The Power of Mindful Gardening

by Melissa Blundon. CANP, AOLCP | June 2019

9 Garden Care 9 The Power of Mindful Gardening

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Stop. Just stop. Stop measuring time by the passing of the blooms. For so long now, I have been doing this but I’m beginning to realize that it’s not a good thing. But it’s hard not to notice the changes of the seasons. The happy bulbs of spring are a distant memory. The Peonies are long gone and Sunflower, and even Corn, mazes are in full swing. The Lavender blooms are waning and the fall Anemones are blooming. The Maples have a slight tinge of fall color already peeking through. And Pumpkins and Mums have already begun arriving at stores. Before we know it, the autumn harvest will bring it all full circle and the process of closing the gardens will begin.

“The mindful gardener knows that every challenge will come and go but the joy of nature sustains the soul.”
– Anonymous

While all of this makes me a little sad, I’ve decided the best way to pull myself out of this rut is to practice mindful gardening.  The noun form of mindful, mindfulness, is defined as “the practice of maintaining a nonjudgmental state of heightened or complete awareness of one’s thoughts, emotions, or experiences on a moment-to-moment basis.”  Expanding on this definition of mindfulness by the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, I’d like to suggest that mindfulness also comes with intentional practice, compassion and gratitude. The phrase “moment to moment basis,” means living in the moment; a common expression these days.   Another trendy expression is “enjoy the moment”. And so, while I love the change of seasons here in New England, even as I may feel melancholy bidding farewell to another season, I must discipline myself to enjoy each day in the garden, without thinking of what is past or what is next.  Just live for today, noticing what mother nature has offered this day and practicing mindful gardening.

Today, I noticed the Monarch caterpillars, who have been feeding on the milkweed that I planted, have disappeared and I happily assume they have become the beautiful butterflies that are flying freely about my garden.  The sound of bees, birds and cicadas at work calmed me. I counted almost a dozen pollinators on the Salvia that I planted earlier and a smile spread across my face. The hot summer sun soaked deep into my bones and felt nourished by the vitamin D.  The colors of the garden reminded me of a Monet painting. I pulled a few weeds until I didn’t feel like it anymore, I’d get them later. Life is good in the moment. It does not mean there will be no more weeds or lily beetles or voles or powdery mildew or on and on the challenges go. It does not mean I will not face challenges and difficulties in the upcoming days.  Indeed, I am sure I will be facing some big ones in the future, but for today, in my garden, life is OH SO GOOD!