Gardening : A pure joy
Out of the few interests that I have, outside of what I do for a living, gardening occupies most space — both in my home and my thoughts.
I guess I get it from my parents — both avid nurturers. Or may be from my great great great ancestors. After all we humans have all evolved in nature and are a part of it. That affinity we have towards other life forms, is something that must be running way deeper than our family traditions or practices. Don’t you think.
Not that gardening is same as living in nature. But it is surely a way to be more connected to it. And ultimately it is this very feeling of connection that makes “Gardening-A pure joy” for every one who indulges in it.
Want to discover what kind of relationship you have with nature? Let’s make an attempt by doing a small exercise here.
Close your eyes and think of a surrounding which really calms you down. A surrounding that comforts your racing mind and heart like nothing else. If given a chance you would like to magically get transported to this place after a fight with your boss or spouse or with anyone else who really unsettles you.
What did you see? Was it your favorite shopping mall or a cinema complex? An art house or a luxury fashion outlet? Did you picture yourself getting your favorite Spa done?
For most of us it won’t be any of these. In fact, it won’t be anything that is man-made.
Like for me it’s a “forest”. Without a trace of technology around. Where I can hear the birds singing and leaves rustling. Where there is a fresh water stream flowing nearby. Where there are hills as well as plains. Hills not too high and sun shining bright. Filtering through the canopy of hundreds of trees around. Wow! It’s magically relaxing.
In fact for over 90% of the people, it would be nature – sea, mountains, forests, lakes, snow, rain. Spending time in nature is healing and captivating to say the least . Its wilderness, mystery, beauty, vastness and diversity, everything is awe-inspiring.
Living in big cities, small apartments, fancy workplaces — chasing one form of materialistic desire after the other, we spend a life so disconnected with our true selves that we often don’t even understand what is it that is making us feel empty, lonely, disoriented and stressed. Inspite of having all the amenities, why are we not sleeping well and getting unhealthy by the day.
May be the answer lies in “Nature”. And the best we can do for ourselves, without making many changes to our existing lifestyles — invest in some house plants or start our own indoor/outdoor garden.
As they say, if you can’t go outside yourself, bring the nature inside of your apartments/offices. And what is the easiest way to do that than bringing some living green beauties to your homes and workplaces?
Keeping a variety of house plants around your living area is known to have a positive impact on your mental and physical health. Plants don’t just provide us with clean air, they also help us de-stress. They are not only delightful to look at, but have many therapeutic benefits for us humans.
You don’t believe that having a couple of plants at your home can actually, significantly impact your health and well-being?
Here’s a story for you.
Once upon a time, there lived a young girl — beautiful, sensitive, intelligent and caring. She was very empathetic towards others but would end up getting hurt herself over and over again. She was quite resilient though. She would always get up — stronger than before, carving her way out of every difficulty. Like a stream of flowing river she kept flowing, creating her own path.
But this time the obstacle was huge. She felt lonely and hurt. There seemed to be no one around whom she could trust, who would make an effort to understand her. One day, while sitting alone in her home, she remembered — as a child how she used to take care of the house plants along with her father. Planting a sapling, watering it everyday and watching it grow — one leaf at a time. What joy it used to be, she thought.
She brought a couple of baby plants the next day. And started caring for them. Now a young woman, she felt much more connected to them. The joy of nurturing a life force and watching it bloom made her forget most of her worries. She started recovering. She felt more in control of her life. She started healing and flowing again. All the goals (career and personal) she had charted out for herself, started getting completed one after the other.
No the story does not end here.
Then came a setback again. She had to move to another city for the new job and she could not find a way to shift her house plants. The plants she had nurtured from a few leaves to a small bush over the last 2 years. She had to abandon them. She gave a few of them to her relatives and with a heavy heart she left.
Just the thought of her plants would bring tears to her eyes for the next couple of months. Who would take care of them the way I did, she used to think. She vowed to never ever own any again. It is too hard to leave them behind, she told herself.
Then after few months, while talking to the same relatives, she got to know that there were new blooms on her favorite orchid. She saw the picture and smiled. Something broken inside of her got fixed a little.
Soon she got transferred back. She found 2 of her other plants, standing right where she had left them. They hadn’t been watered for 2 months but they were still alive. Oh! how relieved and happy she felt. Having been reconnected with them. It felt like the feeling was mutual. The plants were waiting for her as much as she was missing them back there.
Such is our connection to the other life forms.
And if you too want to have your own garden, start without any apprehensions. It does not matter how big is your home, whether you live in a cold or a tropical environment , whether you have any outdoor space or not.
If not outdoor, build an indoor garden. If not trees grow house plants. If not in soil, you can even start by keeping some in plain water (bamboo, money plant, arrowhead etc.)
If you feel your job keeps you too busy to give time to gardening, think again. All you need is 10 min, everyday, to look at your greens. And in return they give you so much. Spending few minutes of your day taking care of them helps you to regain focus and allows you to live in the present. It soothes your mind and senses. Boosts your creativity like nothing else. Makes you more patient.
The list is long. All you have to do is start and experience everything yourself. I promise you, it will be rewarding.
And before you begin exploring your green thumb, here are a few tips from my own personal experience. You might find them useful —
1. Go for a medium sized plant: When we begin our journey as a home gardener, the budding little gardener in us is full of enthusiasm. We want to nurture and see our plant babies bloom in no time. But from my personal experience — I would recommend that you start with a medium sized plant first rather than a baby plant sapling. Because baby plants are much more susceptible to damage by bugs, over-underwatering, sunburn etc. They need better care and understanding to grow. You may not really feel good if you end up killing a bunch of them in your initial journey.
2. Stay away from fertilizers: Fertilizers have to be added carefully — type, quantity, timing need to be taken into account. But as a beginner, you first need to understand the basics — sun, soil and water requirements of your plants. Most plants thrive if you take care of these three. There is no need to rush to using fertilizers.
3. Invest in basic gardening supplies: Always wear Gardening Gloves while handling your plants. You never know what might irritate your skin. Buy a good Spray Bottle to mist them or to clean them. Gardening Scissors are a must have too. You will have to prune your plants every now and then. Scissors come in handy. And lastly you may want to buy a good Watering Can for daily watering.
4. Start with low maintenance plants: Start with buying — Drought resistant, pest free varieties that are less sensitive to sunlight. For eg: Rubber plant is extremely drought resistant, Thuja plant is relatively pest free and Jade plant thrives both in full sun and partial shade. You can comfortably start with these 3.
5. Be Patient: When you bring plants home from a nursery, give them some time to acclimatize to their new surroundings. Don’t panic if they look a little dull for the next few days. If they do not come around in a week or so, try moving them to a lighter/darker, airy/non airy space. Remember, plants need attention but they also need space & time to bloom. Just like all other living beings.
That’s all from me this time. Hope you enjoyed reading.
Do share your thoughts/feedback/questions in the comments below. Or write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I would love to connect with you.
Until next time…
Stay Happy! Stay Healthy!