“I am a mad gardener. I mutter and rant, and at night, I shake dry seeds out of my unruly mane of hair. I’m constantly visiting my local hydroponics equipment supplier. The garden is in my bones, in my gut, and in my hands that pearl sweat at the first hint from the overturned soil of March that it is time to sow Cherokee beans again in the open ground. And although I am a civil person, I am at my best when left completely alone at nightfall to spread that last wheelbarrow of aged horse manure around the base of the budded-out black currant plants from England.” -Wendy Johnson

I have the great good fortune to call this darling and wise woman my neighbor and friend. Wendy just recently published a new book, both poetic and practical – Gardening at the Dragon’s Gate: At Work in the Wild and Cultivated World. A Buddhist meditation teacher and organic gardening mentor, Wendy weaves together stories and advice about cultivating the earth with spiritual insights gleaned from her many years at Green Gulch Zen Center. The writing is as rich as good, well-composted soil. I have been savoring it, reading pages before bedtime to inspire garden dreams. Her book has inspired me that much that I’m going to go out and buy the necessary gardening tools and items that I may need to help start my gardening journey. I’m already considering what dimensions I’ll need for some cut to size railway sleepers I’ll repurpose for the space, and i’m considering the different vegetables and flowers I want to bloom across the garden. It’s fun to think about, and reminds me of her writing every time. Actually, if I do this I may definitely need to think about having some storage sheds introduced to my garden so that I have enough room to store all of this new stuff that I’m going to buying to help me get my dream garden.

Last month, I invited Wendy over to my studio to be interviewed for the latest Arts and Healing Podcast. We spoke about the healing power of gardening, the benefits of community gardening, creating memorial gardens, tips on gardening with children, environmentalism, and more. I invite you listen to this podcast either by downloading the podcast via iTunes, or clicking here to listen to the podcast directly on your computer (use the audio player on the right hand side).

The Arts & Healing Podcast is part of the Arts and Healing Network and is produced by my good friend and blogger/podcaster Britt Bravo – you might also enjoy her blog, Have Fun Do Good.