Lately, the events around the world have become impossible to tune out. The world is going through a time of change that feels unfamiliar to most of us, and it’s only natural that we’re all feeling some stress as a result. We can’t control what happens outside of our four walls, but we can turn to nature to help ground us. As we struggle to maintain our calm amid trying times, there’s so much restorative power to be found in the garden.
Ideas for Creating a Backyard Oasis
Our gardens are an escape, in many ways, and these days that escape seems more necessary than ever. Not only is gardening proven to relieve stress, but the decor we choose and the plants we grow have a significant impact on our physical and mental health. Here are some ideas for creating a wellness sanctuary in your backyard.
- Install a Water Feature: A simple water feature, such as a water wall, bubbler, or small fountain, is an easy way to enhance any outdoor area. The gentle, soothing sounds of moving water have powerful stress-relieving properties. Local wildlife will happily come to visit, and may even take a quick drink.
- Grow Plants with Therapeutic Properties: Lavender is appealing to people and pollinators alike, and the fragrant flowers have a calming effect in the garden or in vases. You can also dry the flowers to create scented fabric sachets, which promote sleep when kept near your pillow. Ginger has beautiful foliage and the rhizomes, also known as “Ginger Root”, is a powerful natural anti-nauseant that tastes divine in teas and stir-fries.
Plant More Native Flowers: Sometimes doing our part to heal the world has its own healing effect on us. Native flowers, like Asclepias or Echinacea, offer an important food source to local pollinators. They’re also exceptionally low-maintenance, which saves us the time and stress of having to “babysit” them as they grow!
Choose Plants that Make You Happy: If you want to feel well, first feel happy. In my case, a mass of blooming Daffodils never fails to put a smile on my face. However, every wellness garden should reflect the preferences of the gardener. Do you love apricot-colored flowers? Plant more of them! Perhaps the delicate petals of Anemones make you swoon, or maybe bold Dahlias give you a boost of confidence. Grow and nurture the plants you love, and your sense of well-being is sure to follow.
Other Ways to Enjoy Nature at Home
If you haven’t got a garden, or your circumstances are keeping you isolated from others, you can still benefit from a little “plant therapy” from inside your home. If you’re unable to leave your home, enlist the help of a friend or family member to pick up some supplies or help you place an order online.
Forcing bulbs is a wonderful way to experience the joy of gardening, even if you’re stuck indoors. Paperwhites are a serene, fragrant variety of Narcissus (Daffodils) that are especially easy to force indoors. Oxalis, also known as Shamrock, is also easy to force indoors and makes a great houseplant. Or for more fun with bulbs, try lasagna layering!
- Growing herbs is a simple and therapeutic way to stay connected to nature. Many herbs—like thyme, oregano, cilantro, and basil—are easy to grow outside on your porch or inside on a sunny windowsill. You can harvest the leaves to add fresh flavor to your favorite recipes. I don’t know about you, but a good meal always raises my spirits!
Seed starting is a wonderful way to pass the time, especially in multi-generational households. Kids, parents, and grandparents can make a family night of starting little flower or vegetable seeds—all you need is a seed-starting kit or two, a few packets of seeds, and a couple of inexpensive grow lights. This calming, screen-free activity is great for young beginners to start “getting their hands dirty.” Once the seeds are big enough to transplant into the garden, kids have a great reason to get outside in the fresh air and visit their crop.
As uncertain as the future may seem, humans (like plants!) are far more adaptable than we often give ourselves credit for. Rather than getting caught up in panic and headlines, let’s focus on growing our gardens, our relationships, and perhaps also our faith, as we get through this next chapter together.
Share this post
- Tags: Brent and Becky's, brent and becky's blog, garden, gardening, gardening as an anti-depressant, gardening makes you happy, gardening therapy, gardening tips, landscape design, landscaping, native plants, natural light, nature, plants, sustainable gardening