I have to get my hands in the dirt and grow something. It just seems to put the world right. Gardening has always helped me to de-stress and allows me the time to process the events of the day.
Health benefits of gardening
I’ve always felt this way about gardening, but recently I came across some research that backs up these feelings. Research has shown that being active outdoors increases memory, concentration and attention span while decreasing stress. It also improves overall mental health and reduces depression.
There are some days when my garden seems like too much to keep up with or days when the deer come by and eat everything I worked so hard to grow. But no matter what, I always return to my garden.
I work indoors all day. I love what I do, but I miss being outside. Gardening in the evenings and weekends helps to keep me balanced and grounded (no pun intended).
Wildlife watching in the backyard
I cannot begin tell you how much fun it is to watch the critters that show up in my garden. I have specifically planted things that attract wildlife, adding in vertical structure for cover and roosting, and a source of water, so I get quite a few visitors. I get a bit of a thrill when an uncommon bird or animal shows up in the yard.
I am fortunate to have owls roosting (and hunting) in the yard and when I hear them call out at night it brings a smile to my face. I’ve also had wood ducks nesting in the yard twice – and the colors of the male wood duck flying out in the morning was a good way to start the day.
Other creatures that have visited the yard (or even stayed for a while) include raccoons (had a baby in a cavity tree once), deer (with three spotted fawns), all sorts of birds – even saw an indigo bunting or two this year, red-tailed hawks, turtles, snakes, hummingbirds, butterflies, lizards, tons of squirrels, and crawfish. There are even a couple of neighborhood cats that like to spend lots of time in my yard.
Growing my own food
There is nothing like the taste of a homegrown tomato. Growing vegetables and fruits in the backyard has always been a source of pride for me. I like knowing that my hard work made the food on my plate possible. I know what I put into the soil and onto the food, so I also know that I’m not eating any pesticides or herbicides. While I’m not a fanatic about organic food, I like to reduce my intake of chemicals when possible. I also like having extra fruits and veggies to share with friends and family.
While I understand that gardening isn’t for everyone, it has been a lifelong love of mine. The satisfaction of growing something from scratch and the joy of relaxing in a backyard filled with flowers sustain me throughout the year.