Nov 242017

My fourth planned book explores how gardening analogies can help people’s wellbeing, and I’ve started to ponder what insights they offer for creative ageing. This was groundwork for a weekend I co-lead at Hazel Hill Wood, in June, called Fruits of Maturity.

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 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. Similarly in our maturing years, we need to create some space, dig out the dead wood.

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 was our live learning model.

The art of the gardener is to intervene skilfully, and let nature do most of the work. In the same way, we can hope that much of our maturing will just evolve, providing we’ve done our spadework.

For more details on the June weekend, click here.

If you’d like to explore natural analogies like composting further, check out

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