In the Garden:
Pacific Northwest
September, 2011
Regional Report

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When I'm in the garden I not only talk to the flowers, I talk to the trees, as well.

Gardening is Good for You!

I think gardening is one of life's purest pleasures. It's a scientific fact: gardening is good for you. Besides being good exercise, it soothes the soul and brings pleasure through all the senses -- sight, smell, touch, taste and hearing. Nurturing plants and watching them grow brings a sense of accomplishment and gives me something to look forward to every day. Tending a garden shifts my viewpoint outwards and puts me in touch with the rhythms of nature. I think it's the perfect pick-me-up in our troublesome, time-pressured world.

I've casually surveyed hundreds of WSU Master Gardeners over the years and most say they love gardening because it provides a sense of accomplishment and an escape from the stresses of daily activities. Although stress is subjective (my stress could be your joy) and varies in degree, one thing is certain: Our health is closely related to how well we cope with daily events. I'm convinced that the popularity of home gardening is a direct result of the increased amount of stress in our lives.

Immerse Yourself
Gardening allows us to indulge our senses, which in turn gives us a feeling of well-being. Getting our hands dirty, inhaling the sweet scent of lavender, tasting a fresh-picked tomato, hearing the rustle of grasses in the breeze and seeing the incredible array of colors nature has to offer is like taking a mini-vacation. When I'm in the garden it seems like I am miles away from the phone, the computer, and the burden of project deadlines.

Exercise Creativity
Beyond the physical benefits, gardening offers us unlimited creative possibilities and the chance to stimulate that sixth sense: the intellectual sense. There's always something to learn, and with every lesson comes a greater understanding of nature's ways, a deeper sense of satisfaction, and often a healthier garden (and gardener).

Harvest Nature's Bounty
Gardens also can give us a sense of control, an important asset when we feel there are so many things in the world beyond our control. We are not going to be able to control nature, but at least in our gardens we can exercise some choice, deciding what to grow where and when. As we realize that our health is closely bound up with the planet's health, we understand that in restoring the earth in our gardens, we also restore ourselves.


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