Spring Thaw

I was recently asked to share a little more about what Garden Therapy means to me.  Virginia at http://www.container-gardening-made-easy.com/ interviewed me to feature on her blog and as I answered the questions I thought I should post those answers here as well, to share a bit more about myself.  The first question asked me to explain how I use gardening as a healing tool.  

The first thing that came to mind was my first gardening day of 2010, this past Saturday, when it was beautifully warm and sunny.  I popped out of bed, put on my grubby clothes and scrub boots, and headed out to clean up the garden a bit.  I dug through the brown foliage from last year’s beauties and was delighted to find new growth peeking out from below the spent plants.  As I worked my neighbours waved and teased me for doing a spring cleaning in January while other people stopped by with their dogs to tell me how they loved to walk past my garden month after month.  Not a flower was blooming, and most of what I was working on was mucky and dead, but for me the therapy from gardening is the activity not the results. 

I started gardening to relieve the monotony of my days being forced to “rest” and “give my body a chance to heal”.  But it proved to be exercise for my mind and body that is allows any pace I can muster.  The mental exercise of figuring out the many biological factors that must be determined to successfully grow a plant provides as much diversity as the physical challenges hold.  The benefit along the way is a stronger mind, a lighter spirit, and a better heart rate.

Gardening on that sunny, spring-like day had all the elements of what I need to heal myself: connection with the earth and people, nurturing new growth, laughs with friends and neighbours, physical challenges, and of course the warm sun shining on my skin.  I don’t believe that healing should be about strict regimens and a “no pain no gain” mentality.  I have enough pain already, we all do in our own ways, and so garden therapy to me is a way to be gentle and kind to myself.  That’s what my sunny day in January did that no prescription drug or physiotherapy session can match; it warmed me up, body and soul, and gave me new energy to cope with life’s challenges.  As the ground thaws making way for seemingly endless sunny days in the garden, I look forward to the gardening year and the nurturing both my plants and I will benefit from.

About the Author : Stephanie RoseAn artistic gardener aiming to feed the body & soul through an urban potager garden & a community veggie plot in Vancouver.View all posts by Stephanie Rose

  1. Kat
    KatJanuary 23,10

    I’m glad that you have found gardening’s healing powers. I have always felt that time spent in the garden is the only real way I can center myself. Digging in the dirt has been my therapy as well. I’m glad you got to enjoy a sunny day in January. After a week of rain, the sun here today feels extra nice.

  2. Stevie
    StevieJanuary 28,10

    Thanks, Kat. I’ve been thinking about you guys in the rain. I’m glad that it’s let up!

  3. cathy
    cathyFebruary 9,10

    You’ve put this very well. I also experience physical and emotional healing in the garden.

    Before I had my young daughter, I was studying horticultural therapy. My goal with that was to help women heal from physical and sexual abuse by teaching them to grow vegetables. The garden can teach people how to “ground” anger and channel hard feelings in a productive way. I find it therapeutic to rip out spent plants sometimes. I appreciate the reminders to rest and allow my spirit to be fallow.

    Anyway, I relate.

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