Garden Sanctuary: Using The Garden To Help Make A Difference

By Teo Spengler | December 4, 2020
by Teo Spengler
December 4, 2020

I don’t think that I am the only one who finds these times we live in particularly difficult. Though every year has its problems, the past months have brought us face to face with many stressful situations over which we seem to have little control.

So many people are hurting, so many animals and plants threatened or destroyed by fire or flooding or storms, species lost to global warming. We all want to help; I want to help. But aside from being a good citizen, following recommendations and donating to the causes I support, I feel powerless. That’s when I love my garden most.

Garden Sanctuary – A Place Where I Can Be

My garden is a refuge, a safe space, a corner of the world full of peace and beauty. My trees thrive, my succulents produce new branches, my vegetable garden overflows with its bounty. Flowers light up the corners, climb the fences, fragrance the air. Birds and bees feast.

Sitting outside in the midst of all this happy mix, I feel a sense of joy that ordinary life seems to lack for me. I listen to the tweeting of the birds, the wind in the leaves, the sound of the ocean a mile away, and I can be there, truly in that moment. It makes me realize how I hold a large part of myself in reserve when I move about the world these days, protecting it, perhaps, from the ceaseless stream of anxiety-producing news.

Gardening to Heal – A Place Where I Can Help

Things go wrong in the garden. Lettuce is eaten by mice, branches break, plants wilt or get attacked by aphids, hanging baskets fall. But I love these problems because I can do something to fix them. I can protect the lettuce, prune out the broken branches, bring in ladybeetles for the aphids and pick up the hanging baskets.

I don’t think any of us in our wildest dreams hope to fix all problems, but it feels terrible when we can’t fix any of them. My garden is a place where I can take action to help, to heal some of the wounds, to feel I can make a difference.

Gardening for the Environment – A Place of Harmony

Everyone gets along in my garden. The nasturtiums climb over the jade plants, the squash plants provide shade to the tomato roots, the tallest trees provide refuge for birds and squirrels. Flower pollen feeds the bees and hummingbirds sip from the salvia blossoms.

In the garden, I get a sense of how life might have been in yesteryear, perhaps in earlier centuries. Where did we go wrong in the wider world? I come to the garden to replenish my hope, find peace, and get back to nature. It’s my small way of giving back.

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