In one of the classes I teach we start off with a garden visualization. We close our eyes and imagine ourselves sitting in our summer gardens.
(Come on, play along!)
It’s one of those crystal clear, blue sky days with no humidity and no mosquitoes (and no weeds?!). Just a perfect summer day.
When everyone has transported themselves into their gardens, I ask them the following questions:
What do you see?
What do you hear?
What do you smell?
How do you feel?
Then, I give them some time to reflect on and write down the images and sensations they experienced.
The purpose of this exercise is to illustrate how gardening touches us on a deep, soul level. The feelings of beauty and the joy we experience when we’re feeling connected to our gardens seep beneath the surface and lodge themselves somewhere between our hearts and our brains.
The vegetable garden isn’t just about feeding our bodies, it’s also about feeding our souls.
The reflection also helps participants identify what they love about their gardens. And then in the class we talk about how they can build upon what they love so that their garden and yard contains even more of it.
What about you? What did you imagine? And what can you do this season to create more of what brings you joy?
For example, if you found yourself imagining bees, butterflies, and other insects flitting around your garden, are there some ways you can attract more of them? Perhaps creating a pollinator garden, planting more flowers, or placing shallow dishes throughout your garden for bees and butterflies to quench their thirst.
Or if you heard quiet, can you set up a sitting area in a peaceful spot that would allow you to sit for a few minutes and just be with the silence of nature?
All four of the above categories are important to keep in mind when you want to create a garden that inspires a deep sense of satisfaction. You can take clues from the images and sensations that arose and use them as pointers towards what things you should focus on highlighting and augmenting in your garden.
It’s always fascinating to hear the answers to all of the questions, but my favorite one is – How do you feel in your garden?
Here are some of the answers I’ve gotten this year:
I feel the warmth of the sun and the gentle breeze.
I brush the plants with my hands and feel their different textures.
I sink my hands into the loose, moist soil.
I feel hot and happy!
I feel calm.
I feel satisfied.
I feel relaxed.
This is why we come back to our gardens every season – because of how they make us feel.
Our gardens should be a source of peace, inspiration, beauty, color, and joy, not a source of stress, dread, failure, and exhaustion.
If, when you did the visualization, you experienced negative feelings, know that it’s not just you. For all of us, the gardening journey mirrors our lives, with ups and downs, and moments of frustration and elation. But, the good should far outweigh the bad when it comes to gardening.
If it doesn’t for you, then it’s time to dig deeper into the experience and commit yourself to learning more about how to create the garden you’re dreaming of. Over the years I’ve discovered the more I learn, the more success I have, and the more deeply I fall in love with the process.
Take a class, check out some library books and read them, gather and share knowledge with other gardeners in the area, or join my VIP learning community. Whatever you choose, approach it with a love of learning and a desire to build your skills and you won’t get off track.
Eventually, you’ll wake up one day and realize that you have the garden you’ve always wanted that connects you to a deep happiness you can’t quite imagine your life without.
The key to enjoying your garden is making it as simple and easy as possible so you can dedicate more time to the parts of gardening (and life) that you love and enjoy.
That’s what the Flavorful Life Garden Club is designed for – to help you embrace the gardening lifestyle and get more out of every minute you spend growing and enjoying your food.
Join us and we’ll support you in getting more from your garden!
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