Gardening Therapy

It seems I can’t get enough of gardening.

Quite soon after my move to Vancouver, I joined a collaborative gardening group as a way of meeting people and getting my hands in the earth. When my church put out a call for volunteer gardeners, I offered to get involved there, too. On my recent trip to Ontario, I loved the time I spent in my sister’s garden, picking raspberries and pulling weeds, purely for fun.

Recently, I read that gardeners have greater life satisfaction, enhanced self-esteem and fewer feelings of depression and fatigue than non-gardeners. That finding makes sense to me. No wonder books on grieving suggest taking up gardening. Excellent centres that treat alcoholics have horticultural therapy programs.

I’m getting a little concerned, though. Here’s how last Saturday went.

Starting at ten a.m., I spent more than three hours at a work bee at the collaborative garden, pulling weeds, picking berries and enjoying the company of other gardeners.

In the afternoon, I packed my clippers in a bag and set off for my son and daughter-in-law’s house. I wanted to remove the dead flowers and leaves on the dahlia plant on their front porch before they returned home. I’d noticed it when I checked their place the day before but didn’t have my clippers with me.

Along the way, I bumped into a friend from the collaborative gardening group. He wanted to show me the vacant gardening space in a rental building he manages because he wondered if anyone from the group might want to use it.

The yard looked sad. “It’s a waste,” I said, “look at this bindweed taking hold.”

“Aren’t those morning glories?” he asked.

At four-thirty in the afternoon, white trumpet-shaped flowers bloomed on vines, strangling a large clump of raspberry bushes and day lilies.

“They do look like morning glories, but I’m sure they are weeds. Do you want me to help you get rid of them?”

We got to work. The bindweed had been having a heyday. So did we. The clippers came in handy. In half an hour, we filled a Yard Waste bin on wheels. The raspberries and lilies looked decidedly freer. I felt great as I headed off to deal with the dahlia.

I‘m beginning to worry that I may have a gardening addiction.

I wonder if I should take up drinking to treat it.


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