In case you haven’t looked outside lately, spring is here. Birds are refurbishing their nests. Bees are out searching for pollen. And the soil is getting warm and fertile.
Okay, so maybe you weren’t born with a green thumb, or any other green finger, for that matter. Perhaps you can’t remember what Forget-me-not looks like. Or don’t know a Wavy-Leafed Hosta from a common weed. That doesn’t mean you can’t get out and enjoy a relaxing and stimulating pastime that’s extremely popular at almost every Sunshine retirement community: You guessed it. Gardening.
President Thomas Jefferson, a noted horticulturist, once said, “No occupation is so delightful to me as the culture of the earth, and no culture comparable to that of the garden.”
That sincere delight is one reason why most of our communities have outdoor spaces where residents can culture their own pieces of earth, and why many even have designated community gardens where residents commonly grow their own vegetables and herbs, as well as colorful arrays of flowers. But there are many other reasons as well.
Yvonne Babb, owner of Your Garden Companion, an Oregon-based business that provides planting and growing assistance for individuals, youth groups and senior centers fully believes in the therapeutic power of gardening. Her husband suffered a stroke while in his 40s and now enjoys gardening in his wheelchair.
Says Babb, “What gardening entails is a variety of engaging movements in the most therapeutic gym possible: Mother Nature. As our population ages, there is all the more reason to include modified gardening spaces that allow residents to continue to stay active and interact in nature.”
Not long ago, Psychology Today cited no less than 10 reasons why gardening has noticeable mental as well as physical healing power. Here are several of our favorites:
Then, as Canadian poet and novelist Margaret Atwood once said, “In spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.”