If you’d asked me two years ago what my hobby was, I would never have said gardening. In fact, I thought gardening was boring, and for some reason held the view that I was some sort of plant killer, imbued with the questionable talent of killing all things green with just one glare. Then we moved to a house in the countryside, with a garden of deep, deep borders and sunny aspect. At first, it was a necessity – a required evil job that had to be done in order to not have an outdoor space consisting entirely of rampant bindweed and mess. However, that started changing quite rapidly…
As this is a new blog, there is a chance people don’t know that I used to be depressed. I was on and off medication for a number of years, and nowadays I’m largely spontaneously “fixed” – most of the bleakness is but a memory. However, I view depression a lot like an addiction – I’m a recovered depressive, but never cured.
For me, gardening quickly became a cathartic experience. Even weeding was good for me – having time to myself, outside in nature, with repetitive, focused work that resulted in a real, tangible difference. And of course, doing it all in the elements – even wet and rainy weather offers more daylight and Vitamin D than a sense-dulling television screen! For that reason, I’d recommend it to anyone who was or is depressed. In addition, it turns out that soil microbes may actually have an anti-depressant effect of all of their own – and I do enjoy digging around in the mud and fresh compost, getting it under my nails. It’s like the grown up version of creating a delicious mud pie!
As well as giving my my own space and a focus for my haywire brain, gardening to me offers an opportunity to create something. Whether it is clearing a patch and filling it with bulbs, nursing herbs into flourishing bushes, or coaxing tiny seeds to burst into life, creativity and something of the earth mother feeling are natural side effects. My mother always said I needed a creative and a physical outlet, and this covers both!
Why do you garden?