Arboretum News

Garden Refresh

If you're feeling tired and frazzled, try recharging in the garden.

Visiting the Arboretum: All members and visitors need to make a reservation in advance of their visit to the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum. We hope to see you soon!

Image by Delynn Talley from Pixabay.

By Jean Larson, manager of the Nature-Based Therapeutic Services Program at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum

Have you ever found yourself having a bad day – feeling exhausted and frazzled – and in a moment of frustration, you yell out: “Gah, I need to go into the garden and pull weeds!” Okay, so that is probably the last thing you would ever shout…but maybe it should be. Gardening can be a way of channeling your frustrations and a great way to ground yourself after a long day, week – or even, 20-months-and-counting of the pandemic.

The benefits of gardening for mental health is not new.  It dates back to the 19th century, when Dr. Benjamin Rush prescribed gardening to his patients.  It is also the origins of Horticultural Therapy – the professionally facilitated intervention of plant and plant related activities to bring about measurable human health and wellbeing.  One theory behind this idea of gardening for mental health is Attention Restoration because the act of gardening gives our brains a chance to unwind.  Here are a few more ways gardening can help you restore:

1. Go for the weeds.

To outlet feelings of frustration, the best place to start is tearing out all of those annoying weeds and dead plants in your garden. From there, grab your shears and prune anything that is overgrown.

2. At peace with peas.

You can practice mindfulness while planting peas by taking long, slow deep breaths and focusing your connection to the plants. 

3. Happy planting.

Creating a space where you genuinely look forward to tending is essential to mental health.  Do you love cooking with fresh herbs? Or creating fresh flower arrangements? Or maybe it’s watching pollinators? Whatever you enjoy doing, the garden can reflect.

4. Garden Talk.

Adding a bench or bistro table to your garden can encourage a break with a friend or neighbor. While it may not be gardening per se, but it is a way of enjoying your garden and others.

5. Passive Gardening.

Maybe the best way to restore and relax is by visiting a garden at the Arboretum.  This is just as valid as having one of your own.

No matter what way you benefit – be sure to appreciate the gifts the garden provides to your health and healing.

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