Gardening : Writing

Is gardening like writing?

This is what Carl Lennertz of HarperCollins Publishing wrote in his blog Publishing Insider:

"....every 5 years or so, I get a truckload of topsoil dropped off so I can elevate a corner of the yard or start a new flower bed. 

And it occurred to me, sleepily, that the sound of a shovel going into dirt is one of the most satisfying, tangible sounds, of all.


The shoosh of metal on dirt, then the creation of something new. 

And then it hit me that writing was like that, too. The sound of writing, the sense of building something, measurable bit by bit, and most of all, the going back and reshaping and redoing. "

Jan Johnsen - garden path

I wholeheartedly agree!

For me there is nothing more satisfying than physical creation: seeing a swimming pool and garden emerge from nothing more than a drawing....

or a Japanese stream evolve from orange paint lines on the ground.....or a delightful cascade develop from a plan ....

Johnsen Landscapes & Pools

I share that subtle pleasure of digging and planting - although I do it with a professional's sense of urgency and need to complete a project on time...

but still the 'shoosh', as Lennertz terms it, is a comfortable sound to me, like an old friend's voice or rain on the roof.

Johnsen Landscapes & Pools

The shovel and rake are my comrades in arms just like the words that flow onto a page. In my case, each calls up the other.  I cannot put down the shovel nor can I stop the words that seem to tumble out like 1/2" gravel in a subsurface drain channel (Ha!).

Gardening is indeed like writing. Weeding, cultivating and enhancing are tasks that they share. If you neglect these steps the result will suffer.  Flowery prose must be pruned. Overstuffed plant beds must be edited.

So the answer to Mr. Lennertz's question is a resounding 'YES!'

Johnsen Landscapes & Pools


  1. I will be taking shovel to dirt a lot over the next few weeks, in a mad dash to get all the bulbs I bought planted. You can never plant too many!

  2. Hydroponic Lights

    hey, first time I visit your blog its really interesting………..mindblowing!!!!!!!

  3. THANKS- I wrote my thesis college on hydroponics in the early 70s! it was published as 'Gardening without Soil' by Lippincott...we have something in common.

    and Abby, I am doing the same today (before the soil gets too cold...not fun)

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