Why We Garden - Oneness with Nature

    Holy Mother Earth,
 the trees and all nature, are witnesses of your thoughts and deeds.

~  Winnebago saying

A garden is nature, bounded  -  protected and shaped by human hands.  It can be a simple balcony filled with planters, a sweeping vista dotted with trees or a small courtyard bordered by plant beds.  

Our urge to co-create with Mother Nature has been with us since time immemorial.   This impulse lies in the need to be connected to something greater than ourselves.  

Gardening enhances a heightened sense of empathy and expands our awareness of non-human life.  When we garden, we see how the lowly earthworm is as important as the forest. 

This, in turn, leads to an oceanic feeling that we are one with Nature.  Arne Naess, the Norwegian philosopher, called  this expanded sense of self,   the ecological self’:

"We are not outside the rest of nature and therefore cannot do with it as we please without changing ourselves … we are a part of the ecosphere just as intimately as we are a part of our own society.." 

photo by Jan Johnsen / in garden by Johnsen

The ecological self has always been with us.  It is this self (not the  human centered self of our Western World) that created the nature based rituals and ceremonies of Native American and Australian Aborigines;  that used monumental trees or great stones as their religious totems;  that developed the pleasure grounds of the Persians and the sacred groves of the Greeks. 

 The ecological self sees Nature as a conduit to the cosmos.  As the 19th century traveler and nature lover, W. H. Hudson, wrote in his evocative, turn of the century book, The Purple Land:

photo by Jan Johnsen / Mt Kisco, NY
“Face to face with Nature on the vast hills at eventide, who does not feel himself near to the Unseen?”


  1. Thanks for this lovely reminder of the beauty and sanctuary that nature provides us!

  2. I was very encouraged to find this site. I wanted to thank you for this special read. I definitely savored every little bit of it and I have bookmarked you to check out new stuff you post.
    Animation courses

  3. Thank You so much for that....I will keep that in mind as I write new posts...:-)

  4. Absolutely beautiful. I could use some serenity, and just seeing the pictures gives me some peace. Thanks.

  5. Good pictures from a nice garden :D
    would u like to watch some of my photografy of Norway ;D???


  6. This comment has been removed by the author.


Post a Comment

Hi there! I would love to hear from you....

Popular Posts of all Time

Angelface Blue and Dark Violet Angelonia - a Flower that Keeps Giving

'Purple Smoke' - The best Baptisia

Getting in the 'Flow' by Gardening

No-Fail Tips for Turning Hydrangeas Blue!

Repurposed and Recycled - Creative Ideas for Garden Design

My one day Class Wednesday April 16 in NY - Jan Johnsen