The previous owner of my home — “the gardener” as I call her — clearly possessed a passion for the art of the plant. At every phase of the growing season, there are at least two specimens in bloom. The choreography begins early in spring with rows of fuchsia-hued bleeding hearts and extends into the fall with numerous Rose of Sharon trees and sedum plants. I suspect that some of the plantings are quite old (the house was built in 1948), yet many seem to be recent additions. When we first stood in its muddy, quiet wake 4 years ago, something told us that there was a beautiful story about to unfold and it did not disappoint us.
If you’ve personally spent time in a garden, you may know of its power to calm you. You may have also noticed that it doesn’t take long for something peculiar to happen. As you dig — or sit or simply admire the blooms — your mind begins to shift and your muscles begin to relax.
With self care emerging as the antidote to our congested lives, horticulture arrives as a super-hero to save us.
At The Verge, author Lewis Gorden shares the burgeoning field of video games attempting to capture the magic of gardening. Personally, I’m not surprised. When it comes to resetting our minds, no place on earth beats the vibe of a tranquil green space. But, not all of us have a garden handy. As luck would have it, you can now visit them virtually. One lovely option, Rosa’s Garden allows you to immerse yourself in the calming sights and sounds of a garden.
“Rosa’s Garden is a calm and poetic flower game about gardening with roses. Dig little holes in the ground, find seeds, plant them and watch how slowly a rose grows. ” – charlottemadelon.com
In a world where we are bombarded with memes and messages, finding a place of refuge to turn down the volume and slow things down is vital. Nature, of course, is a healer which can affect mind, body and soul. Why and how this happens has been the focus of research for years. The essence of this dynamic seems to rest with how our brains process stimuli. This phenomenon was addressed by one of the founders of psychology William James. As discussed in this Atlantic article, James felt that there were two kinds of attention: directed and involuntary. Direct attention required us to focus (even reading this post requites this) — involuntary attention is passive. The stimuli can be absorbed with little minimal effort.
The multi-layered experience of a garden, is one that is simply absorbed.
So, plant a flower or two in your own dirt or find a local garden near you. Grab someone to take along to share the experience. Be sure to sit for a time, to ensure that you notice the birds and the breeze.
Or simply download Rosa’s Garden.
The choice is yours.
More on the psychology of gardening here:
Live.Work.Think.Play shares observations concerning a wide array of topics — it is designed to share lessons learned from a variety of perspectives.