Because we bought our house in the Autumn and the garden wasn’t in dire need I hadn’t really given it any attention. I spent more time concentrating on redecorating the house and trying not to suffocate from the level of dust created by the electric sander (fyi it is more than seems humanly possible). But as soon as spring rolled around I found myself being in the garden more and more.
I don’t know the first thing about gardening or how to cultivate plants and flowers but I am finding enormous joy in learning. I’m sure I’m making mistakes and planting things in the wrong places but I don’t care. I’ll pick it up as I go and learn what works and what doesn’t as each season passes.
I think the changeability is refreshing for me because it relieves the pressure to be perfect. Seasons bring new changes, some plants thrive and some die but with every varying temperature it gives me the chance to learn and improve.
I was in a situation earlier this year where I came home from an event feeling a little down and anxious so when I got home I headed straight for the couch. I laid down and felt those familiar feelings of self-doubt and nervousness setting in and it would have been easy to stay horizontal and let my emotions and imagination consume me. But I knew in that moment that I had a choice, the anxiety hadn’t fully escalated and I could turn it around if I chose to. So I forced myself upstairs and put some old clothes on and walked straight out into the garden. I was out there for an hour and I cannot explain the difference in how I felt when I came back inside.
Maybe it was being out of doors and yet still in my own environment or maybe it was doing something physically productive whilst feeling mentally drained, who knows?What I do know is, it was the first time I’ve ever been able to take control and ‘manage’ my mood like that, it wasn’t easy, and I don’t think I’ve solved the riddle of mental health but it made me feel in control. Sweeping up, re-potting and getting my hands dirty helped take my mind away somewhere else until it felt clear. It was a game changer.
I’m sure I won’t want to be outside as much in the dead of winter but I’ve learned through this experience that when something affects me negatively I need to put that energy into doing something for myself. I am hoping that this practice will also create positive association and provide some comfort when those old familiar feelings come creeping back in.
Gardening has bought me a new sense of joy and desire to learn about something I didn’t even know I was interested in six months ago. I cant wait to see what the next season will bering, now if you’ll excuse me I must go and see to those hanging baskets…