I am always on the prowl for new ways to reduce the level of anxiety coursing through my veins. A lifetime of hard living has given the nerves a little shot. The Doc says I need exercise and nature to calm the monkey on my back. My inner Italian took that as a cue to get in the damn garden.
Let’s be honest, push-ups are pointless. If I am going to be active, it has to be with a purpose. This isn’t a prison yard, it’s an acre of land, so why not work out with Mother Nature? I spent the better part of last summer repurposing a massive tree we had to cut down into raised garden beds. I went through two chainsaw blades and broke a finger, but all that time in the garden had me sleeping like a drunk baby. Whether you are planting shrubs or clearing land, it’s all considered garden therapy to me.
Some people take pride in their children and some bachelors, like myself, take pride in their cultivars. A baby’s first steps and watching my clones take root are on an even playing field. I think we may have inadvertently pinpointed why I’m single. Moving forward. What I was trying to say was, that taking pride in one’s hobbies is important. It’s not therapeutic if you don’t enjoy having sheep manure under your fingernails or breaking a sweat. Gardening, much like painting, is just a bunch of hard work that may or may not end in some beauty. I spent a large part of my life succeeding and failing at painting, so I know what I speak. I have had fewer failures in the garden; how therapeutic!
There are studies that say actively being in nature has a positive effect on your overall well-being. Anyone who has survived a dark Canadian winter can tell you that by the end of the season your mental health has taken a kick to the nuts. The sooner the sun comes out, the sooner we can all get to our therapy gardens. Even our dogs can’t wait to get out there and help us by dropping little nitrogen bombs by the rose bushes. Every year, I look forward to washing the stink of the couch off me with some shrimp shell compost and chainsaw gas.
Finally, one of the most therapeutic aspects of them all is harvest. Having a bounty of your favorite plants and veggies does wonders for your morale. There is something about paying inflation prices for tomatoes that doesn’t sit well with me. Every summer salad means more money in my pocket and less financial stress to deal with. Food stress is a real thing. Navigating the isles of your grocery store are more and more daunting due to sticker price shock.
Let’s all wash the winter’s boogers out of our eyes and start planning our summer therapy sessions. I already have my next generation of plants started on the counter in the kitchen where I make my morning tea. That five minutes I get to spend with them while the water boils are a shot in the arm I need to clock into the day job.
Before you go nuts, stop and smell the roses or whatever it is you have in the garden. Be kind to yourself and happy growing.