Gardening is often viewed as a leisurely activity and it’s with good reason…study after study has proven that gardening is a great stress reliever. There’s just something about digging in the soil that is good for the soul. Whether it’s tending a vegetable garden, pruning trees or dividing perennials, gardening re-connects us with nature on many levels. It feels great to look at what you’ve accomplished in the garden and know that you’ll be able to enjoy it for the season. Sure the weeds may come back and the insects may invade, but at the moment when you finish for the day, you can envision the garden in all of its splendor.
You are able to watch nature unfold in the little ecosystem that is your garden. You can watch the birds devour insects and the bees drink in the sweet nectar of your flowers. You can see the little cucumber flower that was just pollinated turn into a delicious vegetable that you can proudly serve your family. You are able to notice that certain weeds like the shady moist area of your garden while others enjoy that really hot, dry spot by the driveway. You can marvel at how closely weeds can mimic desirable plants, all in their desire to survive. You can observe ladybugs hunting down aphids and praying mantises hunting for anything that moves. By allowing ourselves to decompress enough from the daily stresses of life, we are able to observe nature and realize that life goes on for the rest of the world even when we’ve had a bad day at work or were stuck in traffic for an hour on the way home. Gardening also has physiological effects on the body.
I believe that there is no better exercise than the exercise of working. Our bodies were designed so that we can tend the fields and the garden, not so that we can get on a hampster wheel, otherwise known as a treadmill. Instead of spending an hour walking on a conveyor belt, spend that hour working in your garden. If you believe that you can achieve a better cardiovascular workout on a treadmill, I have some unbroken ground that needs working. And to boot, you’ll be able to watch nature unfold in front of you instead of keeping up with the Kardashians. I’d love to hear how Mid-Atlantic Gardening readers feel about this…leave me a comment below or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Happy gardening! (get it? :))