Preaching to the Choir

Arisaema fargessi

If you garden you are probably aware of what I have to say about staying healthy during this coronavirus epidemic. But, it is always good to return to the basics on occasion. Sometimes we forget or misremember. As gardeners we are all members of the same church, but the last time you heard this preached you may have been napping, or acoustics were bad from your pew.

Gardeners and yardeners have built in advantages over a non-gardeners. We are outside in open spaces with breezes blowing, sunlight upon our hatted heads and sp50 shirts. Gardeners generally work alone, so need for masked protection here.

Gardeners know and feel how the garden aids in staying healthy in body, mind and spirit. We also are aware how all three are connected, interlaced, for our overall health.

The Candy Jack

Exercise

The words Good Health are synonymous with Exercise and Walking. When gardening I am up and down the hillside where my garden is located more often than Tommy Smothers’ yo-yo. I am always forgetting a tool, thinking of something I need back at the house or garage. Ten thousand steps are easily reached on my health app.

I do more kneeling down and getting back up from my kneeler than a devout Catholic at High Mass. Add an oxygen tank to my back while bobbing up and down weeding and removing debris and by my calculations I should be eliminating future penitence.

More lifting goes on than at an Olympic weight lifting competition. Carry those tubs of debris down the hillside and out of the garden to a waiting cart, then forking the debris out of the cart to the waste pile in the woods.

Carrying two-gallon watering cans from the house to the garden, then up the hill to water newly transplanted perennials and shrubs is definitely lifting. When filled that is almost seventeen pounds weight. I should have arms like a gorilla by now. (I had to stop carrying with only my right hand. My arm was getting longer than the left.)

I could go on and on with analogies such as digging more holes than a professional grave digger, but you get the idea. Gardening is manual labor.

Frond of Japanese Painted fern in Spigelia marilandica, Indian Pink

Contact with Our Beginnings and Endings

In case you have forgotten, the soil we play in while gardening carries a reward for us besides a receptacle for our plants. Soil, or dirt, contains something called mycobacterium. Contact improves our brain functions and boosts our moods by increasing serotonin, the happy chemical.

Another case study

You may “know” this one but do not consciously think of it. A study was held proving that blooms of a flowers cause females to smile.  Stop and think, men. What do you do to impress the ladies having them associate good feelings with you? Yep. Send them flowers. Be the smile inside or out, male or female, one cannot help but smile when looking at blooms in the garden.

Tree and Shrubs

If you are a shade gardener there are additional benefits to gardening. First that comes to mind is the lowering of temperatures in shade. Usually a gardener can count on ten degrees lower than out in the sun.

The benefits of Forest Bathing, or walking in the woods, has been known since mankind had time to sit and think about it. Intentional time among trees is like a medicinal tonic. It can reduce blood pressure, stress levels, build the immune and cardio systems. Mood, energy, get boosts.

Finally, if the soul is a container, gardening fills it to overflowing.

If you garden with limitations, you are featured in my book.