Are you like me and ever wondered if gardening is a Science or an Art? Is it more one than the other? Do you need to be more scientific and methodical as a gardener to let the beauty of art into your garden or do you need to be an imaginative artist with creativity flowing to enable science to take place?
Personally I feel gardening itself has elements of being both an Art and a Science, so much so that one cannot exist without the other! Now please don’t think that I’m saying that if you are a scientific person at heart who has never picked up a paint brush, that you can never be a gardener or vice versa, that you’re an artist who has never stepped foot into a science lab, that you would never be able to grow anything because that would be false. I am not saying that at all, but if you are similar to the examples above and do enjoy gardening, or are being tempted to have a go at being a gardener, then perhaps until now, you were never fully aware that in fact, you do have a scientific or creative side just waiting to be discovered.
Being a gardener surrounded by nature, I would say, is definitely the key to unlocking your full potential! You need only spend a moment observing nature itself, to see that art and science work symbiotically together. Just think about those beautiful butterflies with their symmetrical, colourful wings, who have undergone scientific transformations from being caterpillars or the brightly coloured petals of flowers that attract bees so they can carry out their duties of pollination.
Remember each year, a gardener starts with a blank, muddy canvas for their vegetable plot just like an artist (although without the mud-unless of course you’re an abstract, modern artist). At the beginning of each year you design where you are going to put your different plants. Science, will of course take a forefront in your decision making to find the best place to grow your crops based on crop rotation, soil nutrients, companion planting and simply whether the plants like full sun or shade. A perfect example of art and science working together but also of the scientist that you may never knew you had in you, guiding you in your design and decision making!
You also need only look around the flowers in your garden to see the beauty of different shapes, patterns and colours and that will be your artist’s eye that has made these decisions. It’s not only the flowers themselves that grab your attention but different textures and colours of leaves and grasses, varying heights of shrubs and trees. When you design your flower garden, you will think of all these things, perhaps sometimes without being conscious of it, but you will be thinking what will go well on the patio or in the garden borders. Embrace it! Don’t be afraid of it and even go with your gut instinct. This is your creativity having fun. It will be the artist in you that at the end of the year will remember the beauty of the garden and will inspire you to do the same next year, and maybe even add a few more new additions to the garden.
The truth of the matter is that gardening offers the opportunity of both art and science. If you are like me, you know you love both science and art but you can’t choose between them, gardening is more than a match made in heaven. I could ask for nothing more in my life than when I’m in my garden. My days are truly full and enjoyable.
I could not end this post without mentioning a person, who if I was asked to invite any six famous dinner party guests to my table, would definitely be at the top of the table. Beatrix Potter, author of Peter Rabbit and whom Britain recently celebrated 150 years since her birth, was also a woman who was an illustrator and scientist. Her life was remarkable and she truly is an inspiration to me as not only did she pursue the things she loved but she also proved that art and science work well together.
Just think if there had been no science and art working in collaboration in the gardening world, there probably wouldn’t have been Peter Rabbit and what a sad world that would have been growing up in!
There are so many other examples of art and science in the garden, can you think of any others? I would love to hear your thoughts on this topic and of any examples you may have!