies with organic gardening? I’ve been pondering this as part of my work on Natural Happiness.

In a garden, it’s clear that you can’t simply leave nature to do its thing. There are often times when you have to intervene: digging in more compost, digging out failed plants, or just digging over to ginger things up.

Can you see analogies for people, especially in later years? Sometimes we have to dig for maturity: it won’t all happen naturally. Just as garden waste is a source of fertility, we need to dig over and compost emotions and problems to create energy for our growth. In your fifties and beyond, this becomes vital: the alternative is painful stagnation.

With gardens, it’s clear that some plants thrive, others falter or fail. We can try nourishing the strugglers, but some plants just need digging out and replacing. Similarly in our maturing years, we need to create some space, dig out the dead wood, and try some new planting. Just as gardens need change and diversity, so do we.

One of the ways that gardening keeps me calm is by connecting me with the cycles of nature. Whilst autumn and winter may look grim, we know that they are the prelude to another cycle of growth next spring. Even when we get older, we still have cycles of new growth as well as falling back, hopefully daily and weekly.

On the weekend of June 2-4, I am co-leading a workshop called Fruits of Maturity: how to thrive in your 50’s, 60’s and 70’s. Our aim is to create a supportive space to explore questions about midlife and beyond, to find fresh inspiration, and move through challenges.

Hazel Hill Wood is a great place to explore these analogies: a beautiful 70-acre conservation woodland, with thriving ecosystems, and cosy, off-grid wooden buildings. For the June weekend, the wood will be our live learning model, as well as a nourishing place to relax and reflect.

For more details on the June weekend, click here.