When my youngest child was in third or fourth grade, he made me a Mother’s Day card. It read, “Thank you for making life,” and showed a drawing of me in the garden. I found it interesting, when I asked him for details, that the card’s theme wasn’t about me giving birth/life to him. It was about me planting seeds and tending to the plants that grew.
I didn’t even know, up until then, that he valued or appreciated our little garden.
Working in the Garden Reduces Stress
More recently, when a good friend commented about being stressed, I advised them that working in the garden and working with plants is a great way to get rid of stress.
I find it amazingly so. I have seen, time and again, that even an awful, stressed-out, unloved, grief-filled mood can be wiped out by working with plants.
The plants, here in the desert of Arizona, are the ones that make me feel most needed. Every time I water them by hand, (the ones that require hand-watering) I feel the seriousness of how much this is needed. One summer day late on watering, and all of the leaves on the peach sapling turned brown.
An hour late on watering young seedlings in the dry heat of summer and they can seem to evaporate.
Those are some of the tragedies.
With years of trial and error, there are many more that survive any given year. I wouldn’t give myself credit for actually making life in the garden. But here in Arizona’s valley of the sun, a gardener’s skills are essential for the plants to live.
I have come to know the mulberry in the pot so well that I can recognize when its leaves are starting to droop. After I water it, the leaves look happy again. And I feel needed. And I feel happy. Maybe that is what my young son recognized, and what he wanted to commemorate on that Mother’s Day. He knew of the joy that working with plants gives me.