Spring Gardening


On February 26, I wrote a post titled “Let it Be Spring” where I proclaimed my impatience for spring. And…. spring has definitely arrived. Early for our part of the county and oh so sweet. I celebrated by getting out in our yard to garden. When I was finished my arms were sore and my body was tired but it was a good tired. I spent three hours in the garden with a shovel and wheelbarrow moving plants around. Cardinals, Robins, Red Winged Blackbirds, Dove’s and Sparrows sang for me while I worked. The temperature was in the low 70’s, and winds light. The day was spectacular.

“I love spring anywhere, but if I could choose I would always greet it in a garden.”  Ruth Stout

Our lot in the 55 plus mobile home community is deep with a number of very mature trees. Towards the back of the lot the previous owners planted lilies and other plants which I haven’t a clue what they are. Last year I said, “Well, I’ll leave them there and see what happens.” In early spring they did fine but as the leaves filled out in the trees, it was too shady and their growth was stunted with few blooms. So, that is what I did this spring, moved them to a more sunny location along the south side of an overgrown evergreen hedge.

“There is more pleasure in making a garden than in contemplating a paradise.”
– Anne Scott-James

While I was at it I moved some plants that the previous owners planted in this little garden patch. There were a Golden Juniper, Creeping Phlox, 2 Day lilies and Lavender. Too over crowded for those types of plants which need room to spread. I moved the Creeping Phlox and Day lilies. The Day lilies I moved where I put the as yet to be determined lilies along the hedge. The Creeping Phlox I put where I had planted some Hostas I dug up last year that the previous owners planted in what looked like was their raised vegetable garden.

 After a few hours of sweating with dirt all over me and insects buzzing around the upper half of my body, I may begin to get a sense of being in tune with nature. It’s at these moments where I take note of a worm that is maneuvering its way out of the dirt or a butterfly that silently lands on a bush next to me. With subtlety and a total lack of self consciousness, I come out of myself, look around, marvel at the majesty of what I am experiencing and begin to take note that I have entered some type of altered state of consciousness.
– Fran Sorin

Along with my sore muscles my spirits were lifted. Working in the garden is good for the soul. While looking up spirituality and gardening on the internet I found this study that was done in Canada entitled  Embedded spirituality: gardening in daily life and stressful life experiences.

What these researchers discovered was that the participants found gardening to be a spiritual journey. Those with formal religious views saw gardening as an affirmation of their beliefs while those who were not affiliated with a specific religion felt spirituality to be in nature itself.

I must say I felt at one with nature digging in the earth, caring for the tender plants, giving them a new home where they would thrive better and listening to the birds.

At one point, I heard a cardinal and looked up and there he was overhead in a nearby tree in all his brilliant red color. The cardinal can renew vitality in life and return joy, brilliance and balance to the mind, body and spirit. That is how I felt listening to the cardinal serenade me as I worked in the garden.

“All through the long winter, I dream of my garden. On the first day of spring, (or in my case, on April 14) I dig my fingers deep into the soft earth. I can feel its energy, and my spirits soar. “ – Helen Hayes

I hope that spring and gardening work their magic in your life.

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4 thoughts on “Spring Gardening

  1. What a wonderful posting! Reminded me of my mother’s gardens – beautiful gardens every year. I can still see them in my mind’s eye. I wonder now if her gardens were her spiritual journey, her time to go to away in her mind and body from all that was demanded of her in her life. Never thought of that until now. I’d like to think her gardens were her connection to her deeper, private self.
    I have never really gardened and so have never experienced the “digging into the earth” – planting and transplanting; tending in such loving and conscious ways you have described Janice. And in reading I could visualize, see it, feel it. Guess whether I experience it literally, it is still a spiritual calling. I will value even more looking at flowers and gardens and breathe them into my soul.

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    1. Thank you for your lovely thoughtful comment. You know I do believe that your mothers garden was a spiritual journey. It’s hard to believe not being in the garden and feeling the connection with the earth and all that is around and enjoying gardens can be just as spiritual. I love walking in gardens. Let’s go one of these days to Wehr Botanical Gardens. They are wonderful to walk in.
      I am glad that you got a visceral sense of the garden from my post. Now that can be a spiritual journey as well. That is why I put that video at the end. Someone else’s spiritual garden can lift us up as well.
      Thanks again Cathy,

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  2. Oh Janice, I just know that feeling you were having. As a pre-teen I asked my father if we could have a vegetable garden, and he made a small plot right in our front yard! I enjoyed that so much and grew all of my favorite vegetables such as corn, tomatoes, green beans, cucumbers and zucchini, etc. I can remember going out to my garden with salt shaker in hand and plucking a tomato or cucumber and eating it right there in the now. Nothing was ever so delicious. When my daughter was 6, and we lived on the east side of Milwaukee, she helped me with a vegetable garden that was part of a co-op plot of land. That was so much fun too, and a good learning experience for all. I think she helped me can tomatoes that year. In 1986 when Rob and I bought our first home, we delighted in the vegetable and flower gardens we planted in our own yard. Now the vegetable garden is covered with a garage, but we still try to beautify the yard with our flowers. It is not a manicured lawn and garden, just a lived in one. My favorite flower is the Bleeding Heart. I am in awe of it’s perfection, and it makes me so grateful for all the natural wonders in the world. Thanks for evoking my memories Janice with your beautiful writings! Namaste.

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    1. Pam, And beautiful memories they are indeed. Growing vegetables and eating right in the garden is the best and a lived in Garden is just as beautiful and spiritual as a manicured one. Thank you for sharing you memories. They show just how nurturing a garden is.

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