while most of my posts are how to do what or recipes, this one is about what happens in the garden and how to cope with it. Every garden has its share of wins and losses. We as gardeners fight small battles in our gardens every day. Some of us choose to go to battle with wildlife friends while others choose chemical warfare. No matter your tactic, some battles you win, others you loose. It is the way nature and our gardens work.
Depression and gardening
When I was starting to garden with my husband, he expressed a concern – what will I do if something that I planted fails. He did not want me to get disappointed in something I really love. I had to explain to him that in garden, as in nature, everything changes. If one thing does not grow, or has to be taken out because of the pests or disease, it does not mean that something else can’t replace it.
Sometimes we will get sad because some thing we really wanted to work did not, but for every thing that does not work, there is a thing that does. That is what is beautiful in our gardens – they can adapt.
This is why gardening is such a good help when fighting depression. It helps us to see beyond the darkness. When we got this little garden I was in a very, very bad place with my depression. I am constantly fighting it, and some days are better, some are worse. But here is where garden gets handy.
When I go to the garden, I get the instant fix of happiness that makes me feel better. True, some things make me sad – like pulling out my boxwoods because of the boxwood moth, but other things make me happy. Seeing the new planted fruit trees grow, or new plant flowering, or the old rose coming to life and showing wonderful growth even though we were brutal to it last year. These are all things that can fill you with hope. Not to mention how the physical labor impacts your health in a positive way.
I find it that when I sleep better, I am less depressed and have more energy for fighting life and work battles. And after a hard days work in the garden, I am so exhausted that I sleep like a baby. My mind goes to rest, instead of going over perceived personal failures. I just put my head on a pillow and sleep. Next morning I am reinvigorated and ready for new challenges – even the garden ones.
What to do when you lose a battle
As I mentioned, some battles in the garden will be lost. It is inevitable. I had a picture in my mind of how I wanted a pond part of my garden to look. I envisioned our round pond surrounded by evergreen boxwood balls. Providing the interest in winter and summer time. Unfortunately that won’t happen because of the boxwood moth.
However, it doesn’t mean I have to give up on my design. I just need to find a plant that is similar in appearance and is not affected by the boxwood moth. So I did. I replaced them. It will take a bit of time for the new balls to form, but they will soon be formed and evergreen(ish). Just give it a year or two.
Loosing a battle in the garden should not make you quit. Even if you are fighting a depression like I am, one lost battle does not mean the end of the world. There are always options you can try. You can plant something else instead, or if you must have that plant, then analyse why it failed. Did you feed it to much? Too little? Was it wrong season of the year for it? Freakish weather maybe? Most of the reasons why things fail are because of the wrong positioning or the weather change. See if you can re-position the plant somewhere else, or if you can find a similar looking plant that will love the position. All is not lost. It just needs a different approach.
Garden is an incredible place. It teaches us a lot of lessons, if we pay just a little bit of attention. Now in the constantly warming world, we are always fighting battles with weather and new pests. So why do we insist in keeping the plants that clearly don’t actually fit there anymore? Our vanity? Or are we really that big slave of the habits?
The garden teaches us, if we listen. The change is constant. Just like the wildlife will try to adapt, so should we. There is no shame in saying – I will plant something else. It does not mean you lost – you ADAPTED.