I love a good gardening book. Over the years I’ve read quite a lot, especially when I earned my living as a Garden Designer. When I needed to know all sorts of technical details learning from others who generously shared their knowledge in a book was brilliant for me. Gardening is one of the most popular hobbies and each year there are lots of new books to choose from. Many of them are very practical giving instructions about HOW TO tackle a particular task. I find it fascinating to read how others approach their garden. I’m also very interested in WHY gardens mean so much to some people. I’ve just read Monty Don’s new book Down to Earth and he offers his explanation.
“Gardens heal. When you are sad, a garden comforts. When you are humiliated or defeated, a garden consoles. When you are lonely, it offers companionship that is true and lasting. When you are weary, your garden will soothe and refresh you.
I have had a very fortunate life. I have made gardens with someone that I love and this has brought me great happiness. You need luck to be happy. But make a garden and you increase your chances.” Monty Don
I agree with Monty that Gardening = Happiness. I know that when I’m physically active in the garden, handling fresh green young plants, feeling the warm rich brown earth and breathing the cool fresh air I feel so alive. I believe that growing your own plants can make a real difference to your life by making you feel happier and healthier, especially if you garden organically, then harvest and eat what you grow. There’s nothing quite like picking a bunch of flowers you’ve grown from seed or digging fresh new potatoes for lunch.
I am sure that gardening helps me to be more creative by giving me the space and time to think without interruption. Most gardening tasks are repetitive and once I know what I’m doing it’s easy to get into the rhythm of digging, raking, hoeing or dead heading. Switching off I think they call that. It’s easy to feel inspired in a garden I think.
Gardening also allows me to see nature close up. We have bird tables next to the house but there’s so much more going on out there that just can’t be seen from indoors, no matter how close to the window I sit! I love a close encounter with a wild creature. Spotting the first fat fluffy bee or colourful butterfly of the season feeding on early blooms helps to mark seasonal changes for me. I remember feeling elated in May as sleek black and white house martins swooped low over our pond collecting clay for this season’s nest. Today I stood under an Oak tree watching huge v shaped formations of Geese flying in from the coast to feed in nearby fields. It’s lovely to take some time out to see what’s really going on in the neighbourhood.
Sometimes gardening tasks can seem too daunting. I admit that occasionally I give myself a stern talking to before I tackle the next job on my list. Even simple things can seem overwhelming until I get started. I soon realise that yet again I’ve allowed my mind to almost convince my body that it’s an impossible task for one person. A sort of argument goes on in my head. A low key, no shouting sort of argument. Stay in and eat cake my mind tells my reluctant body. Now that’s very tempting, isn’t it? Tell you what… just do twenty minutes of gardening then you can have coffee and cake. The truth is that even the most daunting gardening task is not that hard and more often than not, twenty minutes soon turns into an hour when I’m absorbed.
To me there’s nothing quite like that satisfied feeling of making progress that follows an hour or so of work in the garden. It may be hard physical work sometimes and I always seem to be covered in mud with bits of dried leaves or stalks in my hair so it’s not one bit glamorous. But kicking off my muddy boots and peeling off my old gardening clothes I have to say feels great as does a nice hot shower, followed by warm clothes, hot coffee and cake!
I believe that Happiness is a Garden. What do you think?
Thanks for reading and I hope you have a lovely day. Gillian 🙂