Why Gardening is So Good for You
From My Own Garden
You are nearer God's heart in a garden than anywhere else on earth, so the saying goes.
I can not speak for a deity, but speaking for myself, I can not name another activity that gives me as much pleasure, not only while I am doing it, but every day after as well.
One of the best features of this hobby is its satisfaction guarantee. If you are unhappy with your result, simply grab the plant, flower, shrub or small tree by the base, and pull it up by its roots. How many problems in life are that easy to solve?
As an Army wife of twenty years, and seven homes later, I get a sense of finally being at home for good when I walk out into my yard to weed my hosta beds full to overflowing with every variety of this plant I have ever happened upon. I am also always on alert for any new type of caladium, though the fact that they don't come back year after year is a negative as far as I am concerned. I do not like starting over again and again. I like to build on what I have already spent and sweated over.
It gives me a sense of continuity from year to year to know the azaleas are in full bloom because I cut them back just the right amount at just the right time last year. I am the one who transplanted that pear tree in the backyard when it was only a volunteer sampling coming up in the middle of a holly bush in the front yard. It stands tall today, right where it looks best, because of me. I won't dwell on how many dogwood trees I have bought only to watch them die a slow death in the mid-summer Georgia sun. Mistakes happen. Please reference the satisfaction guarantee mentioned earlier.
My pride and joy are my iris. I must have more than a hundred of them. The traditional, bearded, blue variety are the most abundant and bloom all by themselves early each spring. The unique colors come along throughout the season, extending the brief blooming period typical of this kind of flower. And many of those specific iris have been given to me by one friend or another who also love these bursts of color in their own gardens. That gives each one a special meaning to me as the years go by. Even my starter iris, the most common blue, were given to me by one of my sister-in-laws. It goes a long way towards keeping the peace in the family when I remind myself this beautiful stand of blooms started with her.
When money was tight during the let's put three kids through college years, I bought end of season bargains like half-dead hydrangeas. Now there are huge bursts of white, pink, blue and purple all around my yard all summer long. A higher education was not the only good investment we made over the past decade.
In my garden, I may or may not be nearer to a supreme being, but I am always a little closer to that elusive peace we all seek in the rare activities in life we get to choose for ourselves.