This spring, we decided to build a garden at the lake. While we have been coming here for 15 years, this was the first year we would be here full time, having moved from the city.
At the outset, this seemed a little crazy. We come to the lake to relax. This year, we would not have two yards to look after, so why would we add to yard work by putting in a vegetable garden and installing a bunch of new flowerpots?
For me, the answer is simple. I have found therapy in growing things. I have always enjoyed yard work – when I have time to enjoy yard work. Sounds crazy, I know.
I loved our yard in the city, with its beautiful flowerbeds and vines, and at one time I had a vegetable garden in the city, too. But there were times that I cursed the yard, when I came home from work – or from a weekend at the lake – to be faced with a yard full of weeds and grass needing to be mowed. Or arrive at the lake to a weekend of yard work. At those times, the yard was not therapeutic. It was a burden, stress added on top of existing stress.
This year, enjoying a respite from the stress of work, the joy of growing things has returned. My mom helped me do all my flower pots, and we enjoyed watching the flowers explode in blooms and colour all through the yard. And then the garden was built, the seeds went in, and the first sight of plants pushing through the soil was actually exciting.
We came home from a vacation to a garden full of tall and aggressive weeds, but I didn’t mind putting in the time to pull those weeds, because there was also a harvest of cucumbers, beans, swiss chard, lettuce, tomatoes, and now beets and jalapeno peppers thriving despite the weeds.
Now, I weed a little bit every day. I harvest a little bit every day. I love the taste of the fresh vegetables, and even more than that, the satisfaction that I grew them. I enjoy my morning visit to the garden to see what has grown. I love visiting each of the flowerpots, checking their progress, enjoying their colour. I putter and water and then sit and marvel.
There really is something healthy and therapeutic in this simple lifestyle. There is therapy in the simple act of growing things.