Gardens are well-known for relieving stress and healing what ails us. It’s one of the reasons why I love gardening so much. Even the tedious act of weeding the garden, and the backache that soon follows, brings me happiness. Getting outside and taking in nature soothes the soul. My garden is my sanctuary, but it’s also so much more than that.

Finding Inspiration in a Garden Sanctuary

In the garden it’s easy to become lost in thought. Life’s stresses quickly slip away, leaving nothing but the sounds of nature. The cheerful song of visiting birds… the playful chatter from squirrels calling out to one another as they bob in and out of the trees… the subtle rustling of leaves or swaying ornamental grasses in the wind… or the blissful sounds of buzzing bees going about their pollination tasks. There’s something else going on here amid all of this. While I’m in my garden listening, watching, and thinking, the creative juices deep within awaken.

My little backyard hideaway performs double duty, acting not only as a sacred place for me and wildlife to find peace, but it’s also where I find inspiration. I’m not just a gardener. I’m a writer and an artist (of sorts). I love to create things, be it in the form of words on a page or crafting interesting pieces of artwork. Upcycling is one of my favorite things to do. I love turning everyday items into something else, giving them new life. I’ve given new purpose to old books, a desk and drawers, hats, boots, purses and more as interesting containers. Old bottles make exceptional candidates for all manner of décor – including a bottle book. I enjoy pressing flowers and foliage from the garden too, often incorporating them into my art. And I’ve found there’s no greater place to find inspiration for crafting than in my garden sanctuary.

I’ve even included some of my creative pieces within the garden. It’s my happy place. Some of the wildlife critters have enjoyed these too. I’ve seen our resident white-tail squirrel, Albus, using the upcycled window frame as his runway during morning excursions. A number of sparrows enjoy perching along its edge while taking in the sun’s warm rays. Toady is often found chilling during the day under the protective shelter of a nearby upturned terra-cotta pot, specifically fashioned for him and other toad friends after part of the rim broke, leaving a nice entranceway for them. Alvin and Chip (chipmunk visitors) seem to find the top edge of the truck liner turned garden bed to be a fine thoroughfare for their daily travels. Both the butterflies and bees alike have been seen basking in the sun within the confines of my garden-inspired bath crafted from an old shallow dish.

We all get something from this sacred garden space. As the birds and other wildlife are free to eat, wander and play in their safe haven, I, too, am free to let go and give in to my creative mojo. When the stress of life weighs heavy, finding inspiration in a garden sanctuary allows my soul to reboot. It’s even better when that sanctuary is found in your own backyard.

Nikki Tilley
Senior Editor

Nikki Tilley has been gardening for nearly three decades. The former Senior Editor and Archivist of Gardening Know How, Nikki has also authored six gardening books.