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Sunday, September 24, 2017

The Zen of Gardening

     With the growing season starting to wind down I was thinking about how much I enjoy gardening. If your a gardener you get it, if your not you don't. The IT I'm talking about is in the title of this post. The technical term for Zen is: a Japanese school of Mahayana Buddhism emphasizing the value of meditation and intuition.  

     Another way to look at it is a total state of focus that incorporates a total togetherness of body and mind. I think probably most westerners view it as feeling peaceful and relaxed. I know I certainly feel that way when I walk around my garden. But as you know a garden doesn't BECOME all by itself.

     Many people view yard work as just that, work. I consider it a form of creating. To take dirt and make something of beauty. I have numerous posts on my blog about different areas of our yard that we have transformed.  Was it a lot of work, yes, but for me the pleasure I derive from my garden far out weighs the work that went into it. 

     What started out as nothing but dirt and weeds is now an oasis. With over thirty trees where there were none.  Flowers, shrubs, fruits and vegetables to delight all the senses.

     We get lots of compliments on our yard. Everyone marvels at how large it is and how beautiful. But the majority of people say the same thing; "I'd love this yard but it looks like too much work." Yes it is probably more work then most people would like, but it isn't near as much as you might think. My husband has a riding lawn mower which cuts down on mowing time. We use mulch to reduce weeds and retain moisture. We don't work in the garden everyday, depending on the time of year maybe 2 -3 times a week. Probably our busiest time is early spring; cutting back and cleaning beds to get ready for the new growing season.

Spring time in our yard

     Most of our plants are shrubs or perennials so the only planting we do in the spring are some annuals in pots and our vegetable garden.

     And of course at the end of summer what is better then the harvest. 

     Gardening can be good exercise. You can burn 150 to 200 calories in 30 minutes. Volley ball is 93, tennis 260, basketball 258, jogging 300-450. I was never very good at sports so I never became attached to playing any.  I do enjoy swimming (250) and bike riding (150). But mostly I walk (150-200) and garden for exercise. But what I like most about gardening is how I can get lost in the moment of whatever I'm doing; whether it's planting, weeding or pruning. It truly is a togetherness of body and mind.  

     Fall brings the beauty of changing colors but also the work (exercise of raking leaves).  And then winter covers everything with a blanket of snow giving the garden a quite beauty.

     Then it all starts over again when the daffodils tell me it is officially spring.

     If you feel the need to garden, not just work in the yard, then you feel       the zen.

A thought to ponder: "The glory of gardening: hands in the dirt, head in the sun, heart with nature. To nurture a garden is to feed not just the body, but the soul."                                                                                       Alfred Austin