Most of us practice gardening as a hobby, a pastime or some times as a relaxation. Recently, a friend of mine opened my eyes to a different thinking. Gardening can also be a therapy or a door to a healthy way of life. It might not be the most glamorous of hobbies, but it is one hobby that will pay you back many times. As with all my blogs there is a backstory to this too. So, here goes….
A friend of mine faced a personal tragedy and was totally lost. I would say he was in a state of depression, but he never approached a psychiatrist due to the stigma attached to it. For a long time he refused to accept the fact too and persevered on. We could all see him go on a downward spiral, but no one was able to get through to him. My friend strongly resisted any help in the form of therapy or otherwise. We were at our wits end on how to help him.
The solution came to us quite unexpectedly. One day we had a chance meeting with an owner of a nursery for plants. The owner was trying to market his plants and sat down to tell us the different benefits of each plant. The fresh and cool air around the plants, the aroma of wet soil and perfume of flowers gave my friends a sense of peace. From here his healing process started. Initially, he volunteered to take care of the plants at the nursery and slowly built his own terrace garden. He said working closely with a plant right from its germination up till it flourishes on its own, it gave him a sense of achievement. He considered them as his children and would spend most of his time in his garden. For a time we were worried for his sanity as he started talking to his plants about innate things and events. He brushed away our fear saying that he was just encouraging his plants to grow better. His smile and joy told us that we have nothing to worry anymore.
Though he found his peace and recovered completely, he continued his gardening and turned it into his own organic farm. At one time he was growing crotons and flowering plants for beauty. Now, he spent more effort to grow vegetables and fruits. He strongly avoided chemical pesticides and used organic means like neem oil, mango leaves, green tea, guava leaves, turmeric etc. He says using chemicals harms the nutritional value of the plant products. He also started growing more of plants like Areca palm, money plant, snake plant etc. They are indoor plants that produce more oxygen at night and day, while also removing harmful pollutants from air around us. More oxygen in the air not only makes breathing easy, but also helps keep the mind sharp and energetic.
Gardening involves not just growing plants, but also taking care of the soil, the air and the water quality. So, by making them healthy, we are in turn making ourselves healthy. This is one hobby that is worth trying.