“Gardening is the most therapeutic and defiant act you can do. Plus, you get strawberries.” —Rob Finley, Designer, Gardener and Collector
I grew up on a farm in Southwestern Wisconsin. I’ll admit that yes, on occasion, the cows did get out. I can still replay my grandmother darting out of the kitchen door, hands waving and slippers half on. “Not in my garden!” she’d yell.
Like my grandmother, many people spend their summer planting, digging, weeding, watering, watching and harvesting their gardens. The results? Much more than just food and flowers. The therapeutic effects of gardening are helping people cope through illness, tough decisions, stress and more.
For instance: Northern Minnesota resident Beth Blocker has been a caretaker her whole life, both professionally as a nursing assistant and now as full-time family caregiver. For her, gardening has always been a source of comfort. “When the aches of life are at work on me, the solitude inside my garden is healing.” she says. “I have gone to the garden more times than I can count to ease the worries or hurt I was experiencing.”
Beth’s affection for “playing in the weeds,” as she says, started at a young age. Both of her grandparents were gardeners. She often watched and helped them reap the harvest of the vegetable garden or walked with Grandma Bessie as she admired her blooming flowers. “I was hooked!” Beth remembered.
The gardening zen starts with the understanding of the hard work and physical labor required. “You work to keep plants healthy for harvest or the joy of seeing the jars of canned goods or the beautiful blooms in the flower beds,” Beth says. “It’s a reminder that there is something or someone much bigger than any problems I think I have. Any inner turmoil I’m experiencing is usually replaced with peace.”
Starting a vegetable garden for the first time? Planting flower pots or herbs in the kitchen window? Backyard flower garden is in bloom? Share your story and images in the comments section below.