Lois J. de Vries Launches Cultivating the Inner Gardener Coaching Practice
Cultivating the Inner Gardener coaching is designed to bring more meaning to the experience of gardening by putting gardeners in a mental space that allows them to rediscover and focus on the things that really matter to them, restore meaning to their gardening efforts, and revitalize a cherished pastime. Through a series of assignments and exercises clients develop a program to translate that information into investments of the time, money, and effort needed to achieve their goals.
According to de Vries, 90% of today’s gardening advice leaves the most crucial component of any garden out of the picture – the gardener. “You could fashion the most perfectly designed, luxuriant, flower-filled space that addresses practical questions such as where to put the barbecue or the patio, but if that garden doesn’t resonate with the personal values, meanings, and memories of its owner, it’s not producing the kind of satisfaction that’s possible by gardening from the inside out,” she said. Calling herself a gardener coach rather than a garden coach, she helps people create personal outdoor settings that are beautiful, healthy, and a sanctuary from the world that speaks to the soul, not just another pretty space. She went on to explain that getting to the heart of these matters requires a unique approach.
de Vries’ coaching practice, called Cultivating the Inner Gardener, centers on gardeners rather than on their gardens. “I’ve found that, when gardeners are asked to dig more deeply into themselves, they unearth a treasure trove of useful information. I’ve met gardeners who’ve tapped into this vein unconsciously and they’ve created gardens with an inexplicable, but tangible, x-factor that can be felt by people who visit. I challenged myself to come up with a way to open this path to every gardener,” she said.
That took more than five years and several false starts. It was only while training with Dr. Eric Maisel as a meaning coach in 2009 that she recognized the connection between her observations on the transformational power of gardening and the possibilities of helping gardeners make choices that harmonize with their most cherished values and garden memories.
Her style of gardener-focused coaching emphasizes the effect that creating a garden that expresses the gardener’s innermost being can have by helping them start with specific intentions that reach far beyond the mechanics of gardening. “This isn’t about pruning and planting, but about breathing new life into the gardening experience; expressing more of their personality and creativity through gardening,” de Vries said. Some common problems Cultivating the Inner Gardener coaching tackles are:
Maintaining a garden that conflicts with the gardener’s values.
· Going through the motions of gardening without getting much enjoyment.
· Uncertainty about where or how to invest time, energy, or money.
· Doing all of the right things, but still not producing a garden that reflects the owner’s personality.
· Trouble believing that gardening matters.
· Knowing that important changes are needed, but not knowing where to start.
· Second-guessing choices and switching from one thing to another.
· Feeling bored or anxious about the garden.
The goal is to create a mind-set that allows clients to develop an intimate, holistic relationship with their environment. Through a series of hands-on assignments and exercises gardeners become skilled at rediscovering and focusing on the things that really matter to them about their gardens, restoring meaning to their gardening efforts, and revitalizing a cherished pastime.