We're approaching the part of the summer where my gardens start to look a bit bedraggled. The heat of the season has taken its toll on the containers, beds and borders. It's easy to walk through the landscape and see all the places that are worse for the wear and wonder if I'll ever make it to autumn. While the past couple of weeks have given us some reprieve in the form of cooler temperatures (it's 58F as I write this) and much-needed precipitation (1.7" this week alone), a month of summer remains ahead.
When I look at my garden, and the rough spots stand out more than beauty, I know it's time for two things.
First, I'll grab a yard waste bag and my hand pruners and give the garden a haircut. An hour of removing spent flowers, damaged foliage and browning stems makes an enormous difference in the overall look of the garden.
But more importantly, I know it's time for my August adjustment of how I see the garden. For me, August can be a time when finding beauty in the garden requires a closer inspection.
By changing how I see the garden, I can rediscover its beauty rather than focus on its frayed edges. Beauty doesn't exist in the object of my gaze. It is an entirely subjective experience. I may certainly share this experience with others, but the perception remains mine.
Understanding beauty in this way has been a liberating experience. What I find beautiful is my own, undefined by convention or objectivity. Beauty exists in my mind, in how I choose to see.