Ally, Ally how does your garden grow?
Over recent years by necessity, rather than initially by choice, I've started to really appreciate the benefits of gardening and being in my beautiful backyard haven.
What's given me the most pleasure is I can see years of work starting to come together, and the space blossom from all the nurturing I've given it. For me, gardening is fantastic for helping beat stress, boosting wellbeing, keeping gently active, lowering blood pressure and if I am super lucky… gaining the extra benefit of some all-important Vitamin D!
To quote the words of the wonderful Audrey Hepburn,
‘To plant a garden is to
believe in tomorrow’
I realised that our green paradises provide so much more than we think. Gardening has many similarities to our daily work life; from how we plan to what tools we use…
Lay the groundwork
You have to set the right groundwork way before you need it. Preparing is important and planning is your most powerful weapon. If you need a wider border to create the effect you want, then digging it out well beforehand will make life easier later on.
And that's the same for us comms professionals, the planning is the most important part. But be prepared to hit some rocks when you dig your foundations, your machinery blowing up, or simply not having enough resources to finish the job and craft your plan B (and C, and D!).
If you can, as part of your planning, look ahead and save or invest in the right tools for the next few months.
Get rid of dead wood
Getting ready for the season ahead means pruning back the dead leaves and trimming the old woody stalks to clear a path for things to grow. A bit like a spring clean!
Putting some time aside in our diaries or with our teams to clear out those messy
jobs that hang around could give you back some headspace and find room to help things flourish.
Try having a ‘Messy Monday’ once a month where you get rid of headspace junk that hangs around in project folders.
Nature shares its secrets gradually
Ideas take time to germinate, just like in our gardens. You plant the seed of an idea in your garden or in the business context, in a meeting, and if you don't feed or nourish it, it won't thrive.
The seed of an ideas is lost if not captured and taken care of. Treat ideas like seed packets full of precious gems.
Collect cuttings and seeds by grabbing a pretty journal and get all these golden nuggets of great ideas down on paper or into your Notes on your computer. This will be a great library of ideas for your campaigns further down the line.
Cross pollination brings fresh new varieties
Sometimes what we sow isn't what we end up with, but that's ok. You plant something and the insects and birds do their magic and next year you have something that looks a little different, maybe even better.
Sometimes the comms we have carefully crafted are not received as expected or simply fall short. Or after so many peoples' input, they don't feel quite so snappy. But sometimes someone may come along and simply give it a little bit of a different perspective or offer their own experience and suddenly it looks different… and better.
Don't throw away the plants or ideas you have, but spread them around and you may just receive a gentle transfer of ideas and create something extra special.
and so do needs
Equally while cross pollination can work, remember what we need as gardeners is different as nature cycles through the seasons. Sunshine, rain, gales, cold, hard frost. Through learning over time, we discover what thrives and what simply can't survive without some extra care.
So what you may need in Q1 could be different to Q3, or the variables may change or need to be nurtured in a better way to suit the environment. Plan for having fluctuating or conflicting resources. Then with foresight, you can help things blossom all year round.
Change your line of gaze
I moved my desk to watch the birds feast from their new feeder. Just a different seat at the table means that I find myself staring at my calming feathered friends rather than stewing on the last email I received or what might not be going quite right that day.
Changing your view and what, or how, you see things every once in a while cannot be a bad thing. Would you benefit from a change in direction? A way of looking at things from someone else's perspective?
Imitate don't steal
Trawling through endless Pinterest boards for inspiration has become a rather
time-consuming (and rewarding) pastime of mine. It's helping me understand what's possible in the garden and what's not. My garden is not on show for others to see
unless I invite them into it so if I had stolen someone's ideas it's very unlikely anyone would notice and the terrain and layout is different anyway which means it will always
Take the good ideas and make them your own. Just be sure not to steal a nest like the cuckoo does… or you could get egg on your face!
I'd love to see your gardens so I can steal — sorry imitate — your ideas.
Get in touch with me.
By Ally Taylor,
Gardener Extraordinaire (most definitely in training)