Wealth and Wellbeing: Gardening Cultivates More Than Plants

At various points in its growth cycle, my garden can look like any of the small photos in the bigger collage. Why do I garden, which could be just one more job? In the midst of the hustle and bustle of “real” life, finding meaning and purpose can sometimes feel like an elusive goal. However, through the simple act of tending to plants, I can build a wealth of wellbeing. Here’s how gardening can help you cultivate meaning, purpose, and hope.

Part of Something Bigger

Gardening offers a unique opportunity to connect with nature in an intimate and hands-on way. When you dig your hands into the soil, plant seeds, and nurture them as they grow, you become part of a larger ecological system. This connection to the earth can be grounding and restorative, helping you to feel more in tune with the natural world and fostering a sense of belonging. By gardening, you can contribute to a more sustainable and eco-friendly lifestyle. Try growing your own vegetables, fruits, and herbs to reduce reliance on commercial agriculture. (See those raspberries? They’re deliciously mine.) This sense of stewardship over your own little piece of the earth can instill a sense of purpose and responsibility towards the environment.

Mindful, Flow-filled Presence

In the garden, every moment counts. Whether you’re watering, weeding, or simply observing, gardening requires you to be present and mindful. This focus on the here and now can be incredibly therapeutic, helping to reduce stress and anxiety. The repetitive tasks of gardening can act as a form of meditation, allowing your mind to relax and your thoughts to settle. Hours might pass as you expand into flow. Gardening is also a form of physical exercise, promoting health and well-being. Regular gardening activities can improve strength, endurance, and flexibility. The physical exertion, coupled with the mental relaxation that gardening provides, can lead to overall better health.

Growth in Creativity, Responsibility, and Connection

From choosing the types of plants to designing the layout, gardening also allows for endless creative expression. This creativity is not only satisfying but also empowering, giving you the freedom to create a space that reflects your personal style and preferences. Gardening requires patience, responsibility, and hard work. Watching a seedling grow into a thriving plant is a powerful reminder of the fruits of our labor. Sometimes seeds fail. Gardens “go by” in Autumn. This cycle of nurturing, growth and passing mirrors our own lives and is a keen reminder of the power of savoring what’s good.

Harvest Joy and Satisfaction

Finally, the tangible rewards of gardening—flowers in bloom, vegetables ready for harvest, a beautifully arranged garden—bring a deep sense of joy and satisfaction. These accomplishments, however small they may seem, are milestones of success and fulfillment. If you’re new to gardening, start small. Choose a few easy-to-grow plants and gradually expand your garden as you gain confidence and experience. Remember, gardening is as much about the journey as it is about the destination. Embrace hope in learning, celebrate successes, and know that the occasional setback is a valuable part of the process.

In a world that often feels chaotic and disconnected, gardening offers a sanctuary of meaning, purpose, and hope. It’s a way to connect with nature, foster personal growth, express creativity, and even build community. Whether you have a sprawling backyard, a small balcony, or a windowsill, gardening can transform not just your space, but your life. Imagine the future landscape. Grab a trowel. Get your hands dirty. See what comes up!

About the author

Sherri Fisher, MEd, MAPP, executive coach and learning specialist, uncovers client motivation and focus for perseverance. She has decades of successful experience working with students, parents, and professionals who face learning, attention, and executive function challenges at school, home, and work.

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