Why not make your garden a healing garden?

We all need healing in our lives. Sometimes we need healing from unbearable grief and loneliness; at other times from broken bones or pulled muscles.
Sometimes it’s simply the deep sadness of our souls that needs healing.
Little scrapes and big bruises. It could be many things that come into our lives. But whatever the cause, the one certainty is we all need healing.
And for the most part, we know where to go. Traditional medicine, alternate medicine, caring friends, the church, or getting involved in a project. What a myriad of ways there are to deal with the setbacks of life and get back on track again!
In fact, with all of those wonderful ways to find healing, it’s often easy to miss one of the best healing sources of all–our own personal gardens.
Mine is beside the patio. It’s a little herb/flower garden. One-year-old and not as lush as I’d like it. Made over from a tiny perennial bed and a patch of lawn.
In it there are peonies from Ilene, day lilies from Esther, yarrow from Helen, coneflowers from the prairie, and stepping stones from my daughter.
There’s chocolate mint for tea. Oregano for spaghetti sauce and sage for flavoring poultry. Soon there’ll be citronella to keep away the mosquitos, and basil to use in most everything.
A garden is a wonderful thing. It’s fun to work in and beautiful to look at. But most important of all is what a garden can do for the soul–and sometimes for the body.
In her book “Creating Eden–The Garden as a Healing Space,” Dr. Marilyn Barrett writes, “All gardeners know that in some way they work out their problems in the garden.”
Dr. Barrett is a psychotherapist, a photographer, and a prize-winning gardener. She has profound understanding of both the hurts that life can bring us and our potential for finding healing through cultivating the earth.
Once upon a time, she personally found healing both physical and mental by planting a garden and she’s been telling the story ever since.
In her book, the tasks of the garden become a metaphor for life. Take clearing out old growth, for example. It should always be done with extreme caution. For it takes a long time–sometimes decades–to grow back what you can take out in a single stroke.
The same is true of life, she says, for new friends are simply not old friends. But still, sometimes the hurt of life demands clearing out old growth.
There are other times when digging is right. You dug in the earth as a small child–bucket and shovel in hand. You had fun and you felt connected.
And you can do it again, if you choose to. You can plant and water and wait. You can flow with the rhythms of life. You can weep when the rabbits eat your carrots and smile when your first begonia blossoms.
You can weed and transplant, deciding what to keep and what to give up.
For generations, people have equated paradise with a garden. So this summer, why not create your own paradise? You might be surprised how much healing it can bring.

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