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Digging Deep: Unearthing Your Creative Roots Through Gardening

Digging Deep: Unearthing Your Creative Roots Through Gardening

4.8 7
by Fran Sorin

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For experienced and would-be gardeners alike, this beautiful book leads readers through a process of creative discovery that encourages them to bloom right along with their gardens.

Now more than ever, people are looking for activities that help them to relax and connect with the world—and nothing accomplishes this goal more completely than gardening. By tuning


For experienced and would-be gardeners alike, this beautiful book leads readers through a process of creative discovery that encourages them to bloom right along with their gardens.

Now more than ever, people are looking for activities that help them to relax and connect with the world—and nothing accomplishes this goal more completely than gardening. By tuning in to the processes of the natural world, millions have discovered that gardening acts as a conduit for experiencing creativity—not just in the garden, but in life. Now, gardening expert Fran Sorin offers this practical, prescriptive, and motivational book to teach readers to use gardening as both a metaphor and a tool for exploring and enhancing creativity in all areas of life. With evocative illustrations and a series of eye-opening, inspirational exercises, Digging Deep encourages gardeners of all levels to enjoy their gardens more deeply and to set their creative selves free.

Author Biography: Fran Sorin lives in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Part motivational narrative and part garden design advisory, this book puts forth "tools for creative awakening" through gardening. Sorin, the owner of a garden design business and the gardening expert for iVillage.com, takes hesitant but motivated home gardeners by the hand and leads them down the path toward a satisfying horticultural experience. Through a process of designing the garden from concept to plan to plants in the ground, Sorin invites readers to develop a personal vision rather than conform to expectations or rules, offering a series of activities and exercises to guide this process. She focuses on interests and ideas rather than technical concerns with plant life zones (although short lists of items like key tools and rose care are included). Suitable to complement a body of more traditional garden design resources.-Jennifer Burek Pierce, Indiana Univ. SLIS, Indianapolis Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
From the Publisher
"...teaches the art of living creatively...a profound and inspiring book." -- Andrew Weil, MD, Spontaneous Happiness

“...inspiring stories, creative exercises, practical gardening tips...bloom along with your garden.” -- Marci Shimoff, Happy for No Reason

“Captivating and enchanting!" -- Amy Stewart, The Drunken Botanist

Product Details

Hachette Book Group
Publication date:
Edition description:
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.52(d)

Read an Excerpt

Digging Deeply

Unearthing Your Creative Roots through Gardening
By Fran Sorin

Warner Books

Copyright © 2004 Fran Sorin
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0-446-53166-9

Chapter One


The Sparks of Creativity

TO IMAGINE is to see possibilities, to envision realities that do not yet exist, and to map out secret paths not yet charted. Our imaginations are our own personal mental playgrounds, where we release our dreams to romp without risk or fear. It is here, in the inner regions of our psyches, that we are free to explore who we truly are and let our thoughts and wishes run wild. It is here that we cook up all our fantasies, our deepest desires, and, very often, all the hopes and longings that we never share with another living soul. It is from this wellspring that we draw the inspiration that serves as the spark for our creative fires.

When I was a little girl, I had a wild imagination. I spun all sorts of ideas and fantasies around in my head that would brim over into impromptu theatrical performances. I exclaimed! I bemoaned! I exulted! I felt so much, and expressed it all. My mother nicknamed me Tallulah, after the legendary actress and diva Tallulah Bankhead, if that gives you any idea what I was like. But somehow I got the message as a child that it wasn't good to be that way: that I should not let out all my emotions and imaginings for all the world to see. My teachers would often sigh with exasperation and say, "Oh, Frannie, what are we going to do with you?"

I had no one with whom I could share my excitement over very important matters such as finding a fuzzy caterpillar clinging to the windowsill outside my bedroom, or how much fun it was to try on my mother's high heels and parade down the makeshift catwalk I constructed in our suburban living room, so out of the overspill of imagination I created an equally ecstatic imaginary friend named Locky Lee Boom Boom. Locky Lee and I would have fabulous tea parties and make endless lists of boys we liked (and boys who smelled funny), exotic places we planned to visit one day, and whom we would thank when we won our first Academy Award. Locky Lee was always right there, ready to play in whatever scenario I could dream up.

Somehow, life gives us the message loud and clear that imagination is a Sunday-afternoon luxury that we should put away as we mature. As many of us grow up and add on degrees and jobs and all the other stuff that is part of life, we bid farewell to our Locky Lee Boom Booms and dreams of distant memory and do what the world signals as necessary: look ahead, set goals, stick to the game plan. It is the rare few who are able-or who dare-to retain that childlike sense of wonder and become what we eventually call artistic, creative, gifted. Sometimes we even call them weird. But secretly, we sense that they are somehow better off than we-perhaps happier, more blessed.

They aren't any different from us, really, except in one fundamental way: Their imaginations refused to be pushed underground. They live of and through their dreams, not through effort, but by nature. The most miraculous thing about imagination is that it never dies, no matter how many layers of life and work we pile on top of it.

The opportunity to revisit and rekindle our dreams and imaginative powers is always there. Imagination is not something we have to cultivate; it is who we are in our most private realms, and all we need to do to access it is open the internal windows and set it free.

It is there in every single one of us. I promise! I have seen even the most buttoned-down, serious types come alive like little kids in their gardens once they let themselves go and start to play.

Martin, for instance, was one of my first clients. He brought me in to design the landscaping of his new home, which was purchased for him by his employer when they moved him and his family from Chicago. Martin was all business: We met at 8:30 A.M. sharp, and he let me know right away what the budget was and how soon he expected the work to be completed. I can still remember the look on his face when I said, "Okay, then, why don't we start by talking a little bit about what you imagine for this space?"

I could tell this wasn't on Martin's agenda, but I had been referred to him by his new boss, so I think he felt he had to go along with the program. He took off his jacket and sat down at the kitchen table with me, and we started to talk about different ideas.

At first Martin was reluctant to say much, but I sensed there was something under there, so I pressed. Well, wouldn't you know that within forty-five minutes, Martin had pulled out a box of his son's colored pencils and was excitedly sketching out "just a few thoughts" he had? It was amazing to watch the transformation: The hard lines of his face softened, and his whole body seemed looser and more relaxed as he drew. Two hours later, when he walked me to the door, I would swear I was shaking the hand of a whole other person from the one I met on the way in.

A garden can be a wonderful place to reopen the window to your imagination, especially when it isn't yet a garden at all, but rather a blank space that you hope to transform into a garden. An untouched piece of land is such pure opportunity, just like a clean canvas or a fresh piece of white paper. In its nakedness, it is raw possibility. Onto it you can project any vision or wish you like, continually erasing and trying new mental pictures, again and again.

This initial stage is about sparking our creative memories, opening ourselves up to a sense of freedom and possibility, awakening the stirrings of play and spontaneity. The only thing you need to do from the outset is to commit to not having any agenda and not worrying about what will work and what won't work. There is nothing to figure out here-nothing you need to accomplish, no puzzle you need to solve. You can't claim your imaginative powers through force. A sense of wonder is not something to achieve, but rather something to awaken, moment by precious moment.

Even Albert Einsten, whose very name has become synonymous with intelligence, once remarked, "Imagination is more important than knowledge."


Excerpted from Digging Deeply by Fran Sorin Copyright © 2004 by Fran Sorin. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

Fran Sorin is an author, gardening and creativity expert, coach, and speaker. She is the CBS radio news gardening correspondent, where her Digging Deep features are broadcast several times a week throughout the United States.

She spent years as a gardening authority on Philadelphia’s Fox and NBC stations, was the regular gardening contributor on NBC’s Weekend Today Show, and made several appearances on CNN, MSNBC, HGTV, Lifetime, DIY, and the Discovery Channel.

Fran is also the co-founder and contributor to the highly acclaimed and award-winning blog, GardeningGoneWild.com

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Digging Deep: Unearthing Your Creative Roots Through Gardening 4.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really enjoy gardening and I appreciate the extra inspiration I have after reading "Digging Deep". Fran Sorin has done an amazing job of not only encouraging the reader to explore their creativity through her 7 stages, but she also gives awesome tips and information throughout the book. I also liked the ideas and projects that are given to help us use our new found creativity. I had already planned to do a container garden since I live on a military base and cannot have a traditional garden but now I have been drawing out a plan and researching all kinds of things on pinterest and DIY networks. I have always felt creative in some areas as I make handmade things for a living but I am very grateful to Mrs. Sorin for helping to ignite the passion I have always had for building, being outdoors, and watching things grow that I have planted with my own hands. I look forward to completing some of the projects suggested and I cannot wait until I can get my hands in the soil. This book would make a perfect gift for a newbie gardener or an experienced veteran gardener!!! I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
LindaMarie07 More than 1 year ago
Gardening is indeed soulful. The reason it is soulful is because it is a return to our childlike selves. As the author explains, our childlike selves are who we really are. I have always had trepidation about gardening. I just did not want to make mistakes and felt a bit apart from nature. But this book made me feel that mistakes are what make gardens even more precious. The evolution in gardening is a growing process in us. The “To Try” portions at the end of each chapter are a good source of ideas to planting a garden. One chapter is about how garden reflects your own moods and tones. I never thought of gardens as an extension of our own emotions in connection with nature. Every word on every page is a love story to nature. Whether you are a beginner, like me, or at an intermediate or advanced stage of gardening this book is for you. Anyone who is looking to express themselves creatively by planting flowers, plants, shrubs, and trees will experience true beauty. I have been taught, and am the better for it. I received a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Has lots of information on the gardening subjects and can be very helpfull for creative ideas.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I usually don't write reviews about books but with this one I couldn't help myself! What an inspirational book. Read it in one sit down. Everyone should have a copy of this on their bookshelves!
Guest More than 1 year ago
My secretary lent me this book because she says I keep on talking about getting a few flowers and I never do anything about it! And she was tired of coming to bar-b-ques on my cement patio! The book was such a joy. At about the third chapter I started doing the homework assignments and now I have 2 bromeliads and a tree shrub (whose name I can't remember, but the author, Fran Sorin, points our that that doesn't matter!) I bought the book for my Mom and we actually went to a nursery last weekend (where I got that tree shrub)! All I can say, is that I feel like my life is fuller, and I don't know exactly why, but Digging Deep talks about that's what happens when you start to pay attention to the plant life around you. And so, I just want to say to anyone who is reading this... PAY ATTENTION TO FRAN SORIN'S BOOK because it really opens your eyes and makes life so much fun. Even when I am driving long distances to cover my sales territory - I notice the trees and grasses in the medians.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Fran Sorin, in the most elegant, yet simple way, assists each of us who has ever listed reasons why we can't do something. She uses the garden as a metaphor for our creative souls. She gives us practical, useful tasks for approaching the garden and ourselves while sharing personal anecdotes from her work in her own and others' gardens. This is a different gardening book because it faces the fears and limitations we all impose on ourselves. Anyone who has ever faced an empty pot, a barren plot of ground, or a blank page can benefit from this unusual link to creativity and gardening.
Guest More than 1 year ago
We loved Fran Sorin`s book.If flowers and plants could talk,they will say one big thank you to Fran.She is a gift to all of us with her great ability to make gardeningfun,simple and relaxing.You will go very far Fran.keep up your gift of writing.