How I Discovered Journaling:

Where I grew up, the spreading beech tree was home base. Our games involved running down the wooded hill on blueberry-bordered paths, and climbing rocky bluffs. We lifted stones and discovered salamanders, and rerouted the edges of Crabby Creek with rubble and mud. We caught crayfish. My father introduced me to chestnut and white oak. My grandfather showed me musclewood.

As an adult I discovered the garden, and nature became half friend, half foe. Control was hard-fought and illusory. Armed with a BS in Horticulture I shared what passed for knowledge with friends and clients. My gardens were, and are, beautiful. Still, I was, and am, often thwarted.

I made a discovery.

Leaving the designed landscape and entering the woods brings peace. It is not my place to critique the patterns of nature, so I breathe deeply and abandon myself to its mysteries. The questions and answers are forever fascinating. They are a source of wonder and conversation. They are an antidote to the daily grind. When I come across a beech tree, I admire its pointed leaf buds, its pachyderm-like bark, its dense mass of fine fibrous roots. I take note of its biological friends.

I count myself among them.


Pam Ruch is a horticulturist and writer based in Emmaus, PA. She manages the grounds at Morven Museum & Garden, in Princeton, NJ, and grows food and flowers for the Glasbern Inn, in Fogelsville, PA. In addition, she writes for several online and print organizations, including the Home Garden Seed Association. A presenter in the 2012 Art of Journaling series at the Nurturing Nature Center in Easton, PA, Pam offers journaling workshops throughout the region. She holds a BS in Horticulture from Temple University, and an MS in Environmental Science from Green Mountain College.

Email address: pam@artofnaturejournaling.com

Links to my online Articles:

Thieves in Your Garden

Ghosts in Our Landscapes

A Few Native Plants that We Call Weeds

The Garden: Where Creativity Blossoms

Gardening Keeps You Healthy

There’s No Such Thing as a Black Thumb