Inspired by inspiration

A common example of my creative output. This is just one piece of scrap paper on which I’ve jotted down some inspiring creative thoughts while watching gardening television shows.
A common example of my creative output. This is just one piece of scrap paper on which I’ve jotted down some inspiring creative thoughts while watching gardening television shows.

INSPIRATION comes in many forms for artists.

It’s a little known fact that Brett Whitely used to listen to a wide range of music when painting, probably all loaded onto his paint-stained iPod.

For garden artists such as myself, it is no different. And everyone out there who considers themself an artist in their backyard (although you probably won’t have a

TAFE certificate or diploma to authentically verify your status), then inspiration is one of the most important factors before undertaking any project.

Once upon a time, gardeners drew inspiration from nature. Now, “nature” comes with a screen, and that screen is generally 32 inches (minimum) and either LCD or LED, perhaps with a BluRay player attached, and Video Ezy’s copy of the Smurfs that got left in there from the holidays.

The point is, much inspiration comes from the media these days. But are you utilising that media for as much as it is artistically worth?

For instance, do you simply plonk yourself down in front of the television set and just “end up” watching Gardening Australia because the repeat of David and Margaret At the Movies is on straight after it?

There is much to be gained in taking an active role in how inspiration comes through the media.

For instance, when watching a gardening television show, have a notebook handy to write down the names of the various plants mentioned.

Let’s face it- the days of sending in a stamped, self-addressed envelope for a Burke’s Backyard Fact Sheet are long gone.

Start to watch these shows with an intense focus on detail. What’s the pH of that fertiliser? How much soil did they use to top dress that yard? Would Rob Palmer from Better Homes and Garden just keep on grinning if he sawed right through his forearm?

For those more inclined to listen to the wireless while they are in the garden, down the shed or performing a hemispherectomy, there are several gardening talkback shows, the majority of which seem to be on the local ABC on a Friday morning.

In between listening to a bloke say “a handful of sulphate of potash mixed into a bucket of water until cloudy” time and time again, occasionally there’ll be something of interest that will spark the creativity bug within you.

I’ve often found trying to draw a sketch of the plant being described as a great way to lead to further inspiration. (Usually though, it ends up with me just trying to draw the ABC logo in one single stroke, which is fascinating in itself.)

Everyone on the internet is an automatic expert and there are plenty of horticulturists out there willing to put their mug behind an online video clip or series of “how to” photos.

They can be a great source of determination to do something better.

Overall, all media forms can help promote the message of gardening and interacting in the backyard.

Or at the very least, provide plenty of material for a gardening parody series (wouldn’t we all love to see that?).

Tip of the Month:

It’s easy to turn a swimming pool into a fish breeding facility, but harder to turn it back again. Keep this in mind when you next have the urge to get into aquaculture.

  • Watch Better Backyard webisodes on Facebook or YouTube: ssiehort
  • Want more great* gardening tips? Follow Gherkin on Twitter @GherkinJarvis

    * May or may not always be great.

    Better Backyards with Gherkin JarvisSelf-proclaimed gardening expert and carpet enthusiast, Gherkin Jarvis, brings you his thoughts on Australia’s great lifestyle tradition, the backyard.


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