Posts Tagged ‘slowing down’
October 22nd, 2010
Slow gardening, like slow food, is taking the time to savour, it is the process, not the sudden transformation that matters. When you build a little, dig a bit, plant a little, move slowly and most importantly, don’t try to do it all at once, nature works with you. Gardening is something you do, not something you buy. You don’t have to spend money to have a great garden.
If you can find the right plant for the right place your hardest job is done. The plants do the rest! Don’t aim for a tropical garden if you live somewhere cold. Life has enough pressures without bringing them into the garden. Make compost and leaf piles and let nature look after your waste. Relax a little, then do a bit more. Soon you find yourself slowing down and enjoying the process of gardening.
Whatever you end up creating and growing in your garden, it is good to find your own way of doing it, and enjoy the process. The garden is the one place we do not need to rush. It is a place to slow down and take it all in! Everyone can grow something. It can be anything, and when you grow something you become a gardener.
July 10th, 2010
There is an art to pottering in the garden. When you master this gentle art you will find that pottering can be very therapeutic! Time slows down. You slow down. It can be very relaxing. The first rule of pottering is that there is no rules at all. No lists of work to be done. In fact the very best sort of pottering happens when you just go outside and wander about, doing whatever comes to hand. There should be no timetables, no particular project to complete.
I usually start a day of pottering with what I call ‘the garden walk’. This is different from walking to get somewhere, or the early morning exercise walk. This walk is more of a wander really. You just wander about, and maybe sit down, if a seat is at hand and let your mind drift. You will notice little things that need your attention. Some little job that you might like to do. A weed may need to be pulled out. A rose cut back. Before you know it your garden gloves are on and you are away.
The hours pass and you might find you have got quite a lot done, but it doesn’t matter if you have or not. A day spent pottering is not about ‘getting things done’ it is about time being spent pleasantly. It is about listening to the birds and maybe sitting down and watching them for a while. It is about not just smelling the roses but taking the time to touch their petals. It is about slowing down.
June 23rd, 2010
It is Winter now. Cold and Grey. But early in Autumn a small bulb, called Hyacinth was cradled neatly given a cool drink and a kiss for luck, then tucked away in a cool dark cupboard. Time moved on as it always does. Blossom thought she had been abandoned! Poor wee little thing.
The weeks past, and it was true that she had been forgotton. But then….What is this? Could it be a little green leaf? Wonder of Wonders…Blossom had been found again. ‘Out of the cupboard with you’, a voice cried. And out she came. She stood close to a window and grew and stretched towards the sun.
She began to shoot up a blue flower. Yes, she was blue! Indeed, she was a proud blue Hyacinthas, called Blossom, much loved and admired by all who passed her way. Stop, she seemed to say, to anyone who would listen. ‘Come close enjoy my fragrance’. And that is just what we do! Isn’t she lovely? And becomming more lovely as each day passes.
Blossom brightens up my winter days!
May 11th, 2010
A cheerful garden under the bluest of autumn skies has been begging for my attention. So, for the past few days it has been me and the ducks pottering about. It was wonderful to be outside and it occured to me, once again, that it is the garden that teaches me what ‘gardening’ is really all about. A garden can help us to connect our dreams with the natural world around us. Gardening connects us to the natural world and slows us down to the pace of life as it should be lived. As you work away in your own little Eden the seasons become your teacher. You get to know the plants more intimately and learn about their likes and dislikes, as you do with friends.
I like to feel that gardeners who live and work in harmony with their surroundings make a valuable investment in the living green mantle of Earth which sustains all life by providing shelter, food, and even the air we breathe. I certainly feel more in harmony myself if I have had my ‘garden therapy’ for the week.
Autumn is a very busy planting time for me. I have moved towards mediterranean, drought tolerant plants that need little water, and I have found that these plants planted in autumn become established over winter, watered by the beneficial winter rains. In the summer that follows, many are able to manage on their own, helped by ample mulch, while a few still need the bi-weekly water to survive the hottest summeer months.
So, I have been away from the computer and busy as a bee out under the slowly changing colours of the autumn leaves. Waddles and Hazel have been having heaps of fun in the puddles that have been abundant lately with the rain, and to make things even more exciting – we are beginning to find more …snails! Well, I am off to rake up a few more leaves for the compost!
March 25th, 2010
Why do we all love to have and tend our gardens? I believe it is the love of growing things. It is the excitement of watching the wonders of Nature unfold before our eyes. To watch those first green sprouts of the bulbs we planted months ago and almost forgot about! To see the fascinating results of a tiny seed yielding its beauty. To feel the earth under our hands and get down and dirty!
In Wind in the Willows Ratty enjoyed mucking about in the river, on the river and in a very similar way I enjoy mucking about in the garden in amongst the weeds and plants. Digging amongst the rosemary enjoying the heady fragrance as I work! Feeling the earth – feeling connected.
Rest for a while in your garden and let your thoughts wander at random to ponder on its beauty. You will be surprised at how relaxed you will feel after a short time. Think of all the creatures we find in our gardens – the beauty of the butterfly, the swift flight of the birds, the joy of hearing them chatter and sing, the minute insects under stones and plants, our hardworking friend the earthworm.
My garden is not an award winning one, but it is a garden made with Love, with a capital ‘L’ – sometimes the ‘L’ stands for Learner! I am always learning – the garden can teach you many things, and not just about plants! A garden can teach you patience, it shows you how to look carefully and notice small things. It is alway full of surprises and little joys. If you allow it, you will learn how to slow down to the pace of life as it should be lived, one season at a time.
January 24th, 2010
Welcome to my garden! I have been very busy outside this morning harvesting my tomatoes and pulling out some weeds here and there. I have been pottering about and time just got away from me, but in a very nice way. I could hear little noises from the duck shed telling me it was time for Waddles & Hazel to come outside to start their day. So, I let them out and decided to make some pancakes with their contrubution of eggs and to make a bit of an event of it by brunching outside and enjoying the garden. So, here I sit with the day before me and the gentle peace of the garden surrounding me.
So far the summer has been gentle to my garden and my water tank is full. It is cool this morning and the scent of the native mint is competing with the lovely smell of early morning coffee. I can just sit back and watch the day unfold. Hazel and Waddles have trotted down to their little pond and are just about to slip in to have their morning splash. The rosellas are up in the Chestnut tree making little noises, just so I know that there is no seed on their seed tray. Suddenly, Chuckles swoops down with a couple of friends to see if I am having something they might like to share. But they are not impressed with my pancakes! The ferns are green and lush and some little finches are playing about in and around the fushias. High overhead the cockatoos swoop and screech, and quietly in the background the creek bubbles along its way to a larger river downstream.
I look through the paper and decide to head off on a drive later and take a peep at a few nurserys and markets I might pass on the way. There is no hurry though, I will just let the day unfold slowly.
January 17th, 2010
A garden, any garden is surely one of life’s happy places. Just being in a garden provides joy and tending your very own garden, be it a pot plant or a back yard provides a creative outlet. In life it is the simplest of things that make us happiest. Standing in your garden – no matter how small – in the soft, early morning light on a hot summer morning is a perfect pleasure. Bringing out that early morning coffee to enjoy under the shade of a Chestnut tree and listening to birds and the sound of a little creek is relaxing and helps put any troubles into perspective.
I used to think that no season could surpass spring for anticipation and the joy of watching the garden come to life. But just this morning, while sitting with my early Sunday morning coffee the pure scent of gardenia washed over me and I noticed all the buds that had been ready to come out had bloomed and the perfume was amazing. The roses and lavenders are all full and lush and I have now decided that summer must be the most voluptuous season of the entire year! Mind you the true test of any garden or gardener is just around the corner – the hot dry February to come.
The creation of beautiful surroundings enhances quality of life in countless ways. The mental health value of gardening is well known to those who practise garden-making. Anyone who has worked or walked in a garden, watched plants grow or spent hours dreaming of creating a cool, calming oasis of beauty will attest to the emotional benefits of gardening. Time seems to slow when you are outside working with plants, and you slow down and relax also. I love working in my garden trying to create an enchanting retreat, a happy place, with plants.
January 4th, 2010
There are fairies at the bottom of everyone’s garden. They add a magical quality and work with the bees, ants, ladybirds, lizards, frogs and worms to improve the soil and add magic to any and every garden. Yours as well as mine. You just have to believe! Look at the flat, splay-leaved dendelions. Theiryellow flowers follow the sun and close up at night because that is where the fairies sleep in their cosy yellow bedrooms. Of course the dandelion puffballs of gossamer are acturally baby fairies, you can watch them fly off on the first puff of wind or help them on their way by gently blowing on a warm summer day.
If you get time this summer to wander into the bush or into a ferny glade in the less civilised pockets of your local suburban parks or gardens, take some time out to search for the fairy places. It all happens down near your toes! Tiny star-like flowers are hidden in the grass. The early morning dewdrops that sparkle like precious gems are surely fairies! They have secret plots, gardens everywhere!
If you are lucky enough to find a green praying mantis, coax it onto your finger. Now, move your hand slowly. With great politeness, the mantis will always keep turning its pretty little head to face you. This is why it is also know as ‘the lady’s companion’.
Take some time out to wander in some lovely green place and let your imagination take you by the hand. Play he-loves-me-he-loves-me-not with a daisy on a blanket by some pretty river. Just take some time off to discover and delight in all the magic in nature’s garden.
December 16th, 2009
There is not many problems that an hour or two pottering in the garden won’t at least put into perspective. Often I will nip out into the garden for just ten minutes and find suddenly that several hours have passed, the kids have not been fed and the day has disapeared. Whoops! I find that gardening is one of the best antidotes to stress there is. Gardens and gardening counter stress in a number of ways. Just being in a garden or green space reduces stress levels.
The act of gardening itself is very beneficial too. First, it is physical activity, something that many of us who spend our lives at desks or slumped in front of the television badly need. Most of us live our lives at breakneck pace. The Internet means that much of our working lives happens in a heartbeat, we can do the shopping a 3 o’clock on a Sunday afternoon (just as well for me) but there is practically no down time any more. -But there is in gardening. Gardening slows us down to the pace of life as we were meant to live it. Gardening works in its own time frame, it will teach you patience.
Gardening brings you directly back into contact with the yearly cycle – it really is one of the only activities in this modern world that still does. When you garden you will notice the subtle seasonal changes – the buds beginning to swell, the first leaves turning colour – you cannot but be aware of the cycle of life.
Gardening is essentially an optimistic activity. When you plant a seed you are investing in the future. Gardening also gives you endless second chances. Ok, so something didn’t work quite as well as you had hoped, learn from it and move on. I find gardening to be very creative. I can’t paint or draw but in the garden I can create something visually beautiful. Or at least beautiful to me.
Growing plants also offers a relationship with something living, an opportunity to be nurturing, to feel needed. There is also an immense satisfaction to be had from seeing seeds that you have sown germinate and grow into plants. It is a sort of validation, it gives you a real lift.
So if you are feeling stressed out try a little garden therapy.