Like William Morris, Joe Hollis asks us to perceive paradise gardening as a juncture where artfulness directly serves life. In fact, we might go so far as to define this paradise as the place where art is indistinguishable from life, and where simplicity is codified as the best path for achieving happiness.
A garden is the place millions of people go to touch the earth, to smell flowers - to use some of that fabled human brain power in the cause of better participating with natural processes in the place they call home. It serves as an art project, an organic produce market, a spiritual practice, a pharmacy. It offers ongoing lessons in ecology, biology, chemistry, geology, meteorology. Gardening imparts an organic perspective on the passage of time. It bestows on its practitioners a genuine sense of admiration for the plants, the soil, the sun, the water.
As the biocentric view suggests, the garden prospers when control is balanced by equal measures of humility and benevolence. A balance is struck. Control, servitude, respect, imagination, pragmatism, an ecological conscience, compliance, and a certain measure of mysticism and altruism all meld together to provide nurturance. Try to separate the various aspects into their constituent parts grant any one of them the status of fundamental gardening definition and one soon skews the entire process. Put them back together again in the service of the twoway street called nurturance, and we express the state of grace called gardening.