My most important advice about your natural garden

When I install a new garden, I provide a handbook, explaining the plants in the garden and how to manage the garden in the future. Of all the advice in the handbook, this is the most important.

I want you to become intimate with your new garden. In this section, I’ll explain what that means and how it will benefit the garden and benefit you.

The American poet Mary Oliver said: Attention is the beginning of devotion. She meant that we love the things we notice. The more we pay attention to things, the more we love them.

In our modern, busy lives we often fail to pay attention. We move from thing to thing, without noticing where we are. Sometimes it feels like we’re living in a movie: our lives are to some extent abstracted – we’re living in the future and living in concepts.

I want your new garden to be an opportunity to slow down and pay attention to the world just outside your door. I promise it will increase your wellbeing.

Spend time in your garden. Look at it closely. You will start noticing things: how plants change over the weeks, the presence of caterpillars and butterflies, the appearance of different types of pollinators and birds.

You will become familiar with the bloom times of various plants. You’ll see the garden slowly – then quickly – come to life in the spring. You will notice green shoots turning bronze in the fall.

When you become familiar with your garden, you will be able to tend to it with sensitivity. It will become a kind of dance between you and nature rather than the chore of managing unruly growth.

One morning you will notice a Monarch butterfly or hear the buzzing of a bee and it will make your day. You will fall in love.

We humans have become estranged from the natural world. We’ve fallen out of love with it. We sometimes even fear it.

This is what has led to the destruction we have brought upon the natural world. We don’t know nature, we fear it and so we harm it.

I started Grounded because I saw the change within myself once I fell back in love with nature. I noticed how my heart swelled when I saw a bird hunting for food among the plants I’d planted.

I felt at home with nature.

This is what I want for you. It’s what I want for the world.

When I say a better world starts just outside your door, this is what I mean. Let’s fall back in love with nature and fall back in love with life.