Day 24 of the 100 day project

Yesterday Frances left a comment which really struck me, you know the way things do which sound obvious but which you had somehow managed not to understand.  Gardens are good for self care she said. We were talking about looking after yourself which is something I have been thinking about a lot as the fourth cold of the winter struck.  And I thought, well yes, gardens must be good for self care.  There is all sorts of research demonstrating that being outside, looking at green, has a beneficial impact on both mental health and physical recovery from illness.  So gardens must be good for self care.

But not if you do them the way I have been doing for the last few years.  Gardens as an endless to do list do not soothe the soul.  They just make you feel beaten up about all the things you have not done.  And yet gardens overgrown and uncared for don't soothe the soul either.  They are a reproach as the garden ceases to be a garden and becomes a forest of bindweed or nettles.

But if I could manage, just for today, to say that my garden must be harnessed to looking after me, to self care, to making me feel good, what would I have to do?

First of all I would have to accept that it is beautiful.  The sun is not shining.


The edges are not cut.  The path is muddy.  But there is a wonderful uprush of green as spring takes hold.

And there are daffodils and new leaf on the little crab apple tree and trees coming into leaf all around the field.  And that is good for the soul.

Comments

  1. I'm very pleased to have (unwittingly) sent your thinking in this direction. Your qualifications to all those statements about gardens being good as self-care are spot-on. As is your wisdom in modifying your perspective. It's true that if we did nothing but allow the garden to fall into a chaotic mess, we might not feel very cared for, but sometimes all we need to do in the garden is Be. . . and Look. . . (and I believe that looking goes back into the garden as well, helps to shape it eventually, motivates you -- when you're feeling well enough -- to mow and weed and prune)

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    1. I completely agree that looking goes back into the garden. Great sentence. I like that.

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  2. So true, I love my garden but this year while I have been unwell it has been a reproach if I let it - meaning I have embraced just for this moment the messy borders, the sad plants that haven't liked our burning summer. Somehow that has created a freedom in my mind that is also priceless -we don't have to be perfect all the time and can let ourselves go (sometimes/somewhat!) So enjoying seeing you again-hope you are enjoying the challenge too.

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    1. I do like the idea of finding a freedom in the Garden. That's very interesting. And I am a big believer in the value of letting go. It's the balance though between letting go and retaining your passion that is the real challenge. You have given me something else to muse about here!

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  3. That's very true although sometimes it takes a conscious effort to change what you want to see!

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