Each year I visit the Huntington gardens in southern California. The Japanese, Shakespeare and rose gardens are beautiful and tranquil spaces to spend an afternoon. The ever-balmy weather is a perfect place to showcase a variety of gardens. It is so different to our own currently frozen, leafless mornings in Tennessee!
We put so much effort into our beautiful gardens here, planting each year to watch flowers grow and fade away. We put a lot of time and energy into something so ephemeral. Do you follow the cycle of the seasons in your garden?
There is a joy in the yearly routine and evolution of a garden, in seeing everything grow and die and sometimes grow again. It provides a framework for the cycles of our own lives, for the nature of gain and loss, life and death, success and failure. All of these things we watch in our gardens. The lifecycles of our roses allows us to better understand that after every winter comes a burst of color and joy.
Gardens are so beautiful for their ever-shifting and impermanent nature. I suspect that if my garden never changed, its beauty would somehow be diminished. But it is a changing organism that both reflects and impacts the world around it.
Like a rose garden, our lives grow and change, are cultivated, nurtured and trimmed.
Gardening is a creative and rhythmic activity with many mental health benefits. We can expend our joys and sorrows in the soil. It mirrors the shifting nature of our own lives. In our yearly accomplishments and failures, we find an activity that boosts self-esteem and reduces stress. Most of all, it allows us to better understand ourselves and the world around us.