Everyone at some time feels stressed to the max and everyone has their own way of dealing with it. One of the best stress releasers is gardening. We all know the saying, “bigger is better,” but when it comes to a therapeutic garden, size does not matter. What is important is the time you spend working in it and enjoying it. At times we feel we have no control over our life. Sowing, weeding, raking, and trimming will give you a feeling of control, control over your garden. Gardening will become a satisfying experience.

Interacting with nature, brings a healing affect; it gives you physical and mental well-being. Some have the time and yard space to maintain an English garden with paths and lots of texture, fragrance, color, shape, sound, and possibly taste. Others with limited time and space find pleasure with maintaining containers or raised beds. They provide the same relaxing pleasure of texture, fragrance, color, shape, sound, and possibly taste found in spacious gardens, but on a much smaller scale.

Spend time moving the dirt around in your garden or container. Take those gardening gloves off and feel the earth between your fingers. Think about the texture, what is mixed in with the dirt like small rocks or an earthworm. Look for a hidden treasure as you sift through it; you might find an old button, a penny, a lollypop stick, or even a lost gold chain from years past.

Put your nose down into the center of the flower and take a deep, long breath. Take in the fragrance of each flower. Think about how different each flower smells; some have a sweet scent and others give off a musky fragrance. You need only to stand close to some flowers and their scent is so strong you can smell them from a distance. Others, you will get as close as you can to them, but because their scent is so faint there is hardly any frangrance.

Study the variety of colors. Yellow is not one yellow. Red is not one red. Notice how they vary in shade? There is pale yellow that seems almost white. There is bright yellow like the sun. There is lemon yellow, banana yellow, pear yellow, etc. Red goes from a deep almost black red to a light pinkish-red. There is bright red like a golden delicious apple. All colors have a multitude of shades. Look for them. Look at how they blend with each other and other colors.

Studying the leaves is also calming. Count the numerous colors of green. Look for the leaves with yellow or brown on them. Some might be spotted because of disease. When you discover new growth, rejoice knowing life is continuing.

Look at the pedals on the flowers. You will find some that form a tubular flower, some are spread wide exposing the seeds that will eventually drop to make new plants, others are wavy almost looking like lace, and still others fold over each other forming a tight ball.

Gently break a leaf off and listen to the sound; did it snap? Rub your finger nail across the leaf; did it sound rough?

Some flowers are edible. If you have some in your garden, taste them. Think about the flavor they leave in your mouth.

Find pleasure in your garden. Let it bring you calmness and peace.

http://cru.cahe.wsu.edu/CEPublications/FS299E/FS299E.pdf

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/worry-and-panic/201505/petal-power-why-is-gardening-so-good-our-mental-health

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