Many people have written and spoken of the benefits of gardening on health from newspapers to the national health service, but most of them only mention the physical side. I’m not decrying that, naturally good physical health is vital to us all and even just pottering is beneficial, but there is more to be gained than a good body.
Gardening is calming and if done properly also promotes mental health and well being. Once you leave your every day problems and get out into the garden there are many delights. I was thrilled this morning to see the buds on our Clematis getting ready to burst into flower and even more thrilled to see our new potatoes showing green shoots.
So why Zen ?
To garden well you have to be extremely aware of your surroundings, of where you sit and walk. “You need to understand how the trees bloom, to take the pulse of your garden, and train your powers of observation. A garden is not natural. It is all artifice. We make it, respecting the rules of nature.
Doing simple tasks allows the mind to slow down. This is formally known as mindfulness, a Buddhist form of meditation but it is really not much different from christian prayer and modern health practice. This time of year is all about growth, but harvest time will come very quickly.
So why not get out into the garden and do yourself some good.