“[Gardening is] the most difficult art form because it changes. It takes an appreciation of balance, color, and different kinds of plant materials with strong architectural components—all of which must be coordinated with the changing seasons to create a symphony of color, beauty, and tranquility.”
Ben Lenhardt, chairman of the national Garden Conservancy,
Traditional Home, April 2013
The Garden Conservancy does important work preserving important gardens for the rest of us to enjoy. But for most of us, we aren’t thinking about the art of gardening or striving for artful perfection, rather we’re focused on creating spaces that interest us and help us enjoy our surroundings. Gardening doesn’t have to be hard work—though unquestionably some work is involved if you’re working on a larger scale.
Gardening can be as simple as half of a milk carton on a window sill planted with a pea, or a planted glazed pot greeting you each time you walk to your front door. Gardening is an act of pleasure, a gift to oneself and those around us.
I just learned of an Australian web site touting the value of creating a plant/life balance. I love that idea! Visit the site and check out all the benefits plants provide in our lives. My favorites?
- Flowers Generate Happiness. Flowers and ornamental plants increase levels of positive energy and help people feel secure and relaxed.
- Improves Relationships/Compassion. Research shows that people who spend extended lengths of time around plants tend to have better relationships with others. This is due to measurable increases in feelings of compassion; another effect of exposure to ornamental plants.
- Mental Health. Studies have proven that people who spend more time outside in nature have better mental health and a more positive outlook on life.
While I gravitate to the health and well-being benefits of plants there are plenty of economic and environmental paybacks. There’s a movement afoot in the U.S. nursery industry—and Oregon’s on board— to “Play Dirty, Plant Something!” If you’re reading this, you’re already likely to be a convert to the gospel of gardening. Help us spread the word about how gardening helps all of us live better!
Share your story. Tell us how you started gardening. Post it here or on the Plant Something Facebook page. (Me? It was planting carrots in my very own little backyard patch of dirt when I was three years old. I graduated to four o’clock flowers before I was 10. Now I can’t resist conifers and I’m still trying to grow vegetables!)