Gardening to Revive the Soul

We have an enormous lot and over the years I developed an intense love for gardening.  Truth be told, I cannot keep a house plant alive to save my soul, but my outdoor gardens flourish.  With Michigan experiencing the rainiest Spring in recorded history,I had concerns my gardening plans were on hiatus for 2019.  We have a very high water table and all the rain resulted in our backyard turning into marsh lands.  We have a garden tractor stuck in the mud in the middle of our yard at this moment. It is just a mess!

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Gardening is my new therapy. I feel less anxious and less stressed after I do it.  I have an extreme sense of accomplishment by taking something from disaster to beautiful. I originally thought gardening as therapy was just a “me” thing, but there is some actual experts to back this theory up. Sound-Mind.org points out the following stress relieving benefits of gardening:

  • Exposure to sunlight and fresh air increases serotonin levels and oxygenate the blood.
  • Mental focus on the act of gardening allows you the time to set other stressors aside.
  • Using your personal creativity reduces stress through the rewards your labor provides.

I started with a small vegetable garden that quickly became a back yard farm.  Because of the marsh land issue, I scaled things way back this year.  I could not bear the thought of not doing it at all.  I need the time in the garden. I need the fresh vegetables grown by my own hands.  A late start and a smaller garden seemed like the way to go.  Today I started the raised beds.  There are tomato, cucumber, and cauliflower plants in the ground. There will be lettuce, kale, and green bean seeds in the ground tomorrow. I see how this may look like a lot, but it is only a third of what I normally plant.  I’m just taking a deep breath, planting what I can, and planning for bigger and better things next year.

Once I picked up the good vibes gardening provides, I started moving on to other areas of my yard.  Our lot is a half-acre and was neglected for quite a while before we bought the house. There is so much to do it can be a little overwhelming figuring out where to start.  Two years ago I started a perennial garden on our side lot. I needed some pretty. Cleaning out brush and weeds gives a sense of accomplishment, but not the joy of beauty that I crave. The perennial garden is in its third summer and I think I almost have it to the point of completion.  It makes me smile and I don’t even mind the constant weeding.

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The front of the house is my most recent gardening project.  With the completion of our front porch last summer, I finally feel like I can put some effort towards the front. Hanging baskets and planter boxes are filled with flowers.  I love all the color!  I spend a lot of time on my porch. I really use it as an office space in the warmer months. The colorful boxes are an excellent backdrop for my time spent working. Now the yard is quite a work in progress.

When you dig three quarters of your yard up during construction, you are left with a huge mess.  My mantra is “the journey will bring me as much joy as the end result”.  After all, it is working in the garden that brings me peace.  It is the labor that strengthens my mind and my body.  I could pay a landscaper a lot of money and it would be beautiful and complete in a week or two, but my soul would not reap any benefits. So for now I plant when I can.  I weed when I can. I enjoy the things that are flourishing now and imagine how the end result will look. I have time and I always have a need for some therapy to bring life into focus and revive my soul.

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The weeds are taking over!

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But the roses are in full bloom!

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