In normal times, I really look forward to weekends because I crave that break from the office environment of being stuck indoors and around office equipment from Monday to Friday. The best weekend to me is one spent out in the garden after digesting a hearty breakfast in the morning. I don’t care how hot it may get. Just being in the garden is the best antidote for my work week, and I can spend hours out there mowing the lawn, planting, weeding, pruning, chipping and more – with regular breaks for shade and hydration, of course! I even consciously stay offline and away from technology. By the time Sunday evening rolls around, I’m usually tired, a little more tanned, and happy that the garden looks tended. Gardening grounds me in a very special way.
There have been many studies that show how gardening, or just being out in nature, can be beneficial for us. It can help fight depression, lower the risk of dementia and address a whole slew of diseases ranging from high blood pressure to heart disease to osteoporosis and more, thanks to less than three hours of moderate intensity level activity in the garden per week. Add to that the benefit of growing your own food, and you won’t find it surprising that more and more people are turning to horticulture.
Here in Singapore, even where space is limited in HDB and apartment buildings, creative gardeners are growing a remarkable range of plants. I’m often impressed by members of online groups who excitedly share their progress in growing ornamentals, herbs, leafy veggies and even fruiting plants in their apartments. And, part of being in such communities means you make new friends. I’ve been lucky to get a few of those. Some only cross paths for brief periods, but others can become dear friends. Gardening buddies are especially good for the soul!
My blog is of course one of my connections to you on the Web. It used to be more interactive when I allowed comments to be made, but to be honest, I got so much spam that took time to handle, and the site was hacked a few times, so I decided to close off that feature to have more peace of mind. I’m glad that many of you have stayed on because it means you’re here for what I share.
So I know that this year I haven’t written as much as I usually do, and I apologise for that and thank you if you’ve stuck it out with me anyway. You see, at the beginning of the year I found out I had breast cancer, and have since passed through the gauntlet of all the treatment and surgery. During this time, I had to cut back on all the gardening that I dearly love, which was frankly harder for me to bear than all the medical stuff I’ve been through. Thank goodness there were plants that were already growing that gave us some bright moments; and I went on a seed shopping spree to make myself happy. You have to find things to keep your spirits up during extended trials like this, otherwise it can be tedious – and you should already know how much I love getting new seeds! They are standing by and will be planted very soon.
The worst part is now over and I’m chomping at the bit to delve back into developing our edible garden (after we clear the jungly parts!) and get back to those happy, sweaty weekends. Don’t forget, I have some permaculture adaptations to make, too. Just thinking about it fills me with joy! I feel like as the residue from chemotherapy clears from my body, my gardening spirit is awakening from slumber and I am becoming whole again. Like I’ve said, gardening grounds me in a special way, and I can’t wait to jump back into action. It is truly good for our wellbeing!