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Hey plant friends!
I’m Maria, the "Plant Killer Turned Plant Lady" with a mission to help you care for plants successfully, grow your indoor jungles, and cultivate more joy in your life. I've got tons of content for you here on the blog, on the Bloom and Grow Radio Podcast, and Bloom and Grow Youtube Show to help you keep blooming and keep growing.
Gardening has long been known for its therapeutic advantages and as a place of calm and peace in the middle of a hectic schedule. Garden therapy can relieve stress and enhance our mental and emotional health. In this episode, we'll look at 9 gardening practices that can help you develop a deeper connection with nature—and yourself.
Growing Joy: The Plant Lover's Guide to Cultivating Happiness (and Plants) by Maria Failla, Illustrated by Samantha Leung
Instead of just going into your garden to do your gardening chores thoughtlessly, use your garden visits as a moment of self-reflection. Ask yourself questions like “What aspects of my life are dehydrated?” while you're watering your plants, or turn the process of checking your soil moisture levels into a mindful moment by engaging all your senses.
It’s time to truly see and appreciate the beauty of your plants, plant friends. I want you to look closely at the plants and focus on their details. You can even trace their outlines and veins with your fingers! Scan your collection to notice the different shades of green or vibrant colors, like the bright orange calendula.
Use scent to sweeten your garden therapy practice. Grow fragrant plants that give off pleasant scents, such as rosemary and basil. Take the time to smell the flowers, herbs, and other plants in your garden and appreciate how they use scent to communicate and connect with you.
I love bird sounds, if you’ve seen my Instagram, you know my obsession with hummingbirds! Not to mention they serve as pollinators! Remember that gardens are not just a visual feast but a sonic one as well. If you live in a place where you don't get to benefit from birdsong and you're just listening to trucks and planes, a hack I swear by is to open YouTube and put on nature sounds!
Look at the different textures of your garden's leaves and plants. Engage your sense of touch by running your fingers along the edges of leaves and feeling their different edges, which can be waxy, fuzzy, or spikey. Close your eyes to improve your touch and sensory experience and be fully present in the moment.
Have you tasted the air? It’s possible and gives you the opportunity to stay in the present. I draw this inspiration from Dr. King Lee, someone I’ve talked a lot about in my book. Similarly, once you taste a homegrown tomato, you'll never be satisfied with store-bought tomatoes again. I encourage you to grow your own edible plants.
Be kind to your plants, but also remember to be kind to yourself. We can gradually learn to affirm ourselves by affirming the growth and progress of our plants. Try to use phrases such as “You grow girl” and “Keep growing, my plant friend,” which you can apply to your plants and to yourself. Practice daily and use post-its in case you forget!
I initially focused on growing herbs and vegetables when I was still living in a small apartment. But flowers are unique, and you should grow them too. Flowers hold historical and symbolic significance and inherently bring happiness to people. Dahlias are one of my favorites, zinnias are also beautiful and make great starter plants if you are looking for something a bit simpler. Not to mention arranging and gifting flowers can bring immense joy, both to the recipient and yourself.
Explore your curiosity and try new things in your garden. Try something you have never grown before and learn how to cultivate it. Even if it fails, it provides a valuable learning experience. Don’t take yourself too seriously while gardening—sing to your plants! Gardening is meant to be enjoyable, and it's okay to have ups and downs.
Incorporating these therapeutic garden practices into your gardening routine can help you decrease stress and increase well-being. Take the time to slow down and appreciate the beauty around you. Your garden can be a powerful tool for self-care and reflection.
Ensure a thriving garden with the right products! Espoma Organic is dedicated to making safe indoor and outdoor gardening products for people, pets, and the planet. They have an amazing variety of high-quality, organic potting mixes, garden soil, fertilizers, and pest control products that are organic and eco-friendly. To top it all off, they have a huge sustainability commitment with a 100% solar powered plant, zero waste manufacturing and eco-friendly packaging.
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