One of the nicest thing in my life is my garden. I always had one, no matter where or how I lived; little tiny gardens in my window, a somewhat larger one on the balcony, or even a few different ones when I live in a house surrounded by land. When I feel depleted or exhausted I go into my garden to replenish; smell a flower or a herb, replant something, clear some weeds…having my hands touch the earth is soothing and healing. I can spend hours in my garden and I love all the scents!
For an outside garden I have found it takes 5 years to reach balance, that is when the garden has found its rhythm. Some plants have an affinity for each-other and thrive together – in my garden the most obvious at the moment are the different thymes that are so loved by the roses…I can feel their harmony.
Some plants just can’t stand each-other – lately it has been the rosemary and parsley – and need to be moved apart. Other plants are okay, but not happy and it takes me some time to realize that they need other neighbors. It also happens that plants shrivel up and die, very quickly, when they are not happy. When a new plant comes to my garden, I place it in different spots, with different “friends” to see where it is the happiest, it actually perks up when it hits the right spot. I tried, at one point, to plan my garden – to no avail. The plants, herbs and flowers were not always happy with my planning and I had to start moving things around a bit. This is why it takes time…plants live, breath and have different personalities; I’ve got the pushy roses, the shy ones and the very careful, sensitive ones. They are all roses but oh so different in character. I had a beautiful Aquilegia that just shriveled up and barely survived, so I moved her to the back-garden which is wilder and rougher…she has now become a huge family, lining the neighbors wall and thriving with high grasses, blackberries and nettels…she likes the wild life!
Most of my berries live in a totally wild area behind my house. It is a tiny jungle of currants, black and red, gooseberries and raspberries mixed up with a jumble of vague bushes. Each year they deliver such an abundance of fruit that it keeps us with jam and juice for the entire winter season. Once I tried “cleaning up” the jungle a bit, that year we had no berries… so I go with the flow and allow it to happen as it will. Sometimes the plants that arrive chez moi are hot-house bred and they almost always need to die the first season, no matter how diligently I try to nurse them, only to come back with a vengeance the year after. Some of the stuff in my garden just moved in by itself and stayed, chatting happily away with the neighbor.
We don’t create our gardens, we open a space where creation is allowed and then it happens. This is my best tip for stress-management 🙂