The sculptor Auguste Rodin famously said that his art lay in the uncovering of what already was contained within the block of stone. In stating this he was echoing the findings of all contemplatives and mystics throughout times and cultures, that their paths, with all their accumulative as well as purificatory methodologies, are in the end only a revealing of what always was. Gardeners are the same.
The gardener seeks to uncover what is already within the land, she seeks to tap into some essence that lies within the heart of the garden. Yes, she will introduce plants to the soil from her greenhouse and from nurseries elsewhere. Yes, she will import structures into the garden of practical and aesthetic value. Yes, she will work with design, but these endeavours are only, in the end, methodologies employed to draw out the Silence within the land and to assist its expression through beauty.
When the gardener chooses to work like this she discovers that her work is and must be collaborative. A sensitivity will develop whereby she realises she is not alone in the garden and that there are energies, forces, and entities that are to be intentionally engaged with in her work. 'Intentionally' as, though they will be engaged with anyway, the engagement with the meta-ecology needs to be taken from the unintentional to the intentional; our landscape are suffering so much now from unconscious engagement.
Gardening as a path of collaborative uncovering might not be understood or promoted by the organisations and institutions that claim to speak for and provide training in horticulture. Not yet. But we are collectively waking up to new layers and depths of meaning within the land and ourselves, in inner and outer landscape, and quite soon this 'nation of gardeners' might shift its ideas of beauty. A new aesthetic vision in horticulture may start to fully embrace only that which is done from profound love for the land, an awareness of all that exists on it, and a receptivity to what lies in the heart of it.