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Garden Therapy


Summer is finally here with longer and hotter days. This time of year the gardens are looking fuller and most summer flowers are at their peak. I find enjoyment in tending to my plants, whether weeding the gardens, mulching, feeding, watering or just admiring them. Because the healing power of nature is one of the guiding principles of my personal and professional life, my garden provides therapy for my body and spirit!


The Garden as a Metaphor for Self Care


Tending to my garden reflects the way I tend to myself. I prune or weed the parts that no longer serve me. I water and nourish myself with fresh fruits and vegetables. I compost to let things organically break down, creating nutrients to aid in the growth of other parts.


The Creative Power of Gardening


I enjoy creating garden spaces with intention – my circular herb garden is a great example. I use my creativity to plant with purpose by reusing as much organic matter as I can. Keeping the garden beds clean and clutter free lets air and energy support plant growth. I ensure no pests break down my plants. Even when plants start to show signs of distress, as long as I can pick up on it, I can prevent it from taking out the whole plant.


I plant garlic around Halloween and I harvest it on the Fourth of July. Garlic tends to be the first sprouting plant in spring and it's enjoyable to watch it grow until the summer months. I enjoy gardening because I am able to cultivate an environment that supports growth and nourishment (including my own!). Tending to a garden is where I can find magic in each day. The love felt here is one that only nature can bring.


Garden Therapy

Garden therapy is a real thing. You can read more about it here. Gardening gives me purpose and is a way that I communicate with nature. Connecting with gardens helps enhance my listening skills. I tend to talk to my plants as if they are living things, because they are alive! I even give my plants Reiki healing energy when I feel they want it. It is so fun how the flowers love to show off – how they shift their display with the sunrise and sunset. Their bright colors or their fancy shapes continue to amaze me. It’s even fun to see all the different pollinators that are attracted as well. Even birds love to come and enjoy the flowers!

Harvesting a garden brings joy. With fresh tomatoes straight from the vine, cucumbers to pickle, or hot peppers for canning. I find gardening brings a sense of purpose to my land. Giving back to support nature that surrounds me and being mindful of reusing what is organically around me brings joy. This is one of my favorite ways to meditate.



Here are some of my favorite gardening tips:

  • Compositing dirt has been an important way to nurture my garden. Throughout the years, I have tried multiple composting methods. I recommend this quick guide on composting if this is a new concept for you.

  • For vining plants such as cucumbers, provide a structure on which the plant can climb. This is an opportunity to get creative!

  • Rotate the plants in your garden each year to decrease the chances of diseases.

  • Use mulch to hold moisture and delay water evaporation.

  • Provide the proper amount of water plants need each day. For example, strawberries love water and need about 2 inches daily.

  • Ensure proper planting depth of gladiolus bulbs. If they are not deep enough into the soil the blooms become heavy and the plant tends to fall over. If this happens extra support might be needed.


Tips for Pruning:

  • Prune the suckers on tomato plants to help nutrients go directly to the fruit.

  • Deadhead flowers that have dried up. This will help create more luscious flower displays.

  • Keeping herbs trimmed to prevent them from going to seed promotes longevity and better flavors for cooking.

  • Pick lettuce before it goes to seed for best flavor.

I will leave you with one of my favorite quotes about gardens:


"Connection with gardens, even small ones, even potted plants, can become windows to the inner life. The simple act of stopping and looking at the beauty around us can be prayer."

- Patricia R. Barrett, The Sacred Garden


Blessings,

Briana Pontius


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