Why Do You Garden?

Most of the time, I’m write blogs on what I plan to do next in my garden or on what you should be doing in yours. This week I’m going to do something different.

Put down your rake or put away your garden hose. Grab your spouse or your kids or your BFF and take them to a garden. Let them feel the give of the earth beneath their feet, feel the breezes on their faces, watch a bee flutter around a blossom or watch a leaf swirl down from a tree.

That’s why we garden. At the heart of it, isn’t it to disconnect from the stresses of our daily lives? Isn’t it to reconnect with Mother Nature? Benjamin Disraeli said, “How fair is a garden amid the trials and passion of existence.”

Yes, my garden feeds me—from the tomatoes all summer to the spinach and kale in the fall to the citrus ripening on my Meyer lemon in the spare bedroom window in the winter. But it also feeds the inner me—the busy, always running me.

Sometimes my garden is beautiful and peaceful and comes with a profound sense of satisfaction. Sometimes it’s exciting amid the joy of watching the first buds open or a new shoot poke its’ head out of the soil. And, yes, sometimes my garden is a challenge but that keeps me sharp and creative.

A study in the Netherlands showed that gardening can help to lower cortisol—a hormone produced when we are stressed. Elevated cortisol is linked to many health problems—including heart disease and high blood pressure.  We also can’t discount the benefits of getting up and moving around and getting our “Sunshine Vitamin”—Vitamin D—the natural way. Even more—studies in the U.K. discovered that certain “friendly” bacteria in the soil actually activated brain cells to begin producing serotonin—a mood enhancing hormone.

Gardening is good for us in so many ways. I have a little sign I bought and put in my flower bed that says, “Gardening is Cheaper Than Therapy, Plus You Get Tomatoes.” That’s why I garden.

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