Tag Archives: Healing through Gardening

Only Child has too many worries

Only Child contemplating her too stressful life .

Only Child contemplating her too stressful life

I have hit worry overload – many new worries popping up and some ongoing chronic ones.

In last week’s post I mentioned the garden-related problems from the extremely severe winter and late start to spring (is spring here finally?).  I have been closely watching the large juniper tree on my front lawn, the boxwood shrub in the front and the two silver lace shrubs winding on the back fences. And carrying on a heated dialogue with God. As you know I put the responsibility for this weather squarely on God. The silver lace will have to be cut down – one has signs of life near the bottom so may come back. The juniper is slowly showing more signs of green but still has quite a ways to go. The boxwood is coming along slowly, but still has a long way to go. If necessary I can trim it back.

But I don’t want to lose the big juniper. Getting it cut down will be over my dead body. God owes me to get it back at least to 95 per cent recovery. And God will have to send me the money from somewhere to pay for an arborist to cut down (and in one place remove) the silver lace. I have bills to pay for the home repairs already planned and scheduled and so far have the money for them. It’s the extra unplanned stuff I can’t deal with – financially or emotionally.

Unplanned like computer problems – both computers and both with security in one way or the other. Not surprising as that is a reflection of my life currently –  very unsettled and very little seems to be in my control. I choose to have more control of my life and to have less problems to deal with. I won’t go into more details but right now I have more crosses than I can bear.

Are you listening God?

My health – emotional, mental and physical depends on it. I have three auto-immune diseases (if you count allergies as one of them) and to manage them I need less stress and more sleep. Both those are wavering in the opposite to health direction.

When I do sleep I have weird sometimes frightening dreams and I know they reflect what I am going through and what I need. Would be good if my dreams gave me some answers.

Is it too much to ask to have only a few problems, what you can take? And not a lot of horrific unexpected ones popping up all the time.

The grass is green, so are the plants and the flowers are actually showing up in my garden. My garden is supposed to be my sanctuary but when I look at the juniper, the boxwood and silver lace I wonder about that. I can’t help wanting to go back to my mother’s garden when I was growing up in the 50s and 60s  and helping mom in the garden, picking berries, and sitting out in the backyard and reading an Agatha Christie or other novel borrowed from the library.

I didn’t know how good I really had it then. Life really sucks right now.

Cheers (I think)

Sharon A. Crawford

Only Child Writes

 

 

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under 1950s, Anxiety, Healing through gardening, Health, Mother and Child, Only child, Overwhelm, Problems

Fix what ails you – go into your garden

Only Child standing beside Black-eyes Susans and in front of black walnut tree in backyard

I’ve blogged about the healing garden before, but apparently without actually noticing what my garden is telling me this summer.

Although I’m not big on Feng Shui anymore, I do believe a garden will tell all, including some answers for what is bugging you. And I don’t necessarily mean the bugs in the garden. However, maybe I should look into the bug aspect as I’ve been stung twice. Both times I accidently shoved a finger or hand where a “stinging insect” rested and disturbed it. Maybe my answer here is I’ve been shoving myself into too many things without intention and getting bitten for my efforts.

The real thing my garden is telling me is to notice what is growing so well in it. With the drought this summer until the beginning of August, it is amazing that anything is growing at all. My bean plants are stunted and that tells me I shouldn’t be eating some types of beans right now. But it is the huge and taller-than-usual clumps of Black-eyed Susans (Rudbeckia) that catch my eyes and my soul with an “aha” moment. Black-eyed Susan is a misnomer as the middle is dark brown, not black (although the perennial also gets called Brown-eyed Susan). The main part of the flower fans out from this centre in individual petal strips that are bright yellow. The Rudbeckia is growing all over the front and back of my garden and when I sit outside I can feel the flowers penetrating my body and soul. Yellow is the colour for healing and this summer I am having a particularly hard time with my digestive disorder.

Then there are those two black walnut trees on my friends’ property next door. The branches hang over my property and provide much needed shade in a corner of my patio. It’s not the leaves or the shade, but the earlier-than-usual walnuts that have been falling off the trees, bouncing loudly like a ball against the house. The message: I need to take the homeopathic black walnut for my digestive system. At this point the jury is still out whether that will help, but once I started taking it, the walnut-dropping stopped except for an occasional late jumper. A reminder to keep taking my medicine?

My garden is full of signs about what is going on in my life. I just need to look and listen.

Cheers.

Sharon A. Crawford

Only Child Writes

Leave a comment

Filed under Digestive disorder, Gardening health benefits, Healing through gardening, Health, Horticultural Therapy, Only child, Sharon A. Crawford

Only Child on healing through gardening

Only Child looks forward to quiet time on the patio in the back garden.

I need to garden now to heal. And the weather and the garden itself look promising.

Monday, I saw the first robin of the season. The robin was moving across my front yard. The lawn hasn’t yet turned green, but in the back clumps of tulips and hyacinths are poking above the ground. I need colour, so yesterday I “dragged” my legs over to the local garden centre and bought two potted pansies. I put one on the picnic table on the backyard patio and hauled out a small table for the veranda and placed pansy plant number two there. Already I’ve been sitting outside to eat breakfast and lunch. Now with daylight saving time, dinners outside will soon follow.

This winter may have been the warmest in years in southern Ontario, Canada. But it also turned into one of my worst winters for physical health problems – two viruses in a month, acting as catalyst for a severe Vitamin D and Calcium deficiency causing extreme pain in the bone below my knee.  Hence the dragging my legs to and from the garden centre.

So, I repeat, I need to garden to heal. I need to get outside more in the sunshine. I need to remove the dead tops of last year’s perennials so this year’s perennials can appear and blossom. I need to turn the soil. I need to plant seeds – once my seed order comes through. Like nearly everything else, preparing the seed order and mailing it got put on the back burner until it threatened to burn. I need to tour the garden and see the wonder of what is happening. I need to sit out more in the garden, on the patio and on the veranda. Then I can receive the gift of Vitamin D from the sunshine and my leg will continue to heal. Just going outside into the garden, and buying the pansies lifted my spirits.

Gardening is therapeutic. As Anne Marie Chaker writers in The Wall Street Journal http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304620304575165831058222608.html, many nursing homes and hospitals are incorporating gardening of some sort – even just sitting out in the garden – as a way to heal. Being in a garden can change moods from bad to good and lower the stress level. When I yank out weeds, I pretend I am yanking my problems out of my life. That gets interesting when I superimpose a person (or persons) who have been making my life hell. But it beats yelling at the person, and afterwards I feel at peace and many weeds now lie in the compost or yard waste bin.

Studies show the therapeutic value of gardening. Two studies published last year in Issues in Mental Health Nursing (2011;32(1):73-81) showed that depressed individuals involved in a 12-week horticultural program with a three-month follow-up found the severity of their depression decreased. Participants felt the program was meaningful and influenced their life. (Pub Med http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21208054)

Horticultural Therapy, although emerging as a trend in healing therapy, is not new. Dr. Benjamin Rush, who signed The American Declaration of Independence, said that gardens held “curative effects” for mentally ill people. (See http://www.ahta.org/content.cfm?id=history). There are national therapeutic associations such as The American Horticultural Therapy Association (http://www.ahta.org)  and The Canadian Horticultural Therapy Association  which defines horticultural therapy (in part) as “Horticultural Therapy (HT) is a formal practice that uses plants, horticultural activities, and the garden landscape to promote well-being for its participants.” (See http://www.chta.ca/about_ht.htm for more information about horticultural therapy). Also see the CHTA’s links page (http://www.chta.ca/links.htm) which gives a bird’s-eye view of horticultural therapy in practice in Canada.

Meanwhile, back in my Toronto garden, I can’t wait to spend many hours digging, planting, pulling weeds, collecting flowers and arranging them in vases inside, and sitting back and enjoying the colours, scents and sights. Maybe gardening as healing is intuitive. My late mother also started early in her garden and I followed her. For some reason I equate our gardening with religion. Perhaps I was close; it wasn’t the religion so much but the healing of mind, body and spirit. As I write in my memoir in the chapter titled, “Practising Gardening and Religion”

In April, when the first tulip showed its face in the flowerbed under the living room window, Mom had to get out in her garden and do her vegetable, fruit and flower business. In the beginning, Mom and I moved in tandem with the garden and religion like we found parallels in them – both had beauty, filled us with awe, seemed to bring some order and ritual to our lives: plant seeds in spring and be rewarded with beautiful flowers and bountiful vegetables and fruit in summer; go to Mass and communion on Sunday and be rewarded in life with only good. For some of that time, Dad was still around to join us.

(Excerpted from You Can Go Home – Deconstructing the Demons, Copyright 2011 Sharon Crawford)

And a footnote to last week’s posting on what memoir writing means to me… My guest blog, “Writing from the Heart,” about writing short personal essays/memoir for print and online publications appears on the Networds blog at http://www.networds.ca/Blog/content/writing-heart.

Cheers.

Sharon Crawford

Only Child Writes

Leave a comment

Filed under Gardening, Gardening and depression, Gardening health benefits, Healing through gardening, Horticultural Therapy, Memoir writing, Only child memoir, Stress, Vitamin D Deficiency