Gardening in Tough Times


The colors and textures of flowers and foliage can renew your spirits, and taking the time to watch wildlife come and go is calming and entertaining.

The stock market is erratic at best and plummeting at worst. Global warming threatens to change the planet forever. It seems that every time we turn around we hear about tainted foods or other goods, destructive storms and corporate greed. What are we to do?

Get into the garden.

It’s time to grow less lawn and plant more vegetables. In fact, the folks at are pushing for growing food on the White House lawn, and what’s good for the first family is even better for you and me. You may not have room to grow all of the food for your table, but every serving of lettuce, tomatoes and broccoli that you pick from your own garden is one less that needs to be trucked or flown from distant farms. If the veggies are grown organically, and why would you even think of growing food that wasn’t, you’ll also know that your salad is free of pesticides and other nasty stuff.


There are always new plants to try. Working in your garden stimulates your creative juices, and creativity is just what we need in today’s world.

Next spring plan to put some berry bushes or fruit trees in your yard as well. Edible landscaping is hot, so be the trendsetter on your block and use rhubarb in the foundation planting and blueberries in the mixed shrub border. Herbs such as thyme and chives blend in with shrubs and perennials, so even if you don’t have room for an herb garden you do have space to grow a tastier dinner.

Edibles aside, your garden is your oasis, your refuge in tough times. Turn the radio or the television off and sit outdoors, watching your landscape. Observing nature is not only interesting and amusing, but it also helps us to slow down. Take a breath and admire the scenery no matter what the season; flowers or frost, it’s all beautiful.


Take a minute, or more than a minute, to sit in your garden. Take a deep breath and enjoy doing nothing for awhile

Rested enough? Ok – get going! Gardening is a workout, and there is nothing like working up a sweat by weeding, digging, planting and hauling debris. Exercise is good for the body and your mental state, and seeing what even a small session in the garden can accomplish is extremely satisfying.

As we focus on our tasks in the garden, we realize that gardening can be a form of meditation. We are able to let our concerns fall away as we concentrate on just one thing: deadheading, weeding, or clearing out leaves.

Gardening also reminds us that all things run in cycles and everything is connected. Spring always follows winter, flowers fade but bloom again, and the cycles of birth and death continue. Because we are linked to the land, to our communities and to the world, we are reminded of the wisdom of being wise gardeners, no matter where we are planting.

I remember the popular slogan from days past: Think Globally, Act Locally. We can’t solve all of the world’s problems, but we are certainly able to do what we can. Gardening is one of the most life-affirming things we can do. In good times or bad, if you’re looking for healthy food, exercise, relaxation and inspiration, I absolutely believe that it’s all in your own backyard.

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