Nature Photography: Coexistence (No. 39): Gardening And Tai Chi

29 July 2019


Click onto image to enlarge. Let me know your response to this image. Prints are available upon request. 


As a seasoned gardener I recently realized that my relationship with nature is much like the rhythm of the martial art, Tai Chi: slow and graceful with the ability to give and receive, a sort of interactive balancing act.

In martial arts there are specific movements that are repeated and repeated, because mastery is continuous, evergreen and just seemingly out of grasp. Individuals practice for years, and it always seems new and rejuvenating.

Gardening also is an act of repetition that always feels fresh and revitalizing, because it keeps the mind in the present and living in the moment. Attention is placed in the act itself: caring, cultivating, designing, re-imaging and maintaining. It’s an ongoing flow of emotions through renewal as the work is repeated. The physical movements help to nourish the body and soul, and yet give spiritual contentment.

This exchange between the doing and the receiving in a safe sanctuary is a fundamental tenet of each–tai chi and gardening–give rise to the notion of peace and tranquility in the mist of life’s challenges. Each move in a martial is a dance of physical prowess, a way to slow down and honor time and myself. Gardening does the same: equally nourishing and taking me to a quiet, serene place, away from the traumas of the outer world. Providing me inner strength to be still as I am moving.


In the Lens section is a new addition to my gardens: crimson clover. It partners with my new wildflower garden and their symbiosis is visibly stunning. This particular clover is cultivated for its overall effects of deep reds and greens, and as important its ability to add nitrogen to the soil. As a cover crop it can be grown any time of year, but it’s meant to wintered over. I plan to plant more in a few weeks. This singular example of this eloquent and simple flowering beauty is a surprising discovery of the 2019 gardening season.



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20 Responses to Nature Photography: Coexistence (No. 39): Gardening And Tai Chi

  1. The image is exquisite!

  2. Prior... says:

    Your crimson clover is a nice 2019 addition indeed
    And your thoughts about the repeated aspects of gardening were interesting

  3. Tina Schell says:

    Love your image this week Sally – it really looks like a feather duster. Interesting analogy between gardening and Tai-chi as well, hadn’t thought of that but makes perfect sense.

  4. Amy says:

    This image is like a poem. Beautifully presented, Sally. 🙂

  5. smilecalm says:

    beautifully delicate
    expression of connection
    to nature, Sally 🙂

  6. Forestwood says:

    It is true, Sally, one has the sense of communing with nature when gardening. Feeling the earth between our fingers, the smell of new forked soil, the excitement of new buds on existing plants. It is another form of creativity, and replenishment for the earth. I haven’t been over to your blog for a hile, so I find it just as joyful and uplifting as ever. Fantastically delicate image, Sally.

  7. pattimoed says:

    What a gorgeous, graceful shot. I love the composition, light, and color here, Sally. Beautiful. And thanks too for the name… “crimson clover.”

  8. Tish Farrell says:

    A very lovely image, Sally, and as one who used to practise tai chi, I love both your visual and verbal connections between the form and gardening. Such a peace-inducing composition, and red clover, too, a powerful healing herb.

  9. I like your photo today. The Clover looks like a paint brush that was just used to apply a swash of crimson on a canvas. I was unaware that it could winter-over in the garden. it might work for us this year in ours.
    Happy Monday,

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