Happy National Gardening Day! April 14th is National Gardening Day, but the whole month of April is National Gardening Month! I thought I would share some ways the garden has benefited my life in no particular order:
- Connection to Nature – Having my garden all these years has brought a more full sense of connection to nature. I have watched birds, butterflies and all sorts of creatures come to the garden to get what they need. It truly is amazing to see all the wildlife that comes to our garden and yard. (I don’t think I have ever mentioned, but I have had a certified wildlife habitat designation for years, I even have the beautiful sign, though it currently resides tucked away. I really should put it out at some point!) Welcoming in the wildlife and had a ripple effect with my sons as they love being in nature whenever they can.
- Connection to My Family – Every iteration of our garden has been a family affair. We have all tended to, sowed seeds, harvested or physically labored in the garden. Whether is was setting up the old in ground corner garden, the container garden or the ever expanding kitchen, meadow and herb gardens, each family member has played a part. We can look at the beauty of the garden set up and know we each played a part. Not to mention all the time we spend just sitting in the yard together either around the fire pit, in the pool or just sitting by the little pond to watch the fish, it is a lot of time. I’m proud to say my kids spent the majority of their young years out in the yard having a gold old fashioned childhood. We have had many wonderful conversations about so many things while out on the garden.
- A Refuge in Hard Times – With everything that has unfolded since 2020 the garden has been a refuge for not only me but my whole family. We created and built the newer kitchen garden area right at the beginning of the 2020 season just as things were starting with closures, price increases for wood, etc. It has been a fantastic place to go and be when everywhere else was shutdown, etc. When so many things were uncertain, we were sure we could be in the garden as a true refuge from the outside world. It has always been this way, but it became even more prevalent when 2020 hit. When my boys were younger and the challenges we faced as a family living with autism the garden was a place of refuge. A place we could go for peace and uplifting when things seemed so incredibly hard. It has always been a place to go to in good times and bad.
- A Place to Meditate and Center Oneself – The garden is a fantastic place to go when we feel like we need to reflect, meditate or recenter. It has this magical power to calm, to bring peace, to open our eyes to what really matters. I can’t explain it in words, but it’s magical. I have spent many hours meditating and practicing the system of Reiki within the boundaries of the garden. When I was teaching professionally, I would take classes out to the garden in teach in that space. Or I would host Reiki practice nights and we would gather I the garden for meditation, chanting or Reiki treatments. Even though I no longer teach meditation or Reiki professionally, I still use the garden as a space for my personal practice. I’ve also been known to roll out my yoga mat and flow in the garden with my daily yoga practice.
- Nourishment – Being a Holistic Nutritionist and culinary teacher quality produce and ingredients for food is at the top of the priority list when it comes to creating meals for my family. The garden serves this purpose so well. Having taken the time to build quality, thriving soil I know the food I am growing is more nutrient dense than what I can find at the local grocery store. I also love knowing it is all organically grown to peak ripeness. There is nothing like going to the garden and harvesting anything and eating it so fresh that it is still warm from the sunlight and bursting with flavor! It never gets old.
- Patience – Gardening takes time, even quick growing things like radishes or lettuces take time. Patience is key when it comes to gardening, but it is so very worth it! Knowing through experience in the garden just how long it takes to get that pepper or corn or ______, you develop an appreciation for food that much more. The patience you learn from the garden has a ripple effect throughout other areas of life. Really everything I have mentioned as a benefit so far has had a ripple effect throughout my life, that seems to be the way of gardening.
- Organization – When I was first learning to garden I was completely unorganized and didn’t plan anything! I have learned over time that having a plan and setting up to-do lists are a must for a less overwhelming experience in the garden. I have really become a garden planning advocate over the years. It really makes gardening so much easier, especially when you are trying to grow as much food and herbs as possible for your family’s needs in a small space. I imagine that successful market gardeners also have good plans in place. Without proper organization, the garden can become overwhelming, more work and could end up being a negative experience, which is a sad thought. Organization goes beyond having a planting by, harvest by plan, but it expands into other garden chores like cleaning seed sowing tools, all garden tools, season extension or hail protection, etc. Having everything organized helps when it comes time to use garden tools. I think this topic deserves a whole blog post or even a series of posts, it’s that important!
The garden has many benefits, I could go on and on about my love for the garden and every way it has benefited my life. I am thankful every single day for the garden and all that it provides our family in its many ways. I hope you get to experience the garden and all it has to offer you. It’s a great teacher, companion and place to be. Here’s to many days in the garden!
Happy National Gardening Day and Month! 👩🏻🌾