Monday, May 25, 2015

Daily Write It Out: Gardening as Therapy

With regard to my feelings of trapped misery, I have to say that gardening helps.  On good days, when Bug isn't home and Sweetpea consents to sleep Not On Boob, I ignore the mountain of cooking, housework, and other boring adult chores, and go outside with a trowel.  Friday I planted two lilacs, a rhubarb, and three thornless blackberries; put down mulch; pickaxed a few stumps out; and sprayed the poison ivy* for the Nth time.  Earlier in the week I put in three currant bushes, 100 okra seeds, and some hyacinth beans.**  For some reason, this largely irresponsible digging-in-the-dirt makes me feel a great deal better about life.  (Probably some combination of sunlight, fresh air, things-that-aren't-children to do, and exercise.)

My theory is, therapy would cost me $25 a week (copay + babysitting) whereas $25 a week can buy a LOT of plants.  And most of my plants are free!  So clearly this is a perfectly reasonable outlet.

(Also we have 0.9 acres, and when we moved in there were three scrubby barberries planted in full shade and two scrubby rhododendrons planted in full sun.  CLEARLY it needs a lot of gardening.)

* The only thing on which I use nasty herbicides.  Dr. S requires steroids when exposed to poison ivy, so... sorry, environment.  Everything else gets pickaxed out.

** In addition to our Major Budget Item Landscaping, I've been scrounging plants from everywhere.  Friends, neighbors, things growing by the side of the road, brush piles, stuff set out for trash day, things that rooted themselves.  Also my dad brings me plants periodically, including two rhubarb crowns and several dozen hot peppers and a bunch of tomatoes.  The lilacs were runner-ing into my yard and the blackberries were from the garden I work in with my friend C- they'd escaped into the veggie beds.  Bought and rooted the currant cuttings; okra seeds from Experimental Farm Network; hyacinth beans collected last year from the library's garden beds.  Dr. S insists that I have a plant problem.  I don't see why it's a problem.

9 comments:

  1. It's definitely not a problem, it's a solution! You're beautifying your environment AND improving your mood at the same time. He really should be grateful you're such a problem-solver.

    In addition to seeing cute baby, I should come visit and we can garden!

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  2. you're on! and clearly it is a solution.

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  3. Gardening really is therapeutic. Totally agree with you and I can also relate to your situation... Mel at catesgarden

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  4. Bionic8:14 PM

    I love garden therapy. Find God in the garden; you can dig for Him there. Or words to that effect. O sweet spontaneous.

    $25 sounds pretty cheap to me, though.

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    1. To be perfectly honest, it's more that I'm not depressed enough to accept medication - I just need sleep, free time, and employment, dammit!- and don't need someone to tell me that it's hard to balance everything when you have a baby. If I'm to insist on one baby free hour a week, I want to grow something!!! Though the discovery of a surprisingly affordable hellebore nursery in so. Va is a dangerous thing.

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  5. Gardening is good for the soul.

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  6. Your garden sounds fabulous! I would like to grow more fruits, but fear defending them from birds. Plus limited sun. And oh, there is nothing like being out there digging around. It's exhausting, but in such a different way from the usual ways. My favorite days are when I can do intellectual work for a few hours, say revising a paper or doing some data analysis, then come home and dig and weed and have grand visions for things I can never accomplish. I have visions of such a future for you, when Sweetpea is a bit older and you can go back to some kind of work.

    Though I feel a professional obligation, even though I'm not That Kind of a Psychologist, to counter some stereotypes. There are many ways to relieve stress and gardening is a good one. But therapy can do more than relieve stress--it can serve a different function entirely and, ahem, even go beyond being told things you already know. Though I don't disagree with your assessment that it's not a good use of your time--that's for you to decide, obviously.

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    1. I've had plenty of very useful therapy, which I wholly endorse! And many good psych professionals have indded helped me realize many useful things. It's just that right now, I'm pretty sure professional help would be overkill.

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    2. P.S. the garden is more embryonic than impressive right now. A work in progress. Your lettuce looks much nicer.

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