imgae of garden with grassy pathway

With ongoing lockdowns due to Covid, it is timely to consider a mindful approach to gardening – here are some thoughts offered by Kit Shepherd, convenor of Transition Bondi.

Here are some lovely tips to take to the garden with you, when needing to let go of the tensions of the day….or of your life!

I attended a webinar through Council and heard that much research is happening on the positive effects that gardening can have on us, mental and physical. It helps us through beneficial organisms in the soil, through allowing us to take our mind off things that might be troubling us ‘in the head’, and offers a break from the routines, anxiety and possible isolation of this era of lockdowns.

How do different types of gardens have you feeling? We were shown images of some different types of garden and it was interesting to notice a first response to them.

Being aware of our senses – sight, sound, smell and touch – brings us into the present moment, and there’s a lot that we can observe, with guidance like this:

SIGHT – colour and white are calming; red and yellow energising (Petunia, Pansy, Bulbs, daffodils Hippeastrum, variegated foliage ‘purple-heart’ ie Tradescantia). Also contrast in light and shade, different shapes and types of leaves, flowers, shrubs and trees; composition in the garden – how are plants chosen to be placed together, or creating space between?

MOVEMENT – birds and insects moving in and around garden beds, stems and grasses blowing in the wind, water features such as a fountain or bird-bath, a wind-spinner

SOUND – wind chimes, birds, gravel crunching underfoot, timber boards walked on, water moving, the rustle of leaves as small animals escape

SMELL – peppermint, rose, cinnamon, citrus geraniums; Heliotrope Cherry Pie (mauve and white); Gardenia, Violet; Natives: lemon centred gum and myrtle; herbs

TOUCH – rough, smooth, soft, spiky – the textures of bark and leaves, lambs-ear, pebbles, cactus, aloe, (sharpness makes us present!), wind in our hair, sun on the skin, cool breezes on the cheek

10 activities of mindfulness

  • Five minutes sitting in one place with no agenda, just immersing yourself in the surrounds
  • Grow herbal tea plants
  • Harvest herbs & veggies
  • Plant sunflowers
  • Sow some seeds
  • Grow houseplants
  • Make a terrarium
  • Nurture your plants
  • Join a community garden
  • Make a nature pact (I missed the end of the webinar to hear what this meant, but we can imagine our own version!)
  • Kit Shepherd – September 2021