There are numerous activities involved in establishing and maintaining a garden. Some gardeners like a simple, easy to maintain garden and others enjoy the challenge of plants that need more specialised care.
Working in a garden can bring a feeling of satisfaction and being close to Nature can lessen stress. The scent of freshly mown lawn or herbs that have just been cut back can be invigorating. The beauty of flowers and foliage is a treat for the eyes.
There are many beautiful plants to add colour to a yard. Image by Marie Vonow
Gardens attract birds. Native plants tend to attract native birds and any sort of bird will appreciate a bird bath in the garden. Birds add an extra element of pleasure to my gardening experience.
When I am digging in the garden or moving a wheelbarrow of dirt I get exercise without thinking about it. I must confess I am not one for doing a set of exercises with the aim of getting fit but I am quite happy to get exercise by working in my garden.
Sometimes people walking past stop to talk. They may comment on the garden or ask for a cutting. I like the way a garden has a social element to it. Swapping cuttings with friends is good fun and a free way to get new plants.
Fruit trees or grape vines provide fruit for healthy meals. These days there are dwarf trees and also grafted ones which produce more than one variety of fruit. I plan to get a couple of dwarf fruit trees as my garden is fairly small.
Growing vegetables helps the family budget and provides fresh, tasty, nutritious food. If vegetables are grown without pesticides and other chemicals that is an added health bonus.
There is a great deal of satisfaction to be gained from growing even a few herbs and vegetables. Some grow easily in pots so even people with small gardens or only a balcony can grow a bit of their own food. While some vegetables require a lot of time and care, there are others which grow very easily. Some throw seed and a crop will appear in the garden the following year.
Excess produce can be preserved in jars or frozen or given to friends, family or neighbours. Sharing something I have grown gives me a feeling of satisfaction.
Bowl of home grown tomatoes. Image by Marie Vonow
Another pleasure associated with gardening is taking a trip to the local nursery to buy plants, bulbs or seeds. I love taking my time wandering around looking at the vast selection of plants in need of a good home.
Sometimes I get talking to other gardeners who are looking at the plants. Having a common interest makes it easy to strike up a conversation.
Plants for sale at my local nursery Image by Marie Vonow
I also enjoy looking at all the garden accessories such as bird baths, statues, water fountains and outdoor settings. Another attraction of my local nursery is a lovely cafe where you can buy coffee, light meals and cake, but that's another story.