Monday, February 25, 2013


  Fill the well, feed the muse, restore the spirit, the phrases are many but the idea is the same.  As creative artists we draw on the well of our inner being in order to create something new, whether it be painting or music, poetry or prose.  Julia Cameron in her book The Artists Way, uses the term "fill the well" and recommends artist dates, i.e. a date with ourselves alone to fill up our well of images and experiences.  By her definition, having a companion on the date equals a distraction and the well remains empty.  
    I don't necessarily agree with Ms Cameron.  I find inspiration in coffee with a friend, or a gab-fest with other writers or singing in a choir of a hundred, but I'm all in favour of artist dates.  One of my favourites is a good walk in a beautiful setting.
    Living close to the Butchart Gardens as I do, it's a perfect place to revive a tired mind.  Even, or perhaps especially, at this time of year when our weather is grey and wet.  (I'll tell you a secret.  I prefer snow to our endless leaden skies.)
    Butchart's famous sunken garden, in season, looks like this.
In late February it looks like this.  
But, the gardeners at Butchart's are an imaginative lot and at this time of year they turn one of the restaurants into an indoor garden. They have no compunction about mixing up the seasons so we see amaryllis next to primroses.

Hyacinth and gerbera grow together.  The forsythia tree and the magnolia bloom at the same time.
    Coming through the door, the visitor inhales the sweet scent of lilac and gardenia.  All thoughts of grey skies vanish.  We've walked into a magic kingdom.  Fountains and wind chimes charm our ears.  Underfoot is tile and gravel and wood to delight our feet with different textures and our ears with different sounds.

Every sense is tickled.  The well fills to overflowing.

On leaving the magic garden, I enter the gift shop.  I must keep my wallet firmly in my pocket.  So many beautiful things in one place.  China, pottery, enamel work, shawls and scarves, jewellery and jams.  And don't forget the packets of seeds, enough to inspire even the blackest thumb to try gardening.
    I come home just as the sun breaks out.  The well is full.  I'm inspired enough to write this blog.
    So, what fills your well?  Do you find inspiration in solitude or company?  Do you prefer music or a good book?  Do you like to watch or participate?

To read more of my thoughts and adventures and stories, go to


  1. Thank you for the beautiful walk in your indoor garden, Alice. The view of the blooming garden is spectacular, but the February view has a charm of its own. And such promise.

    Thank you for the nudge to feed the muse.

    "If I had but two loaves, I'd sell one and buy white hyacinths to feed my soul." - Ancient Proverb.

  2. A beautiful post in more ways than one, Alice. Thank you. It makes me long for the botanical gardens near my home when I had cancer. A few hours spent strolling along the paths and enjoying the beauty, restored my energy levels and increased my confidence that God was there with me.

  3. Thank you, Judith. What a lovely proverb and one I can understand with my heart.
    Shirley, there is nothing like a garden to bring one close to God. No wonder He made paradise the Garden of Eden. Yesterday I was pruning apple trees and my mind teemed with all the Biblical references to gardening, pruing, bearing fruit, etc. I know many people who seek balm in a garden when their hearts are troubled.

  4. Alice, thank you for a lovely post. I was so blessed to visit Butchart Gardens many years ago and fell in love with it. Beautiful gardens are such a testimony to God's creativity. How can they be anything but inspiration?

  5. Lovely post and pics. We are blessed to live close to the beach and that always inspires me and fills the well as does reading a good book, or being with friends and family. I don't need time alone to feel re-charged.

  6. YES, YES YES. I need to do that and SOON. It seems I get caught up in webbing and emailing and scripting and talking and houseworking!!!!

    1. Then drop that mop and take yourself off on a date! Take along a notebook just in case the muse jumps out at you. She often plays tricks on your memory.