Like hearing an old song, the scent of certain flowers can take us back in time.
When I smell fresh lilac trees in the spring, I am quickly reminded of my Baba. Same with my Grandma of rose bushes, and marigolds of my first flower garden patch (when I was seven).
Planting allows us to be children again: enjoying moments like we use to, either digging in a sandbox or helping our mothers, fathers, or grandparents plant. I fondly remember the perfectly marked rows of my grandparent’s garden and being allowed to “dig the small holes” and sprinkle seeds. Then, watch as my Grandpa would gently cover the seeds with loose soil. My brother and I could hardly wait to raid the fresh grown peas or pull out the first carrot – only dusting it off slightly before eating it!
One of my favourite things to make time for is to plan, shop for, and plant in our yard at home and at the cottage. I don’t plant a full garden but I enjoy flowers and herbs, with the odd vegetable plant. The process is therapeutic; time to be in touch with nature and experience another form of life. Many publications actually recommend having a (real!) plant or potted flower in your workspace where you can actually touch the soil during the day. Studies have confirmed that a strain of good bacteria found in soil (Mycobacterium vaccae) has been found to trigger the release of seratonin (known to elevate mood and decrease anxiety).
Gardening provides time and space to forget everything. I put on comfortable clothes (in this case, locally designed MPG Sport wear!) and enjoy the moment. Flowers and plants are far less intimidating than deadlines and long lists of errands. It calms my mind and allows me to decompress after a full day – it’s a form of meditation. As much as we can be physically exhausted after an evening, day, or weekend of gardening and landscaping – our minds feel rested and renewed. Horticulture therapy has become quite popular as a means for recovery in rehabilitative programs. Other benefits include moderate to high intensity exercise, stress relief and boosted brain health, and mental health benefits. To learn more about the benefits of gardening, click here.
As enjoyable as it may be, gardening has its share of frustrations. I’d be remiss not to mention (when opening the blinds in the morning) my disappointment on discovering damage done by deer and rabbits to my rose bushes, hydrangeas, and cedars. Fortunately, my neighbour shared a homemade recipe to keep them at bay (it works!), and I now use this mixture faithfully. If nothing else, it certainly allows for a more enjoyable moment of reflection on the labour of love that is becoming one with nature for a while.
Organic Rabbit and Deer Repellent
- 1 Tablespoon sugar
- 1 Tablespoon cooking oil
- 4 raw eggs
- 9 drops clove oil (purchase this at your local pharmacy)
- 4 Litres of water
Mix all ingredients together (I usually make half the recipe at a time) and strain the mixture through a strainer (as the egg can clump). Purchase a garden spray bottle, one with a manual air pump, and spray directly onto your plants or shrubs every second day. If it has rained, spray again right after. Keep the mixture in the garage or outside, as an odour will develop quickly from the raw eggs.
The weekend is almost here, so take some time to enjoy planting your garden. If you don’t have a green thumb, go out and purchase a pot for your deck, front steps, or even your desk. Choose a colourful flower from your local nursery, and get your hands dirty! I bet you will enjoy it.
Why? Because we can!
I dedicate this post to my gardening and flower planting partner – my Dad. Happy Father’s Day Dad! xo
Photos: Scotch & Coffee
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