Posts Tagged ‘gardening’

Green Healing ~ Tiny Light

A pretty little yellow bloomI am a tiny yellow flower!  I bloom now and again.  I live in a small clay pot and have two close neighbors.  They also live in clay.  One is a miniature rosebush.  She blooms tiny yellow flowers like me!

My other neighbor hasn’t bloomed yet.  We don’t know the plant’s family origin, but it has interesting rounded leaves that offer me a bit of shade.

We are a nice little community on the west side of a plant-lover’s deck.  We like our home and the clay that holds our roots together.

Our caretaker loves each of us, but I suspect she has a soft spot for me.  Her mother told her that I was, “just a weed,” and suggested that she, “pull me up.”  Obviously, this advice wasn’t taken and she let me grow.

Well, one day, I bloomed!  Our plant-loving caretaker was so surprised that she called her mother to tell of my appearance.

“Oh, Mother!” I heard her say.  “You should see how beautiful the little flower is!  It’s a lovely soft yellow and only last one day!”

I was proud to be talked about in such a grand way!  I started blooming more and more.  I love being a flower so appreciated and enjoyed.  My caretaker says I’m part of a Green Healing journey she’s on in life.  That makes me very special to her.

My name is unknown to me and my plant-loving caretaker, but that doesn’t matter.  I am an awesome tiny light; a soft bright spot on the west side of a lively deck!

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Green Healing ~ Horticultural Notes

And the beat goes on…

life in the gardens

Quietly and Softly

soft and cheery, from Mother Nature.

Colorful Communications

We always begin Horticulture Therapy by gathering in a circle to share plant news.  This time together is good, interesting and takes us in many directions.  We often visit our past of garden or plant memories and look to the future with hopeful or creative garden dreams and ideas.

Last week I arrived just in time to hear another participant sharing his idea for a creative planting container.  The young man was more engaged than usual and when he smiled and became excited about what plants to choose and where he would put his new container, I felt like I saw the heart of horticulture therapy.

I like to call these times Healing Happenings, which are moments in time when hope or happiness fills my heart and mind.  I’m not talking about everything being right or all problems being fixed.  I’m talking about a little piece of time when worry and stress take a back seat and the beauty of life emerges.

healing horticulture

Sweet Peas make Smiles

Personally, ‘healing happenings’ include moments when I enjoy what I imagine most Mothers do, which is seeing our children, no matter what age they are, smile and be happy.  They’re also moments when I feel that my family will be okay.

a view of the big picture helps us stay hopeful

Therapeutic Gardening

“Drop by drop would make a lake.” (Azerbaijani proverb)

there is hope

The Intern in an early Garden

And then, there is faith.

We hope the garden grows and have faith in a plentiful harvest.

new lettuce and a few sprouted carrots

our garden grows

lettuce and carrots growing

Volunteer Work

“Few things help an individual more than to place responsibility upon him, and to let him know that you trust him.” (Booker T. Washington)

Spirits thrive in the dirt

Volunteers starting the Bok Choy garden together.

Beautiful Rainbow Chard is thriving.  We harvested the large outer leaves this week.  Our bed of lettuce and carrots are coming along well and the Bok Choy is gorgeous!  I’ve never grown or seen Bok Choy growing before, so it’s exciting. 

I have a special affinity for the Bok Choy.  Transplanting the tender babies into larger pots was the first vegetable we planted when my son and I started volunteering in the horticulture therapy program.

Participating in the group is fun and therapeutic.  I like being around and working with the other volunteers and enjoy the little things I become aware of, either during our activities or after I get home and have time for reflection.

Watering the gardens throughout the week, which I recently enthusiastically agreed to do, with help from my son, is rewarding in several ways.

The plants, especially the ones in containers and young crops need water.  I need something to do outside my personal life.  The responsibility makes me feel proud, gets me away from the challenges and hardships I’m experiencing and, the work brings immediate visible positive results.

“Sometimes you can feel the plants take a fresh breath of air after you give them some space and water,” the horticulture therapist remarked after we recently transplanted several leggy tomato plants.

I hadn’t wanted to work with those plants on that day.  It was cloudy, damp and a little chilly outside.  I was sleepy and tired.  I’d wanted to stay inside the big open educational room and make something out of dried herbs or take cuttings from the scented Geranium. 

I’m not sure of the moment when my lack of enthusiasm changed, but I soon became engaged with the plants and other volunteers in the group.  I enjoyed helping a young man continue the project after a plant broke when he had taken it out of the pot.  Helping him felt good, but I think it was after we were finished and I looked at the plants that I realized how my frame of mind and mood had greatly improved. 

I was moved, literally, to walk closer to the tomato plants.  They looked so happy!  I wanted to touch them.  It was a good feeling.

My son tells me he loves the group and it’s clear to me that he benefits from it, as well as from the time when we go on our own to water.  

“This makes me happy,” he told me the other day, while watering the lettuce and carrot bed.  Our day together had been terribly challenging.  We were not happy campers.  We almost didn’t make it that day, but we both knew that going would help us.  Plus, we knew the dirt was dry and the plants needed people to water them.  We got there just in time before the gates closed.

Seeing my son smile and hearing him say he’s happy is a sign of wellness, even if it’s brief in our notion of time.  This piece of time gives me hope.

The natural positive effects of working with plants is healing to our mind and body.  Having a sense of belonging and an awareness that we have something meaningful to offer a community is big medicine.  I strongly suspect that having more days filled with meaningful and rewarding work could reduce symptoms of ‘mental illness’ and heal wounded spirits. 

It’s hard to know whose on the receiving end of our time volunteering.  I know I’ve said this before in my earlier posts about our Green Healing days, but I am truly grateful for this opportunity.

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Green Healing ~ from lizards to ladybugs

lucky little lady

Beautiful Lady and Morning Dew

How brave a ladybug must be!
Each drop of rain is big as she.
Can you imagine what you’d do,
If raindrops fell as big as you?
~Aileen Fisher

The little lizard who captured my heart a few weeks ago didn’t make an appearance in the gardens this week.  I missed him but on our way to the greenhouse we spotted the pretty little ladybug living in the patch of clover. 

I’m a volunteer in the horticulture program, but I sure do get a lot out of the class.  I feel good when I can help someone, even in the smallest way.  It makes me feel useful.

I took photos of the students working yesterday, and although I’m not a photographer, the abundant sunlight and pretty gardens naturally make good pictures.  The images depict what may only be known by those of us participating.  I hope they will serve as a reminder to the students of the good times and ‘green healing’ we’ve had together.

I feel a bond forming in my heart for the students.  I care about them.  They are very special people. 

Something happens while we work together in the gardens.  Something that I don’t feel like I have the right words for yet.  Personally, my heart and spirit is lifted and nourished.  Based solely on my observations, I believe this good energy flows through the other students as well.  I hope so. 

I am most grateful for this opportunity.  It is a blessing.

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