Grow Your Life: Find inspiration in nature

I have a confession: looking out my kitchen window, I find myself staring at my frozen garden...

I have a confession: looking out my kitchen window, I find myself staring at my frozen garden with snow tucked in around the perennials, and I begin to count how many months of winter are left. My skis and skates beckon to me from the front door, but my thoughts are full of the colours of spring and the earthy, sweet smells that accompany it. I head out for my late afternoon walk with my 3.5 year old Pyrenees, Bella, and allow myself to enjoy the sunlight before it fades behind the Purcell Mountains.

It’s often on these walks that I daydream about the upcoming summer season and enjoy the fact that I have a clear vision and a plan. Over the years, it has occurred to me that not only can we create and nurture our landscape designs for our gardens, but this tool could also be applied to our lives.

If you were to think about your own “life landscape,” there are many areas that you tend to daily such as your relationships, finances, work/career, health, contributions, spiritual and recreation to name just a few.

Each of these areas requires our time, energy and commitment. However, there are elements in our landscapes that often leave us feeling stressed, overwhelmed, fatigued and worried. These emotions could be very good indicators that something is out of balance or being neglected. In our outdoor gardens, we can see when a plant is not receiving what it needs to thrive. We are the master gardeners of our own life landscapes, and we can choose to pay attention or not to those areas that are challenging for us.

With spring just around the corner, it’s a good time to reflect and make a few necessary adjustments for an improved sense of harmony and well being. Try using a scale of 1 to 10 (1 — very unsatisfied and 10 — extremely satisfied) and rate each area of your life’s landscape as you feel it is today. Then consider, where on that scale, you would like each area to be six months from now. For example, an important part of your life’s landscape may be to contribute back to the community by volunteering ten to fifteen hours a month. Today, you rate yourself as a three and you would like it to be a six on your satisfaction scale six months from now.

Remember always to be patient with yourself. When I undertake a renovation or change in a garden, it doesn’t all happen at once. I choose the most important section to work on first, and then I stay focused and committed knowing that the rest of the garden will need to be tended to as well. Nature is a wonderful teacher if we take the time to become more aware of the wisdom it reveals to all of us every single day. Nature never rushes for it knows that growth, and change, take time.

Elizabeth Shopland is a horticulturist for Homefront Essentials Gardening, a Certified Solution Focused Coach, author and speaker, and the owner of Banyan Tree Solutions. She can be reached at 250-342-8978 or