The First Season: The Winter of Discontent 


photo 5“To everything there is a season.” Ecclesiastes 3:1

A winter storm can arrive just like an unwelcome house guest by barging in, dropping bags in the front hall and making itself right at home. The temperatures can plummet overnight, and by morning nothing remains the same. Pipes have burst, tree limbs are broken, and it appears that your garden has died. There may be a dusting of snow to hide the destruction, but eventually it will melt and reveal what winter has brought you, a tempest of despair. The circumstances in our lives can change just as suddenly. A tragic accident, the end of a relationship or career, or a medical diagnosis we never wanted can arrive with no warning at all. Our hearts break, we lose our bearing, and nothing seems to make sense anymore. We wake up to a new reality.

Gardeners have a strategy for dealing with winter. When storms roll in, we are ready for them. We have been watching the signs in nature for months. We do all we can to prepare and protect our garden and then retreat indoors and wait. On long winter days, we peer out of the window, hoping to catch a glimpse of our sleeping garden under its frozen blanket. Yes, we might venture out in the cold to shake the limbs of a beloved young tree that is bending from the weight of ice, or fret about some additional measure we that might have been taken before the cold front marched in, but gardeners release the outcome of nature’s fury. We have faith that everything will be okay.

In truth, it is more than faith; it’s an honest belief. We have a complete knowing that sustains us through the winter. Sometimes we just have to wait it out. Sometimes, we can only dream about our future garden. We never doubt that the sunny days will return again. I have never met a gardener that did not know that the spring would come. There has never been a winter so tortuous and long that it prevented spring. You cannot speed it up, and you cannot predict the exact date it will arrive, but you can be certain of one thing: the spring always comes.


IMG_0004“Though an old man, I am but a young gardener.”  Thomas Jefferson

You’ve Been Grounded

Adversity does not build character; adversity reveals our true nature. Challenging times expose our core beliefs. They expose the foundation our personality is built upon. Tough times reveal the fundamental ideas that define our way of understanding the world. Many rely on their faith in times of hardship, but what is faith? If faith is a belief in the unseen, then what do you stand on when your whole world seems to be crumbling around you? You must stand upon what you know. Knowing is entirely different than faith. You do not believe the sun will rise tomorrow, you know that it will. You do not have faith that the seasons will change; you know that they will. Perhaps the only secure place to stand upon when your life is in complete disarray is firmly planted upon your Mother Earth.

Most of us are just flying along through our lives passing from one experience to another, until something big stops us right in our tracks. We might use phrases like, “It knocked my legs right out from under me,” or, “I was brought to my knees.”All of a sudden, everything seems to have changed. You may be experiencing one of those times right now. The difficulties you are facing might seem insurmountable. When we are challenged we must reconnect with what is our own personal truth. Facing that truth can be heartbreaking, but it can also be the opening to allow our highest nature to express itself. It’s been said that when an egg cracks on the outside it is broken, but when it cracks from the inside something new is being born. Perhaps this is the purpose of heartbreak. When our heart is broken it creates an entry point for compassion to begin to pour forth and through us. It then becomes our work to allow this tenderness to flow out into the world and contribute to our collective healing.

Natural disasters like floods and fires can destroy what we have become accustomed to, but also bring about the birth of something completely new. There are seeds that will not germinate without exposure to great extremes. The giant redwoods and great sequoia are majestic symbols of strength and beauty, towering hundreds of feet tall. They can grow up to fifty feet in diameter and live for hundreds of years, but they cannot reproduce without a forest fire. Their seeds sleep silently inside mature cones until the extreme heat awakens them and the seeds are released. These magnificent trees rely on episodic fires for their very survival. The burnt remains and ash on the forest floor provide the optimal planting bed for the seeds to germinate and begin their journey to towering new heights. The forest fire has cleared space and increased the amount of sunlight available for a new tree to grow. Sometimes we also have to walk through the fire and navigate the flood to find our own new growth.

photo 3

“Become totally empty. Let your heart be at peace, amidst the rush of worldly comings and going, observe how endings become beginnings. Things flourish, each by each, only to return to the source. To return to the root is to find peace.” Lao Tzu 

It may seem odd to begin our journey in the season of winter, but this is the season of the big wake up call. It’s the birthing of our authentic self awareness. It is a call that must be answered because it will refuse to be ignored. For many, myself included, it comes at an early age. Others may experience smooth sailing until later in life. The winter of discontent is the first season of personal examination, a time of reflection, sharp perceptions and discernment. Individuals from cultures all over the world will seek comfort during this season with prayer and meditation. I find it significant that many will spend much of this time kneeling, sitting or laying prostrate, literally making contact with the earth. Whenever this season arrives, wherever you might be, you will find that you’ve been grounded.

“The strongest oak of the forest is not one that is protected from the storm and hidden from the sun. It’s the one that stands in the open where it is compelled to struggle for its existence against the winds, the rain and the scorching sun.” Napoleon Hill



remember, goodness grows,


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Our Essential Nature

“There is a continuity about the garden and an order of succession in the garden year which is deeply pleasing, and in one sense there are no breaks or divisions. Seed time flows on to flowering time and harvest time; no sooner is one thing dying than another is coming to life.”  Susan Hill and Rory Stuart


How would you describe your state of mind? Do the circumstances of your life define the quality of your experience? Are you feeling constantly stressed, worried and hurried? We can feel like complete failures when things don’t work out the way we planned. Most of us have been pressured to feel this way because we believe a story that isn’t true. We’ve been told life is short and we only get one chance, so we rush through our lives seldom stopping to savor the moment. It often feels like the seasons of our lives are marching from one to the next, until one day, we’re done. The worst part is believing that there is only one opportunity to get it all right.

We believe that in the spring of life, we are young and vibrant and only then will we experience significant growth. Then as summer comes, we reach our maturity. This season is the highlight of our lives, the time when we are most successful and prolific. Once autumn arrives, if we’re lucky, we will receive a harvest. Though many of us will not be that fortunate and soon a foreboding chill will roll in to signal the beginning of the end. Once winter settles in, we believe we will become old and frail and then soon face our inevitable demise. This myth prevents many of us from moving forward to overcome challenges and holds us in a state of hopelessness. If we’ve only got one shot, it’s no wonder we are all stressed out.

Now it’s time for us to learn to live differently. We must rediscover our essential nature of hope, optimism and joy. We need to find a way to dismantle our false beliefs and remember the unlimited potential we felt as children. Now is the time to let nature teach us a fresh new perspective.


Making the Connection

Every major spiritual tradition speaks of a teacher that went to find peace in a garden. Throughout history, leaders of nations have stepped into nature to find solace. George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Winston Churchill were all accomplished gardeners and naturalists. Many of these teachers and leaders used lessons from their experiences to convey important messages and deep truths. One of the most inspiring of these visionaries, Nelson Mandela, initiated something incredible during his long years of incarceration; he cultivated a garden in prison to lift his spirits. He even shared his harvest with those who imprisoned him. His garden was his place of renewal and an affirmation that growth was still possible. Mandela’s visionary message was far greater than any prison could hold.

Each one of us must be willing to step outside of the prison of our past beliefs if we are hoping to find relief. We must think outside of the conditions that we are living in by setting free our mind, spirit and body. We must release the shackles we have placed on our own abilities if we sincerely want to be succeed. Cultivating a new perspective is the key to unlocking the door that contains our spirit. It will take courage to leave the familiarity of the prison we have known, but our hearts crave freedom. Freedom is our true nature.

“A garden was one of the few things in prison that one could control. To plant a seed, watch it grow, to tend it and then harvest it, offered a simple but enduring satisfaction. The sense of being the custodian of this small patch of earth offered a taste of freedom. In some ways, I saw the garden as a metaphor for certain aspects of my life. A leader must also tend his garden; he, too, plants seeds, and then watches, cultivates, and harvests the results. Like the gardener, a leader must take responsibility for what he cultivates.” Nelson Mandela

We find ourselves in a world that is perpetually focused on bad news and we are constantly bombarded with messages of impending doom. We become fearful that these disasters will steal our one and only chance at living a happy life. As years pass by, many of us become obsessed with avoiding what we don’t want to impact us, impairing our ability to enjoy what is going on right now. We are paralyzed with fear of the unknown and stay trapped in a repetition of the same choices leading to the same situations. Those who are experiencing a genuine crisis are constantly reminded of more to worry about. At times it seems impossible to know where to look to find a source of relief. As we search endlessly for something new to become, different to do, or just one more thing to buy, we are losing our connection with nature, yet this relationship is essential to our well-being.

Our modern society is immersed in an ocean of hyper-connectivity that delivers a tsunami of data. We are drowning in information, yet starving for wisdom. We carry devices with us that have the potential to connect us with anyone on the planet at any time. Unfortunately, many of us still feel lonely and isolated. We divide ourselves by nationality, religious and political views, race, gender and personal preferences. Our culture promotes individuality but also condemns anyone who strays too far from what is the acceptable norm. Is there any place that we can find common ground? I believe there is, and we are all standing on it. There is one unifying truth we can all agree upon. We are all residents of planet Earth. Once we remember how to connect to this truth while experiencing the healing gifts of nature, we are never really alone. That’s a connection that will never fail us.

“I love to think of nature as an unlimited broadcasting station, through which God speaks to us every hour, if we will only tune in.” George Washington Carver

In the midst of all of our distress and worry, planet Earth continues to grow and thrive. Trees stand tall, flowers blossom, brooks babble and songbirds serenade us. But many of us do not take the time to listen or notice this loveliness all around. On these pages, you will be given the opportunity to reinstate your elemental connection with nature. You will remember there is eloquent beauty in the natural world to focus on. There is always somewhere a person can go to find peace and that place is just outside of our door.

The truth is, we are part of nature and not separate from it.

By recognizing this one fact, we can find something we often feel is missing from our lives. By connecting with this boundless resource, we can enjoy an endless supply of relief that is always available.

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“Beauty surrounds us, but usually we need to be walking in a garden to know it.” Rumi

You Are A Gardener

You have been growing ever since the day you were born. Your body has changed, your perspective has changed and most importantly, you have expanded through the experiences of your life. It is impossible to keep everything just as it is. Have you ever noticed that the harder you try to hold on to something, the more quickly and easily it seems to get away? That is because it is our nature to evolve. The most successful people in long lasting relationships all continue to mature and change. Even if you feel completely stuck where you are right now, you know that you want to move forward. You want to expand your territory. You want to move past your perceived boundaries. Just think about the last time you had a new idea. Didn’t you feel the excitement of something new and fresh moving through your body? That idea was a seed for your future experiences. That knowing tells you there must be more for you, a whole new space to grow into.

remember, goodness grows,


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Being There


fullsizeoutput_197On a warm afternoon in the autumn of 1979, I settled into one of the cozy seats of the Key Theater in Georgetown along with three of my friends, ready to watch a comedy starring Peter Sellers and Shirley McLaine. Washington DC once had many of these tiny neighborhood theaters but unfortunately none of them remain today. We were hoping for not only a good laugh but also the fun of watching a movie that was filmed right in our own backyard because part of the production had been shot locally. I had also learned that a portion of the movie had been filmed at the extravagant Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina, a former Vanderbilt home, so I was looking forward to seeing some beautiful scenery. The film was Being There directed by Hal Ashby, but it was not at all what we expected.

In the film, Sellers’ character is a mentally simple man who cares for a garden, living a sheltered existence cloistered behind the walls of a protective benefactor’s home. When his employer dies, he is turned out into a harsh urban world with nothing more than his basic understanding of caring for plants. A string of ironic situations position him to become perceived as a wise man, Chauncey Gardener, even though he can only relate to the world by comparing it to his garden knowledge. He becomes quite celebrated and by the end of the movie is considered for appointment to a high office.

The final scene of this movie, the last film Sellers ever appeared in, may have been the most controversial of his career. His character, Chauncey, wanders away from a funeral and walks through the wintery landscape of a sumptuous estate. He stops to adjust the position of a small sapling pine tree that is bent over from the weight of snow, then proceeds to walk out onto the surface of a small lake.

The lake is not frozen. Chauncey then stops for a moment and pokes his closed umbrella into the water to test the depth. Un-phased, he continues to walk on water. The film ends without explanation other than a quote being read at the funeral, “Life is a state of mind.”

In the still silent theater, my friend Howard turned to me and blurted out, “Maybe Jesus was a gardener not a carpenter.” I laughed out loud as Annie responded, “I bet he was both.”

“I don’t know,” I said, “but all of a sudden, I don’t feel so bad about not going to college.”

At 21, I could have chosen to feel discouraged about many of the circumstances of my life. I had already been out on my own for four years and was pretty much making it one day at a time. My parents had divorced when I was nine years old and my sister ran away from home a couple of years later. That left me alone with my alcoholic mother until she picked up and moved to another city as soon as I graduated from high school. She didn’t even have a phone, so I really had no way of contacting her.

My feelings of abandonment were balanced by the relief I experienced knowing I could now explore the world without the fear and confusion that often clouds life with an addict. I had to figure things out pretty fast and found a job in a retail store along with a ridiculously tiny one room apartment. I barely had enough money to pay my rent, but I loved walking to work everyday. Taking the small streets near the campus of the University of Georgetown each morning, I could listen to the birds and watch for signs of the seasons changing.

I admired the sun setting over the Potomac River every evening as I walked home. I was just content to be there. Over those years I also collected a group of friends that I could call my family. Now and again, I would even scrape together enough money for a movie ticket.  Somehow I had risen above the situation and found myself to be a really happy person.

fullsizeoutput_196“Blessed are they who see beautiful things in humble places where other people see nothing.”  Camille Pissarro

always remember, goodness grows,


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Garden Vision


“If you release something old, something new can bloom.”  Cheryl Richardson

A big part of my job as a garden designer is to visit with people who would like to improve their view. I take this quite literally. I have always believed that just the right clients would call me at just the right moment, to look at just the right situation, because they needed a new perspective. They often think that they need a new garden, but I have learned that what is really needed is a new way to look at the garden they already have.

Once someone asked me if my garden consultations were complimentary. I had to laugh because all I could think was, yes, if it’s a pretty nice garden. The truth is, I am always able to see more potential in the situation than most of my clients are able to see. My job is mostly about finding appreciation for the inherent beauty that is sometimes hidden. The magic is taking that bit of beauty and then amplifying it. I also like to think of myself as someone who can make something out of nothing; I have a special talent for seeing what isn’t there yet.

My clients often invite me out to see their gardens in disrepair. They begin our visit by pointing out everything they do not like about this place where they are. Many speak of their own failures, inattentiveness and laziness as the cause of the garden’s current state of decline. Sometimes they declare there is nothing there of value at all. I am surprised to find their observations often mirror the way they see the circumstances of their life. Nothing has really worked out; they feel that they have failed, they missed their chance, they didn’t work hard enough and it’s all a mess. They no longer see the potential for improvement.

Now they need an objective coach.

They need a fresh pair of eyes that can offer a new vision.


I often play a game with my clients to access their imagination. By asking a lot of questions I engage a process that will shift their perceptions. I will say, “Let’s pretend that it is next year on the 4th of July and you are having a large party. Who is coming to visit your new garden? How many guests will attend? What will you be doing to have fun?” As they respond to my questions, they start to imagine their garden in the future. This is the garden they would like to live in. This is the garden we will co-create together.

I then begin to paint the elements of a new garden in my mind. I try out different components in various positions. I overlay my new reality upon what I see before me and begin to describe what could possibly develop. I suggest that a blank fence could become covered in vines with flowers and provide more privacy. I describe an outdoor kitchen and dining room where friends and family will gather to celebrate a meal together. I evoke quiet places to sit and look at the stars.

Most everyone knows intuitively that you need to care for a garden for it to thrive. You must water it and nourish it. You need to pull weeds and keep it tidy. All of this effort brings a harvest of results we can see. But how many of us are willing to give this same attention to our lives? Are we willing to use our imagination and then do the work to get the outcome we desire? If we only focus on the mess in front of us how can we create a better future?

Not everyone can see the garden I am envisioning. They are often stuck with the idea of what they see before them and that is a pretty big problem. The solution is never really part of the problem. The solution is somewhere in the field of infinite possibilities. You can only reach that field with your imagination.

The solution is in the realm of pure positive potential. You must step into the field of the unknown to find the new fresh idea.

You need what I call garden vision.

Always remember, goodness grows,


DSC00371“Gardening is an exercise in optimism. Sometimes, it is a triumph of hope over experience. Gardening is the art that uses flowers and plants as paint, and the soil and sky as canvas.” Elizabeth Murray

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Seeing Differently

photo 5Okay, I admit it.

I was the one who ruined it for everyone.

When I was a little kid, during one of my many outdoor adventures, I played with sticks. You already know what happened; I poked my eye out. Because of me, generations of mothers have outlawed sticks as toys. My friend and I were having a battle with some skinny sticks, and I guess he poked one way and I stepped the other way, and somehow the stick was stuck in my eye. I do not remember the sensation of pain but it seemed as though everything stopped and then became like a movie playing out in slow motion.

I do remember the look of horror on my father’s face as he stood on the back porch with our screen door wide open. He had been visiting with the parent of the friend I was playing with, and it must’ve been pretty shocking to see his little girl with a stick stuck in her eye. Mayhem ensued. A tornado of activity erupted as my father scooped me up and ran screaming for my mother to come help. I know that they called an ambulance but somehow I just wasn’t frightened; in fact, I hardly reacted at all. My mother was worried I was in some kind of shock.

Once we arrived at the hospital, there was a surgery performed to remove the stick. Afterward, there was a patch taped over my right eye. My parents were waiting anxiously for a doctor to arrive, but I spent my time experimenting with the eye patch. I had to turn my head all the way to the right to look and see the door. On the wall next to the door hung a large clock, and I had to turn my head to look out of the door and then shift my head back to see the clock. I had to play with my perception in a whole new way. I just kept wondering, “Is this how it will be from now on?”

It was a rather serious injury because the stick had ruptured my optic nerve, but they were able to remove it with hopes of a complete recovery. I don’t think the doctors really knew if I would lose my vision in that eye. We were sent back home to wait and see, or not see.

As it turned out, I recovered beautifully. For a time I wore the patch but that didn’t slow me down a bit. The patch was just more fodder for my imagination. I continued to wander around my backyard and into the adjoining meadow on my big adventures. I loved to pretend that I was a pirate hunting for treasure which included leaves and stones, and to my mother’s dismay, more sticks.

The damage to my optic nerve was permanent. There is a scar that causes me to have to adapt in the way that I see. My vision is not completely impaired but my ability to focus has been modified. I have wondered if on some unconscious level, I knew this was supposed to happen. Could this event have been pre-arranged at a higher level to facilitate my vision being adjusted? I really don’t know, but if hindsight is 20/20, I would have to say it is pretty unusual for a small child to remain completely calm when so dramatically injured. Perhaps my higher-self just knew that everything happens for a reason. My new way of seeing would serve me very well in the years to come.

Now I truly see the world differently than everyone else. Sometimes, I will visit an optometrist and they will accuse me of not wanting to see correctly. The doctor will administer the usual test. While dialing up potential settings on a sophisticated machine, he asks, is this better, or is that better, only becoming confused by my answers. There are so many choices; one click to the right followed by two clicks to the left, all of them look interesting to me. It’s almost like asking if you prefer a Monet or the Van Gough. Each lens provides a filter with a different point of view. I don’t really want to choose just one. Some doctors become frustrated because they say the way I see does not make any sense. But it makes sense to me.

I just see the world in another way, and that is really what my life is all about.



“It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.”  Henry David Thoreau


always remember, goodness grows,


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The Garden of Youth

Most children beg their parents for toys or candy, but as a child, I was completely obsessed with packets of seeds. I would stand by the towering racks in the grocery store, looking up at all of the small packages with beautiful pictures of delicious potential, simply amazed by all the possibility. Could there really be a watermelon in that tiny packet? I was fascinated with the idea that an entire plant could come out of a small seed. On rare occasions my mother would give in and buy me a pack or two. 


“All the flowers of all the tomorrows are in the seeds of today.”  Native American Proverb

I had no idea how to properly plant a seed so I would sprinkle them all around our suburban yard. I put them in the grass, along the fence, and even in between the cracks of the sidewalk. Then I would go out each day and wait for signs of a plant to appear. Sometimes they did, but then my father would cut them down accidentally while he was mowing the lawn. I don’t really remember ever being very successful but that never discouraged me. One time I did manage to get some zinnia seeds growing into small plants and when they bloomed, it was the best thing I had ever seen. There were precious few blossoms now and again, but I found them more enticing than a fanciful stack of unopened birthday gifts. Everyday I knelt on the ground to admire their individual colors. Each vibrant petal sang a song that filled my heart with joy.

In my imaginary world I was a huge success. I actually believed that I had a farm. I even went so far as to convince my parents to allow me to keep a chicken for a pet. I also persuaded my father to build a tiny pond out of concrete so that I could cultivate some water plants and a few tadpoles. At the height of my fanciful game, I adopted an invisible friend. His name was Who-Choo, and he was such a entertaining character that often my real friends would join in and play along with him. We had a special song that we sang as we marched around my farm with him leading the way. The surprising part about Who-Choo was that he was only twelve inches tall, and he was an invisible cow.


“There is always music amongst the trees in the garden, but our heart must be very quiet to hear it.”  Minnie Aumonier

Gardeners are fundamentally optimistic about the future. I have never met a gardener who planted a seed and then said, “That probably won’t grow.” In fact, gardeners often error in favor of unrealistic dreams of success. We expect bushels of tomatoes as we ease a tiny seedling into the soil. Gardeners imagine armloads of flowers and legions of butterflies as we sow our zinnia seeds. We know the slender sapling of an oak tree that now needs to be propped up with a post will one day be strong enough to support our back as we rest under its canopy of shade. Gardeners know how to use their imagination and envision all the good that can come from small beginnings.

Always remember, goodness grows,


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Introduction to the “Seventh Season, Wisdom From The Garden Of Life”

A journey to remembering your true nature with 7 simple tools that will cultivate a garden of inner peace

photo 1

“Look deep into nature, and you will understand everything better.”  Albert Einstein


Life of a Gardener

There is a big difference between loneliness and solitude. While out in gardens, I spend a good bit of my time on my own, but I never feel alone. Every garden has its own personality and many of my acquaintances happen to be trees, and finches, and flowers. I look forward to visiting with them. Sometimes people even ask me if I am Mother Nature. I tell them no, she is just a very good friend.

Working outside everyday and witnessing nature’s abundance and enduring strength has lead me to understand that we are all part of a never-ending story. Each tender bud that emerges in springtime, followed by every jubilant blossom that awakens in summer, play their part to perfection. Each brilliant leaf dancing in autumn’s windswept ballet and every stoic oak tree that stands fast in winter’s fury contribute their own unique role. They know every line by heart. Rediscovering our place within this story will bring us back home.

We are all the gardeners of our own lives and every step of our journey plays an integral part in the process of growing. It is possible to move through the transitions of our lives with ease, in the same way that nature does not struggle or resist change. The adaptability of our planet is inspiring, with its power to recover readily and continue to grow. By aligning with her powerful example, we can cultivate a way to thrive even during the most difficult times.

There is a great deal of scientific evidence that points to human activity creating climatic change and major shifts in the ecology of our planet. Many are fearful that if we continue to poison the earth we will make it uninhabitable. I prefer to remain optimistic about the future. I am placing my bet on our ability to realign ourselves with nature and wake up to healthier systems of commerce, transportation and energy. The processes of nature contain many clues to the technologies that we seek. The earth has been functioning successfully for billions of years. It will continue to evolve, with us, or without us. This is a crossroads for humans, but not for the earth. We need to learn how to bring nature home, back into every aspect of our lives. I believe we can do this together, one garden at a time.

It would be wonderful if you and I could build an actual garden together. We could co-create a sanctuary for your spirit. A peaceful retreat from your everyday worries that would help you remember your vital connection with nature. I have helped hundreds of my clients find an enhanced sense of serenity once they experience this process of building and enjoying a garden. I wish that I could help you in the same way.

But even after all these years, I still haven’t figured out how to be in more than one place at once. For that reason, I have created this book to give you a sense of what it’s like to live with the fundamental understanding of the harmony to be found in nature. We can build a garden of imagination together. While journeying through these pages, I hope you will gain a new perspective and experience a place of serenity to come back and visit again and again. Traveling here, you will find that your life is a garden that continues to grow.

Finding The Seventh Season

It’s been my great fortune to spend most of my days outside during the last twenty years while working as a professional garden designer and coach. I have received the great benefit of experiencing, first hand, all that nature offers. It continues to be one of my greatest pleasures to help others achieve their own alignment with nature’s healing energy. Many times I have seen the difference living and learning from the lessons a garden can make in someone’s life. As my clients begin to focus on what is growing all around them, they see new growth in other areas of their lives and a positive shift in their overall point of view. This is why I wanted to write this book and share my method for cultivating a new way of looking at the landscape of our lives. Once we apply simple principles from nature to our individual circumstances, we can discover a new way to flourish.

My clients often ask me what gives me such a uniquely optimistic perspective. Although I have faced periods of extreme hardship in my life, those inevitable times of instability and turmoil, I have not run away. Even as a small child I always knew where to go to find relief. Certain that I couldn’t make some challenges disappear, I chose instead to look for something else I could appreciate. I discovered that I could go outside and watch clouds in the sky, pick leaves up off the ground, or look for something that was blooming to find a bit of serenity. Using this connection with nature as a source of fulfillment still works for me today, and it will also work for you.

The artistry of nature’s rhythms are a symphony for the soul. The beauty we witness in nature is a gateway to the supreme serenity, our true essence. Whatever we choose to call our spiritual source of comfort, there is certainly one materialized form of unbounded creativity we can all easily observe. The Earth is our most precious gift and a constant reminder of divine love. Somewhere, long ago, we may have forgotten this most essential relationship. The history of mankind is filled with disagreements and horrific battles in the name of our individual beliefs. Yet, the eloquence of nature is the one universal language we can all understand. Songs of peace are whispered in the wind. Lessons of courage are revealed to us in the mountains. Who among us cannot hear the lullaby sung as each ocean tide sweeps the shore? Within this beauty, each one of us can experience a source of enduring comfort and abiding peace. Here in the presence of nature we can discard our differences and dissolve our false sense of separation.

I can’t honestly say everything in my life has always been easy, and just like you, I’ve traveled rough roads. Sometimes I’ve even had to set up camp and live there. Even when life’s hardships made me feel as though I was completely stuck, there was one place that never stopped growing. After years of searching, I finally discovered a home in The Seventh Season. This enduring haven is available for each and everyone of us. I sincerely hope this book will become your trusted guide for finding a path to a lasting source of joy and your own prospering garden of inner peace.

“Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature. It will never fail you.”  Frank Lloyd Wright


Always remember, goodness grows,


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One Hundred Days

IMG_7820It takes about one hundred days to grow a parsnip, or a cabbage. Lima beans or peas, even a potato takes about one hundred days to be ready to eat. That’s a lot of waiting if your hungry. You have to be patient.


“Nature does not hurry, though everything is accomplished.”  Lao Tzu

If you are part of a community garden, other things might be ready sooner and we can all share as the harvest rolls in. Some people will grow things that others have no interest in, for example rutabaga. Why anyone would put their time and attention into cultivating these is beyond me. They are a cross between a bitter turnip and a pungent green cabbage and can “perfume” an entire house with a distinctive aroma when cooked. Many a childhood drama has played out at family dinner tables over the lowly rutabaga. But to each their own. I can’t control what my neighbor chooses to grow. Perhaps he thinks my lima beans are nasty and inedible. So, we share what we can and withhold our judgements.

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“Cultivate your own garden and let go of your tendency to examine and judge how others cultivate theirs. Catch yourself in moments of gossip about how others ought to be living and rid yourself of thoughts about how they should be doing it this way, or how they have to right to live and think as they do. Stay busy and involved in your own life projects and pursuits and you will be far too busy to care, much less compel others to believe and live as you do.”  Dr. Wayne Dyer

What good is it for us to complain about someone else’s garden?  There is more strength in paying attention to our own choices than disagreeing with those of others. Our ability to focus is a form of currency that we need to spend wisely. Let’s concentrate our intention and attention on creating all the good we want to see growing in the world. Then we will see our efforts truly blossom into reality.

remember, goodness grows,


Posted in Garden Stories, Inspiration, One Hundred Days | Tagged , | 2 Comments

Beginning Again


Here in Central Texas, Spring wakes up one morning and jumps right out of bed. Overnight, verdant green replaces the crispy brown covering hillsides and the world awakens to blossom and bird song. Our famous bluebonnets poke their heads up and sweep along road shoulders, beckoning every amateur photographer to pull over and take a shot. Branches thicken and tender buds emerge, whispering to gardeners that it’s now time to plant fresh seeds.

Garden centers are overrun with eager customers buying loaded flats of this and enticing little packs of that. Seed displays are often right there by the checkout, much like the candy positioned seductively in view of children waiting in the grocery store line. With the best of intentions we gather up pack after pack of fabulous potential. Unfortunately, most seeds stay in the pretty little packages that they came in. We admire those lovely pictures on the front and think about how nice it would be to have veggies and flowers. But if we want to see the real thing growing, we will have to get up and get to work. It’s only a first step, sowing those seeds. We must commit to tending, nurturing and watering through a long season ahead, all in hope of something good to come.


“Though I do not believe that a plant will spring up where no seed has been, I have great faith in a seed. Convince me that you have a seed there, and I am prepared to expect wonders.”  Henry David Thoreau

Using our imagination we can assemble everything needed to bring that little seed into our garden and plant it. We can envision what it will be like for a blossom or fruit to develop, but we also realize that to manifest something into reality, it takes more than just hope. There will be actual work involved. We must now dedicate time and effort to a future we intend to experience. If our intention to grow is the fuel of manifestation, our emotions are the match that can light it. Once you have an idea you like, it’s pretty easy to put yourself into a position feel enthusiastic about it. Our deliberate desire to grow something new provides the emotional fuel that cracks open a seed, thus beginning its journey toward fulfillment.


“Every moment of every man’s Life on earth plant something in his soul.”  Thomas Merton

When you have eagerness to begin anew, you send out your own tender buds. You reach for the light and allow your first leaves to unfold.  You are full of hope, yet entirely exposed. You are taking a risk when dedicating yourself to the process of growing. If you are like most of us, you may feel a little unsure about your ability to succeed. Maybe your last endeavor was not entirely triumphant. Perhaps nothing thrived or a tangle of problem weeds took over. Something unexpected may have emerged, or the harvest was meager. This uncertainty can feel perilous but there is no potential for reward without taking another chance.


“To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow.” Audrey Hepburn

In the garden of life, we have no guarantees; we have no way of being sure how it will all turn out. Yet, here we are again, ready to plant. This moment is transcendent. If we can take this first step into the unknown, we can create something new in our future.

All of your power returns to you once you combine your desire with the willingness to begin. The act of sowing a seed is a triumph over any past disappointments or regrets. In fact, it is a miracle. It is a bold statement that you are taking charge of your destiny. Manifesting the garden of your dreams can become your reality once you remember that you are the gardener. You have the ability to take that power and create your own bit of heaven on earth. Believe in yourself, and you will see the world change before your eyes.


“Your positive expectations are seeds planted in your favor, which will successfully grow into uplifting experiences.”  Doreen Virtue

remember, goodness grows,


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Endings and New Beginnings

Goodbye 2016.

Napoleon Hill once said,  “Every negative event contains within it the seed of an equal or greater benefit.” For many of my friends this New Year’s Eve carries a greater significance because 2016 wrought havoc with their dreams, robbed them of loved ones and bestowed so many disappointments. In numerology 2016 is reduced to 9 and is therefore a year of endings. So many endings. I too have suffered painful moments this past year but as always I turn toward the coming year and a new season with the eyes of a gardener.

Painted in Waterlogue

“A garden never knows when it’s over.”  Paula Deitz

Gardeners are incredibly resilient and always ready to start again, especially when it comes to caring for our gardens. We never give up. I think it could be because gardeners are focused on the future. We can let go of the past without remorse or regret. We understand from our experiences that often the adversity we encounter in our garden can open up the potential for making it even better.

There is a continuous cycle of renewal to be observed in nature. The frozen winter landscape may appear devoid of life but underneath the surface of the soil there is significant growth taking place. The roots continue to nourish the life force that rests and replenishes itself, gaining strength before it resurges into the sprouts of spring. What may seem to be a time of hardship may actually be a necessary period of dormancy that is needed to crack open the vibrant being that will reemerge and eventually flourish.

IMG_2143“The seed cannot know what is going to happen. The seed has never known the flower. The seed cannot even believe that he has the potentiality to become a beautiful flower.” Osho

During challenging seasons, it may seem as though everything in ours lives is falling apart.  But we are still here for a reason that may not be visible now. Deep inside ourselves there is a potential that will be birthed by our internal struggle and turmoil. This pressure may be just what is needed to push us beyond the limits of what we have imagined before. The transformation that is taking place may be exactly what is needed for us to grow into the next season of our life.

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“What the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the master calls a butterfly.”  Richard Bach

Let’s all welcome 2017 with arms outstretched and celebrate what is unfolding. And pass me my shovel, there is some pretty good compost left over from last year!

As always, I remain optimistic about the future.

remember goodness grows,


Posted in Adversity, Garden Stories, Inspiration | Tagged , , | 4 Comments