The Meaningful and Happy Garden

Is it possible to maintain a garden without it being a chore? It is, if I am focused on the meaningful.  The trick to being happier with the many tasks in the garden is to make them significant. 

Monarch Caterpillar on Milkweed

How do you make your garden meaningful? Take every task on your garden to do-list and make it important by seeing how it is a gift to others. A mundane task of picking up a truckload of leaves at the City maintenance yard can be one of those chores that I would normally want to get over with so I can do something else. Anytime I perform a task only to get it done so I can check it off and move to the next task wont be joyful. Instead, examine the task to be done and think of how it will benefit others. The others can be strangers, wildlife, monarchs, bees, plants, friends or family. But the road to happiness is to bring meaningfulness to every task and not let your mind wonder to the other twenty items needing completion.  

Honeybee on Thyme Flower

Shifting your garden task list to a loving act of kindness will remove the words chore from your vocabulary. Maybe you have done a random act of Paying it Forward by giving the cashier the money for the person behind you at a drive thru and experienced the joy of giving to a stranger. Even the task of picking up a piece of trash can be meaningful if you see how the litter removal can add harmony to someone else’s life. How many times have I experienced frustration while I pick up trash grumbling about the person that left it behind. Today every piece of trash picked up is a blessing to someone else that now doesnt see it.  

I may not see the joy in a frogs face when I cover my bare ground with partially decomposed leaf litter but in the early evening and early morning hours I hear the rustling of leaves as they hop through them collecting their bug meal.  In the morning I see the Robin cock his head as he stands knee deep in leaf mulch looking for protein in the worm habitat I have created. Ive given to plant and soil life by cooling their roots and providing nutrition as the leaves decompose; insect life such as ground nesting bees by giving them a mulch that is easily moved so they can create a home to raise their young; human life by recycling; and home finances by not spending hundreds of dollars on mulch.

Take your to-do list and see how it helps others and make it meaningful and as a result it will make you happy. When you find yourself feeling stressed take a look at the blessing you are providing and stay in the moment with your task. Use your 5 senses to experience the joy of present moment living. Smell the leaves earthy fragrance, listen to the sound of them as you pick them up, feel their texture as you spread them, see all the different types of leaves, and hear the rustling and crispness of them.  Once you experience a garden rather then look at it as an unending list of chores you will experience a meaningful and happy garden. It will even grow better since we have left the stress and negativity out of the atmosphere.  

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About Ann Barklow

Ann is a Certified Horticulturist, Master Gardener and Arborist with 35 years in the Horticultural and Landscaping Field. In her community, she serves on the Piedmont Tech Horticultural Advisory committee along with Bee City USA, America in Bloom, Lakeland's Master Gardener Board of Directors, and the Festival of Flowers Committee. She is a Strategic Partner with Park Seed, Wayside Gardens and Jackson and Perkins - educating on pollinators and wildlife.

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