How are you creating your ‘BLACK GOLD’?

What do parenting, management of teams, gardening and personal development have in common?

Spring is here and none too soon.  I am loving the heady scent of jasmine wafting through the warm air, watching the miracle of buds forming and blossoms blooming.  Despite the recession, climate change, crime and more, the intelligence of nature kicks in and does its thing anyway.  It’s time to come out of hibernation.  Throw off or out what no longer serves you and give birth to fresh ideas, new relationships and different ways of ‘being’ in the world.

I have to admit, that when we moved out of our home of 23 years, earlier this year, it was my garden that I cried over the most in the end. And it wasn’t just that I would miss our glorious trees, rolling lawn, or the wide beds that I had such fun shaping, filling and growing over the years – it was the farewell to my black gold – the soil, that affected me most.

When I was creating a new little garden in our rented accommodation where the soil is sandy and absolutely awful, I truly realised the value of investing in the earth and water that give life to everything. Our soil had had 23 years of feeding with compost and fallen leaves (mulch). It was almost black and dripping with earth worms. When we took plants from one garden to the other it was so glaringly obvious how when soil is loved, everything else follows. If you don’t nourish and tend to your soil, what you plant is not likely to flourish, or last for long.

“Il faut cultiver son jardin.”

~ Voltaire

Voltaire’s quote refers to the truth that you must cultivate your own garden, or that you have to make your own garden grow.  You will then have food to nurture you, and plants to please you. Then you can make a valid contribution to society beyond your garden fence.

So, what do parenting, management of teams, gardening and personal development have in common? They are more closely aligned than you think!


As parents we are the gardeners in our homes: the choices we make, the decisions we take, the emotional climate we create and the nourishment that we give have a profound impact on our children and their ability to face life independently.


This is an extension of parenting: we are given soil that must be fertilised, ideas that must be planted, and fellow gardeners in our teams who must be motivated to keep tilling and feeding the soil so that our strategies bear fruit, and we meet our KPIs. That we stay in business.


It’s your garden. Grow it. And personal growth is a very active process. No amount of reading of personal development books will help if you don’t put your thinking into action. Feed your mind with information but it must be planted, fed, watered and tended to for any change to take place. A slightly different analogy is that if someone throws you a rope, you need to reach out and grab it. You have to be an active participant in your own rescue.

In all the above examples of how you show up in the world, be awake to the fact that a dedicated gardener is constantly plucking out unwanted weeds, pruning dead wood, planting fresh seeds, propagating one plant from another, picking beautiful flowers, harvesting nutritious crops and feeding the soil.

What are you doing to develop and create your black gold in all these areas of your life this month? How does your garden grow?

With much love,