One of my favourite activities is to potter around in the garden. I enjoy growing both flowers and vegetables. It is exciting to see seeds germinate or grow a new plant from a cutting. Sometimes something unexpected appears in your garden. Mushrooms have been popping up in my front garden ever since I spread mushroom compost around to improve the soil. One can get good exercise from digging in the garden and pulling up weeds. At the same time one is doing something which is both productive and good for the soul.
A garden is also a great environment to read a book, talk to a friend or just day dream. Nature encourages one to take some deep breaths and relax. When you are relaxed your mind is free to come up with creative thoughts. The value of a garden for the spirit has been long recognised. Alfred Austin, an English poet born in 1835 said, ’The glory of gardening: hands in the dirt, head in the sun, heart with nature. To nurture a garden is to feed not just on the body, but the soul.’
Gardens attract fauna including birds, lizards and butterflies. It is interesting to watch birds in the garden as they sip nectar from flowers, look for seed or drink from a bird bath. Recently I have been enjoying watching monarch butterflies in my garden. I find it easy to feel gratitude when I am in the garden.
Butterfly in the garden. Author’s own photo
Fragrant plants such as lavender, scented geraniums and roses add further enjoyment to the garden. Some fragrances are relaxing and others are stimulating. I love to crush fragrant leaves or flowers as I wander around my garden. The smell of certain flowers or leaves will bring back memories. I think of my Grandma when I smell violets or lavender.
Lavender. Author’s own photo
Planning a garden that is a pleasant and interesting place to spend time is enjoyable. People buy all sorts of pots, statues and seating from nurseries or repurpose things they have lying around. Water features are a lovely addition to a garden and the sound of running water is relaxing.
Water feature. Author’s own photo
There are many different types of flowers, some big and others small and in all sorts of colours. Flowers can spark creativity in many forms. Recently I saw large pots with palms in them adding interest to a suburban street. These pots were decorated with mosaics and some featured flowers.
Pot decorated with sunflower mosaic. Author’s own photo
Gardens can inspire writers. Some of my favourite quotes about gardens are-
• ‘Flowers always make people better, happier, and more helpful; they are sunshine, food and medicine for the soul.’ (Luther Burbank)
• ‘The best place to find God is in a garden. You can dig for him there.’ (George Bernard Shaw)
• ‘Gardening is how I relax. It's another form of creating and playing with colors.’ (Oscar de la Renta)
• ‘If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.’ (Marcus Tullius Cicero)
• ‘I like gardening - it's a place where I find myself when I need to lose myself.’ (Alice Sebold)
A garden, even a very small one is a place of inspiration. There is always something new to look at and something to hope for.