I realized recently that many people (even those who like to garden) view gardening as a chore at times and not something wonderful. Though it can be very physical work (a bonus for getting in amazing shape), it can also be very zen, no matter what part of it you are doing.
First, here’s the chore thing, and what not to do: Don’t look at gardening as a to do list item.
I’ve read blogs that refer to gardening and chores together; literally, a to do list of monthly gardening chores. I just don’t buy that. I get the idea behind it. But a chore in my mind signifies something negative like “let’s just get this thing done and over with!”
If you can relate to thinking this, you’ll definitely want to re-frame because with gardening — it should be fun! Think of it like when you’re cooking and following a recipe.
Both Gardening and Cooking are Zen
People who enjoy cooking (you too?) get excited about a new recipe, right? And if you think about it, you’re not going to associate the cooking process to a chore. Like when was the last time you read in a cookbook “cooking chores: peel carrots, dice tomatoes (okay chopping onions might not be a favorite) but you get the idea, and the answer is probably “never.” Cooking, when there’s time is enjoyable. You want the end result, the dish, to be delicious, but the process is very zen. I think gardening, when there’s time, is the same. The key, is to stay focused and allow yourself to get into it.
So take a look at this infographic, and then take a look at how you can find the zen in gardening in 5-easy steps.
5 Steps to Zen Gardening
Step 1. Pick something to do, and do just that.
Sometimes the hardest thing is to make a decision about what you’re going to do. It can feel very overwhelming and frustrating not to have a focus in the garden. So like choosing a recipe, make a decision about what you want to accomplish, and pick only a small area to work on.
Step 2. Get your RE on: resize, reshape, redefine, reinvigorate and recharge. This is a side note to step 1. Take a look at the area you’re choosing to work on and see if there are certain tasks you want to focus on separately, such as a particular small tree or shrub that needs pruning to re size and reshape, or if you need to redefine an area with more materials: rocks, pebbles, mulch. Or, if you have container plants that need to be repotted, or fertilized or pruned, note that too. In this step, you’ll want to sort out projects within projects, and set them aside. (Take notes to have references). In step 3, you will be focusing on “the other tasks.” You will come back to this step, in step 5, or if it’s too difficult for you to handle alone, hiring a landscaper or an arborist may be appropriate.
Step 3. Give attention to your plants and chosen area to make them shine. In this step, you are going to get started gardening. Whatever tools you need, should be on site for smooth, uninterrupted gardening. Here you’ll want focus on tending plants in your chosen area to bring them back life. I do this a lot and call it “plant detailing” and “detail work.” You start by just detailing one plant with focused attention, doing tasks like grooming, pruning, scaling down, removing old flowers and dead and dying parts, and then you move on to the next plant in your area. Continue on (could take several days or visits) until the chosen area is complete. Also, you can include any ground work – like weeding – during this step.
Step 4. Step away and look at the big picture. What do think? Are you pleased and on the right track? Did you nail it, or do you need more time to complete? Are you ready to head to step 5? Or, perhaps your chosen garden area doesn’t need that.
Step 5. Head back to step 2, and take action as needed. Here you will want to check your notes. Move forward with what (re) items you’ve selected. If shopping for plants or materials is needed for this step, contacting a garden professional, or doing some larger more detailed pruning, that’s great. Of course, when all that’s done, you can again assess your area and work! 🙂
In steps 1 and 2, pick an area to start with and say to yourself, “I’m going to soup to nuts this thing, and it’s going to get a thorough going over.” This could be a couple of containers or planters that are highly visible, but very much in need of TLC. Or, perhaps, a prominent spot (like an outdoor area viewed from the kitchen) that is overgrown. You’ll also want to set aside any (RE) projects (see step 2) which you will come back to in step 5.
Now for the fun! Step 3 gets you gardening. In this step get ready to focus on the tasks at hand. And as you get going, you’ll start seeing results. This is very motivating because you can see (and feel) what a difference your efforts are making! The end result will brings new life to the area, maximizing health & beauty.
When you’ve completed step 3, step 4 is about standing back and assessing your garden brilliance. Though the area may not be complete, (because step 5 is still to come, you are getting very close!)
And finally, step 5, which includes any of your (RE) tasks, should get done at this point. And when that’s done, you can once again step back and view your masterpiece. What do you see? Do your plants look happier and healthier? Is the composition lovely? Are you admiring your work?
What do you think of these steps? Do you think that they will help you? Any ideas what you want to focus on? This is a part of our series on zen gardening (part 1 of a 4 part series). Join us as we look to approach gardening in a way that brings joy, and inspiration no matter what part you are focusing on.
If you need help deciding on an area to work on, get in touch with us.
ps: Remember, focusing on one, small area of the garden will give you satisfying results! Much more so than trying to do a little bit here and a little bit there. The latter tactic can leave things looking as if nothing has been done (and you’ll probably be exhausted and defeated). So try to focus on the steps, address one small portion of the garden at a time, and the process and results will make you smile (and have you back out there, sooner rather than later).
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