Recently I attended a webinar put on by the City of Sydney, City Farm, called Mindful Gardening. The presenter was Toni Salter, known as The Veggie Lady.
We were introduced to the world of mental well-being and connection with nature through gardening and being in gardens.
Much research is happening on the positive effects that gardening can have on us, mental and physical. It helps us through beneficial organisms in the soil, through allowing us to take our mind off things that might be troubling us ‘in the head’, and offers a break from the routines, anxiety and possible isolation of this era of lockdowns.
We were asked an inviting question when shown some photos of different gardens: How do these gardens make you feel?
Being aware of our senses – sight, sound, smell and touch – brings us into the present moment, and there’s a lot that we can observe, with guidance like this:
- Colour: blue and white are calming; red and yellow energising (Petunia, Pansy, Bulbs, daffodils Hippeastrum, variegated foliage ‘purple-heart’ ie Tradescantia).
- Also contrast in light and shade
- Different shapes and types of leaves, flowers, shrubs and trees;
- Composition in the garden – how are plants chosen to be placed together, or creating space between?
- MOVEMENT – birds and insects moving in and around garden beds, stems and grasses blowing in the wind, water features such as a fountain or bird-bath, a wind-spinner
- SOUND – wind chimes, birds, gravel crunching underfoot, timber boards walked on, water moving, the rustle of leaves as small animals escape
- SMELL – peppermint, rose, cinnamon, citrus geraniums; Heliotrope Cherry Pie (mauve and white); Gardenia, Violet; Natives: lemon centred gum and myrtle; herbs
- TOUCH – rough, smooth, soft, spiky – the textures of bark and leaves, lambs-ear, pebbles, cactus, aloe, (sharpness makes us present!), wind in our hair, sun on the skin, cool breezes on the cheek
From this webinar, came across the idea that many people could break their lockdown routine walk with mindfulness activities:
· Five minutes sitting in one place with no agenda, just immersing yourself in the surrounds, try to identify sight, movement, sound, smell or touch.
· Grow herbal tea plants in your garden, on your balcony or in your kitchen
· Harvest herbs & veggies from your garden or in a street garden or community garden
· Plant sunflowers
· Sow some seeds
· Grow houseplants
· Make a terrarium
· Nurture your plants
· Join a community garden
· Make a nature pact
Let us know what you decide to do to nurture your mindfulness!