Healing Is In Gardening

’The gardener digs in another time, without past or future, beginning or end….here is an Amen beyond a prayer’’ Derek Jarman

Gardening is in my family. My mother gardened, my Dad did too. My grandparents gardened, uncles on both sides of my family garden.

I believe that gardening is innate within us; it just takes a spark to unloose the desire to nurture plants. I watched my parents garden for years, vegetables, fruit trees, flowers. I asked my mother if I might have patch of my own but she said no. I may have fared better if I had made the request to my Dad.

The first opportunity to garden was when I was student in California. My residence had some plants so I removed weeds and sowed some seeds. It gave me pleasure in a pressured time and sustained me when I wanted to give up.

I later shared a house with two other people. I planted many spring bulbs, and perennial flowers. I don’t do annuals. The work is not rewarded for me.

My first garden that was mine brought me immense joy. Part of it was walled on two sides. Climbing roses, honeysuckle, clematis, all found home on those walls. I planted wild primroses from a friend in glorious disarray with other flowers. My planting was deliberately undisciplined. Nature knows nothing of straight lines. Imagine my horror when my mother came and put them all in lines. I was devastated.

‘’Besom lings and teasel burrs ‘’ John Clare

The soil has good bacteria and as we disturb it, we inhale them. Our immune system benefits greatly, and the scent is healing to our soul. The venture of gardening is therapy for stress, recovery after life changing events, and people with learning difficulties are given gardening to learn a skill. They flourish at it.

John Clare, the poet, was a keen gardener and he struck a close friendship with a head gardener of an estate. Their letters speak of many plants. Clare was an amateur botanist who used botanical descriptors.

We are soothed and calmed in a garden. We take in the scent of flowers, the serenity of green, the peace of it’s being. A garden is. It simply needs care. Consider this as you garden, or sit in a park.

Ling is an old word for heather, the plant. It grows wild here

Published in Know Thyself, Heal Thyself