Creating a Serenity Garden - why? how? NOW

The best place to seek God is in a garden. You can dig for him there.
~ George Bernard Shaw
(above photo - sculpture by Ruth Moilliett)

We now no longer see the natural world as something to be tamed or conquered but, rather, as something to be revered.

HGTV photo

And we understand Chief Seattle's 1854 admonition:

“Man did not weave the web of life: he is merely a strand in it. Whatever he does to the web he does to himself.”

Broomley Meadow, Seven Ponds farm

This deep ecological awareness has compelled us to seek a more meaningful connection to the earth which, in turn, has led some of us inevitably to gardens and landscapes. This is the impetus behind this blog.  I have a strong desire to share my lifelong landscape design experiences in order to inspire others to ‘touch the earth’.
by Jan Johnsen

And I want to promote a particular, reverent way of looking at the green world which sees the piece of ground outside our door as an ‘everyday conduit’ to the energy of life that flows within plants, water, trees, sunlight, rocks, birds and assorted creatures.

Truthfully, I aim to promote a more reverent way of looking at the green world; one which sees the piece of ground outside our door as an ‘everyday conduit’ to the life energy that flows within plants, water, trees, sunlight, rocks, birds and assorted creatures. Indeed, it is in a garden, as George Bernard Shaw declared, where we can touch the divine.

Looking at the natural world in this way is nothing new. The idea of sanctified outdoor space was the genesis for the sacred groves of the Egyptians, Indians and Greeks. It birthed the medieval labyrinths and Native Americans’ 'medicine wheels'. And of course, ancient Chinese geomancy, ‘Feng Shui’, and Indian ‘Vaastu’, which see the earth and her directions as living, vibrant forces, derive their power from our acknowledgment of ‘sanctified outdoor space’.
We have, up until recently, largely forgotten these traditions but, now, as our enthusiasm for plants, spirituality and the unseen has increased, we see there is something more to Nature than what we have been taught.

cascade and garden by Jan Johnsen

So we look back to great thinkers such as Lao-Tzu, Pythagoras and Emerson and ancient peoples such as the Native Americans, Chinese and Hawaiians for their sage guidance. They, above all, can remind us of the power of the natural world upon the human spirit. 
In my blog I aim to explore some of these traditional practices and share them with you, the seeker / garden lover. I believe that now, at the dawn of the 21st century, we can learn a lot from these 'rediscoveries'.

My firm belief is that the ancient ways touch the 'numinous dimension' of a garden. And truly, this is where we will find the enchantment that we are all seeking....


  1. "We, in the developed western world"...I wish. "Some of us" is more like it.

  2. Hi Jan, Just discovered your blog. It is beautiful! I notice you put up the same quote from Chief Seattle like I did. The picture of a tendril is quite similar to something I posted last year.

  3. Working in the garden or just spending time in a garden helps me to be present, or 'in the moment', more than anything else.
    When I can't actually be out in nature, reading your blog is the next best thing!

  4. thank you so much for that lovely comment !

  5. The photos and gardens shown here are very inspiring.

  6. Thank you Cindy! you made my day...


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