By JO ERBSKORN
Sometimes you just have to sit back and take a deep breath no matter what is happening in your life, good or bad. Life is ever changing, and so it is in the garden.
I am drawn to gardening for many reasons, and beauty is the least of them. I find a lot of peace in gardening, so much so that I tend to push myself too far.
As we age we all face changes in our own bodies, some positive, some negative. If you love a hobby no matter what it is, you learn to work around whatever hurdles may keep you from it.
I have dealt with many health issues for many years, but I keep doing what I love because I can’t let them keep me from what gives me peace.
I can’t do the amount that I used to or go at it at the same pace, but I can still enjoy it. I often think of people with other health issues—those in wheelchairs or with a limb loss, mental handicaps, etc. It has been proven that no matter your handicap, gardening can be accomplished with some adjustments and helps to raise your spirits. A positive mental attitude can help so much with health issues that are often oppressive or depressing.
Caring for something gives a person purpose. Having something depend on you for survival gives you purpose. Potted plants can’t survive without water, food and pruning. When the heart hurts, weeding and deadheading can be very cathartic. Plants will reward you with new growth, perhaps smile at you by producing flowers or vegetables.
Our plants have seen my laughter, tears, smiles and heard some pretty awesome music over the years. I’ve had many garden buddies over the years, also. Our lab, Kisses, would lay by me and watch unless I dug a good hole, then it was on. She took that as her cue to assist me. Many plants have been planted in places of her choosing. She’s been gone three years and I still miss her.
Another garden buddy I had was a Flemish giant rabbit named Buddy. He wasn’t a show quality rabbit, just a very sweet, big guy. He was the color of a wild rabbit and very big—he weighed about 20 pounds. Flemish Giants are the largest rabbits in the world and if you’ve never seen one it can be a bit surprising.
I would take Buddy out of his cage and let him wander the yard while I worked in my gardens. He was very good about staying in the yard. Usually he found a big hosta and rested under it.
Just about every time Buddy was out with me someone would come walking by and slowly walk up to me and usually whisper, “Don’t move, there is a giant wild rabbit in your garden.” I’d laugh and say he’s not wild, he’s a pet, or I’d get up and go pick him up and say you mean this one? It made for some fun conversation.
This is just one example of how gardening can be a positive experience no matter who you are or what your limitations.