The Eloquent Garden

The garden you create or dream of creating is a mirror of yourself

Category Archives: Therepeutic

Welcome to The Health and Happiness Collective Bloghop

Welcome back to The Eloquent Garden!

And welcome to a bloghop that I’ll share with six other bloggers.

We all share interests in natural medicine and gardens as a source of health, happiness and inspiration.

I enjoy these different writers..they take me on a journey with their words and stories, then send me off in a different directions of thought.

Our bloggers practice naturopathy, homeopathy, aromatherapy,  natural medicine, therapeutic gardening, the creation of  perfumes, gardening experiments and Chinese Medicine.

Over the next seven weeks we’ll all blog from our different perspectives on “Change.”

Please hop on over to their blogs..with all our different yet similar passions it’s bound to be fascinating!

Enjoy reading blogs from The Health and Happiness Collective:

Some Energy Thing – Margi MacDonald

Your Health, Your Life – Kathleen Murphy

Peter Kington

Vitale Blog –  Ananda Mahoney

Natures Healing – Sandra Venables

The Wellness Ninja – Sarah George

‘One cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore’   French Philosopher, Andre Gide…

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O! This is unexpected, finding you in my bed.

I planted a garden bed. Pretty,  simple, cute. But above all, perfectly balanced in colour, foliage and spacing.

Dwarf blue and white agapanthus. Deep purple heliotrope ‘cherry pie’. Angelonia in deep pink, some white alyssum, sedum edged in burgundy-pink. Two dipladenia, one deep red, one white, with clear fishing line from soil to steps, so the plants will climb magically into the air, seemingly without support. Tufts of white variegated grass. Two phyllanthus multiflorus. As a backdrop to these pretty, yet strong plants, three cerise-flowering, pepper scented geraniums. These I discovered years ago in the cool  Maleny hills and propagated them through several moves, to be with me in each new home, each new garden.

As I admire my new and lovely plantings while taking a Sunday-ish morning garden walk, coffee in hand, I notice something. O! This is unexpected, finding you in my bed!  And yet as I look at you, I think, how well you do look.

I love when gardens surprise me. And this morning,  I see,  a dwarf african lily, quite past its flowering time, has made a strong, white flower stalk. And there’s much more! Suddenly my sweet, balanced garden has gone from exactly as I planned, to an interesting, challenging thing.

Yes, a slim vigorous pumpkin, or is it a rockmelon, vine – insistently,  laterally twining his way. I am most fond of many lateral thinking people, so I’m delighted, if surprised to find this determined little vine in my garden. And is this not more balanced, more complete – a masculine vine to balance the planned sweet feminine garden? I move him slighty, tenderly,  as he embraces, a little too passionately for now, the Angelonia. She seems grateful for this small intervention, straightening slightly. I love vines, at one moment twining closely, the next off on some funny fearless tangent.

And since this garden shows itself to be such a ferly thing, I accommodate its adventurous spirit, experimenting with   Lisianthus in who knows what colour. And the rambling mystery of Colour Parade petunias..there will be some surprises there!  And what about some poppy seeds? Yes, such gloriously free and surprising flowers from the far North of Europe are also bound to feel at home here in my garden, I feel. For some unexpected tomato plants I make pyramids of stakes, tied at the top so the vines can freely grow upwards.

And another unusual thing. One plant that has always flourished, used all throughout my planting life, has decided that it will cease to grow. It is gone, beyond all life.  I think on this, introspection takes me over.  I conclude it  did not suit my new garden.  Like a habit, that really has no further use in my life. Just gone. A symbol, I decide, of my firm, full resolve to leave behind an old behaviour that really does me no good all. My garden as a mirror of my self.

Can I suggest you think on your garden, real or imagined, houseplants too, as a symbol, a mirror, of yourself. Think on what you plant, and why. Who inspires your gardening, your life. Is there something unexpected in your beds? Think on your garden of the future, still in your head.

Think on what you long to plant. Maybe honeysuckle vine, symbol of loyal love and friendship?  Beetroot? – Read ‘Jitterbug Perfume’ Tom Robbins on beetroot and its pollen! A bay tree, for luck and fortune? Perhaps there’s a plant taking too much time,  unhealthy or difficult that simply needs to go. Or perhaps some plants just for fun, some annuals. Maybe try new plants, new ways of gardening.

Maybe make a space and wait, see what you dream of planting there.

I am for now, wondering what my vine plans next! Climbing? Perhaps investigation of a nearby garden bed? Vines are so much fun, at one moment twining closely , next moving in lateral surprising ways.

Do I think our gardens, real or imagined, somehow mirror our selves, our lives? ……Yes, why not.  Maybe.

But what I do know is that while in our garden,  in nature, we have time to contemplate, or not contemplate, to think, or not think – on our lives. And in this Empty Space,  solutions, answers, creations, appear. And we smile and  feel strong.

Therapeutic Gardening exercises for every Lovely little bit of you

When using a spade or shovel, change which hand is at the forefront of the implement, every so often – this will enable you to dig for longer, and we all want that, right? Plus you’ll exercise both sides of your body equally.

When using a trowel, change over to use your other hand intermittently – this is like dancing, helps keep your brain agile, as well as good exercise for hands and arms.

Sing, (or maybe hum if your neighbours are sensitive. One of my gardeny companions puts Vera Lynn CD on, when I begin to sing. What’s he telling me?) When you sing your brain is fully engaged and you cease to think, so you can’t focus on worrying things. Good for easing stress. Also inspiring of  creative thoughts, as after you stop singing, you’ll probably find all manner of interesting ideas, thoughts and solutions spring to mind. I keep a small notebook for these when gardening. I now need many little bookshelves for these. (I promise Emmsie, I WILL put them onto the computer! Soon!)

Gaze at the horizon. Find a point, maybe a tree on top of a very distant mountain, or a palm tree far off into the distance and focus hard on that, until it comes into focus, maybe about 30 seconds. Then very quickly move your focus so your eyes are looking at something very close. Perhaps a lover’s Favorite Freckle on your arm? Or, if you are unblemished, maybe a tiny flower very close to you. Focus intently for 30 secs. Again swiftly move your focus to the far-off tree. Repeat this whole process 6-8 times. If you get into a  habit of doing this when in the garden, it’s great for strengthening eye muscles, and especially good if you spend lots of your working life  on the computer, or maybe reading fascinating and cute gardeny blogs (such as Nitty Gritty Dirt Man, Visionary Gleam and Helen Babbs, current Favs of mine). If you also breathe a little more deeply and slowly it’s quite meditative and calming. Take deliberate breaks throughout the day, computery folk, editors and writers,  to do this one.  Or do at least every second day. This also frees up time you may spend at optometrists – now, what to do with that extra time?

Now, I suspect you’re thinking “She said every little part of me, so what about my pelvic floor?’  Yes indeed, for men too! And have no fear, this one won’t scare the neighbours nor the Companion Gardening Cat.  This will definitely strengthen your pelvic floor muscles. Here’s what you do. When standing still amongst your garden, or indeed anyone else’s garden, curl your toes downwards (Hmm, upwards would be interesting..please get back to me, with photos preferably, if you can curl your toes upwards). Hold this for about 6 seconds , then uncurl toes.  Repeat curl-uncurl about half a dozen times. Hold for more time as you get used to it.  Keep breathing – to do otherwise is risky and  a strong  pelvic floor will do no good at all,  if you cease to breathe. You may choose to do this in the company of a consenting adult. Not that they’ll know. Unless you tell them.

Not only gardeners need strong lower stomach muscles. A physio I worked with told me this one, to help prevent back injuries and help to avoid developing hernias. Just prior to lifting, brace the lower stomach muscles, just below your waistline, hold for 5 seconds, and then lift the pot, potting mix, whatever. Remember, bend your legs as you lift, don’t bend from the waist. If you always do this bracing-thing, there’ll come a time you’ll brace these muscles automatically, as you even contemplate lifting. Very good for dancing Ceroc or Lestep, too, when participating in athletic lifts and dips!

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