Take Your Time in the Garden: Here’s Why

Early Saturday morning, and it’s already hot. There’s a lot of work to be done, but you have an immediate irritation. You discover your hose leaks when you get a squirt of water in the face. You rush to the garden center for a replacement hose but are easily distracted; you end up with a trunk of plants: an oak, an oakleaf-hydrangea, and five new coneflowers.
You garden in hell when you get home. You can only find a place for your new hydrangea by digging up a large patch of black-eyed Susans. Coneflowers are crammed in wherever you can, hoping for good color combinations. The milkweeds are planted everywhere, and even the oak is buried in the front yard, even though it will shade out Callery pears. (So sad!)
Your mind will gradually drift away from all the noise in your busy day. You focus, and your ideas expand. You move three coneflowers to a better location after retracing your steps. You remember your grandmother’s garden with the black-eyed Susans that she loved. You remember that your daughter has just purchased her first home. You pick up a few of the plants you had pulled out earlier and give them to her. You provide some to your neighbor when she comes over.
You have done a lot of things in the following hours: weeded and edged the garden, trimmed the shrubs, sprayed deer repellant on a rabbit, and returned to the nursery to get the forgotten hose. You’re tired, dirty, and sore when you call it a night. The spouse asks, “How did it go?”
You answer, “Just another day at the garden.” Is that all there was?
Look at your day from a higher elevation. You spent hours outdoors. You worked out your body. You clear your mind. You fixed, solved, and perfected. You created. You remembered an adored loved one at her favorite spot, perhaps her garden. You planted a large tree that could shade your neighborhood for over a century. You made habitat. You fed pollinators. You planted plants to beautify the area. You planted plants to help your daughter make her new home a home. You supported the local economy, and you may have planted literally and metaphorically seeds that will inspire others to appreciate plants and nature.
It’s a simple fact that our days are limited and tend to blend. It would be fantastic if we could separate our best from the rest of the days. Those days, which we dismiss as “just another garden day,” might be among our best regarding the health and happiness we bring to ourselves and others, both now and in the future, and our impact on our local ecosystems.

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