The Glory of Gardens

A small garden is worth more to its owner than an entire forest.

― Matshona Dhliwayo

Now, I know forests are important and that many gardeners would love forests, but there is no getting away from the fact that there is great personal satisfaction from tending and relaxing in your own garden, no matter how small.

My Garden Is My Sanctuary

As I look out to my garden
I feel a sense of pride
It really is a lovely room
Except it is outside.

Where lovely things mix and match
And greenery fills the walls
The sound of trickling water
Coming from the gold fish pond.

I love the sight of stones and rocks
And driftwood and tree ferns too
The sounds of all my chimes
I know you would like it too.

With pride I walk around my garden
And savour each scent and smell
Colours of yellow, red and gold
Striped cushion on a bench.

The bird bath has its own domain
It’s placed beside a wooden arch
Where all the birds come to bathe
And drink when they are parched.

Ladybirds can hide away
Sometimes they come out to see
What’s happening around them
With caterpillars and the bees.

There’s not much more that I can say
Except if you have your own
It won’t take long to build it up
Seeds will bloom once they are sown.

– Marie Church

A photo of my garden
A photo of my garden

Gardens can be healing places when we are feeling stressed. We can just sit and relax in them or get lost in weeding and planting, which I am convinced is a definite form of ‘mindfulness’.

‘Immersing oneself in nature is good, and the act of gardening goes one step further. The physical activity and sense of accomplishment are huge benefits to human health. In addition, the great thing about plants is that they respond to human care in a non-threatening way and plants don’t discriminate. Cultivating a plant or entire garden can be a huge boost to self-esteem.

Gardening can transcend social problems. No matter your race or social status, a love for plants can bring people together. Several researchers and projects have shown gardening to promote positive social interaction.

Spirituality varies from person to person, but nature often plays a role. Being within a healing garden creates a sense of peace and connectedness to oneself, others, and perhaps things greater than us.’ Christopher Enroth

The healing power of a garden

There is something about putting your hands into earth that is grounding and connects you to nature and gives you a sense of being part of the universe. There is something for the gardener to do all year round; they observe the changing of the seasons and the beauty in each part of the cycle which reflects our own lives upon this earth.

Pulling Onions

A callused palm and dirty fingernails precede a Green Thumb.
Wishes are like seeds, few ever develop into something.
Sitting in a garden and doing nothing is high art everywhere.
Beauty is the Mistress, the gardener Her slave.
Complexity is closer to the truth.
When all the chores are done, the avid gardener will invent some new ones.
Where are the fig blossoms?  Exceptions to every rule.
Only two percent of all insects are harmful.  Why are they all in my garden?
The joyful gardener is evidence of an incarnation.
As with most arts, gardening is an expression of our hands.
To dig is to discover.
The ten thousand things are more enchanting than the Silent One.
To lift the mind, move the body.
Gardening is a slower path to a richer sensuality.
To garden is to open your heart to the sky.
The road to flourishing needs regular maintenance and repairs.
The present is merely a fleeting moment; we actually unearth our essence in our past and create ourselves in the future.
Having a poor memory helps a great deal in finding happiness.
A garden is a feeling.
Absolutes squirm beneath realities.
Your never too old to embrace a stupid idea.
The end of the garden is at the end of a hose.
A gardener loves the rain; also, for the resting time it brings.
In general, be more specific.
The Laws of Gardening are mostly local ordinances.
Sitting in a garden and doing nothing is high art everywhere.
Gardening is but one battle against Chaos.”
–  Michael P. Garofalo

Granny Bonnets in my garden
Cowslips in my garden

Gardens mean different things to different people. Here are some quotes from people I know…

Maggi Mckenna: ‘A riot of colour contrasted by the calming nature of a grey Buddha in a Zen Den.’

Sally Martin: ‘Chirping birds, nature, peace, adventure and play and a place for family gatherings.’

Dan Flynn: ‘I don’t think I believe in nature, but I do seek a compromise of the possible and the desirable. Its definitely not a place that is a projection of my control. I want harmony.’

Ann Gerety Smyth: ‘My garden evolves with me and as my family grows. At first we wanted a large lawn for them to play, now it is ever so slowly changing into a forest garden of food giving trees and plants wildlife, meadow and mystery.’

Angela Bickley: ‘Total absorption! It’s good for body and soul.’

I am going to leave you with some quotes from two of my favourite books as a child. From ‘Tom’s Midnight Garden’ by Phillipa Pearce…

Tom opened the door wide and let in the moonlight. It flooded in, as bright as daylight—the white daylight that comes before the full rising of the sun. The illumination was perfect, but Tom did not at once turn to see what it showed him of the clock-face. Instead he took a step forward onto the doorstep. He was staring, at first in surprise, then with indignation, at what he saw outside. That they should have deceived him—lied to him—like this! They had said, ‘It’s not worth your while going out at the back, Tom.’ So carelessly they had described it: ‘A sort of backyard, very poky, with rubbish bins. Really, there’s nothing to see.’

Nothing…Only this: a great lawn where flower-beds bloomed; a towering fir-tree, and thick, beetle-browed yews that humped their shapes down two sides of the lawn; on the third side, to the right, a greenhouse almost the size of a real house; from each corner of the lawn, a path that twisted away to some other depths of garden, with other trees.

From ‘The Secret Garden’ by Frances Hodgson Burnett…

“Sometimes since I’ve been in the garden I’ve looked up through the trees at the sky and I have had a strange feeling of being happy as if something was pushing and drawing in my chest and making me breathe fast. Magic is always pushing and drawing and making things out of nothing. Everything is made out of magic, leaves and trees, flowers and birds, badgers and foxes and squirrels and people. So it must be all around us. In this garden – in all the places.”

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