Grow Write Guild #14: You’re Outta Here!


I just spent the holiday weekend purging books, magazines, and a bit of this and that from my living and work spaces. Since it was Thanksgiving here in Canada, we called it Purgegiving. Getting rid of books is difficult, but letting go of plants can be even more difficult. We humans can form attachments to inanimate objects, so it stands to reason that we might also form unlikely bonds with the living plants in our care. If it makes you feel better, I once left a very crispy lavender that was well past its due date in a pot for well over a month — and on my coffee table no-less — because I couldn’t truly accept that it was gone for good.

Fall is a good time to take stock and purge the plants that just aren’t working for us anymore. From a design perspective you’ve had an entire growing season to see how specific plants work in their allotted spaces and how everything works together as a whole through the changing season. For example, I have a few grasses that have become too big for their current location and now I have to decide if there is someplace in the garden that can benefit from their size and girth or if I should send them packing. As those of us in cold climates go through the annual hassle of shifting pots of tender plants back indoors, the fall can be a good time to access whether there are any plants that are not worth the bother. It is usually through laziness and exhaustion that I am able to make these choices.

Is there something in your garden that is not working out and has to go? Perhaps writing about it will provide you with the emotional steel and push that is needed in order to let it go. As alternatives, I’ve provided a few different directions that you can take with this writing assignment that are not about letting go.

Grow Write Guild Prompt #14: Write about something you want to purge from your garden.

Further Notes and Questions:

  • What is the story behind this plant? How and when did you acquire it? What attracted you to it in the first place? Did you know it would be a difficult plant from the start?
  • Is there something about the plant and its story (see above point) that is making it difficult for you to let go? Consider focussing your writing on the theme of attachment.
  • Did this plant go down fast and furious or did it languish over more than one growing season?
  • Has the plant been overrun with disease or pests more than once and you’re tired of nursing it through?
  • Is it something about the conditions in your space that were not right for this plant? Too hot. Too dry. Too wet. Too shady. Too sunny. Consider focussing your writing on the theme of a new lesson learned. The lesson could be about a specific plant genus (or family) or it could be about something that you understand more clearly about your garden space.
  • Consider writing about an object rather than a plant. It could be a garden ornament, furniture, or shed.

The Grow Write Guild is a creative writing club for people who love to garden. Everyone is welcome to participate! Click over to the Grow Write Guild FAQ to learn more about it.

Gayla Trail
Gayla is a writer, photographer, and former graphic designer with a background in the Fine Arts, cultural criticism, and ecology. She is the author, photographer, and designer of best-selling books on gardening, cooking, and preserving.

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