What is more sanctuary like than a garden? Peaceful, serene, filled with life. Birds, butterflies, bunnies. Fire ants, spiders and armadillos. Famished deer. Sigh. Why do I garden? Someone once said; “Being in the garden brings me closer to God.” Maybe so, I don’t really know. I do know that it is satisfying, providing gratification and a feeling of peace. Digging in rich soil, smelling the earthy smells, bringing beauty to a previously vacant area, gardening uses all five senses. The feel of the soil, the sounds of birds and the breeze blowing through the trees, seeing the colors of flowers and shrubs, the heady smell of roses or gardenias in bloom, and the taste of home grown tomatoes and herbs. It would be almost heavenly if it weren’t for the previously listed varmints, splinters, blisters, sunburn and Poison Ivy. Gardening ain’t for the faint of heart, people. Wear gloves. And boots. Keep a first aid kit handy. You’ll need one. When I was a youngster I spent hours and hours in our yard. My Grandmother’s garden was a thing of beauty. Rows of trees, Tiger Lilies, Roses, Sweet Pea, Lilacs and Peonies. Daisies and Lily of the Valley all grew around the house. There was a path under the trees that led to a large rock next to a fence where the Sweet Pea grew. I sat on “my rock” and thought my thoughts…..and read my books. Dutch Elm disease took the trees but my Grams just started over with plants and shrubs that liked the sun. Pretty soon there was no sign trees had ever been there. I owe a lot to my Grams. She inspired in me my love of gardening, reading and music. It was from her I learned that a house can be more than four walls, it can be a place of peace and safety. A sanctuary.
When we purchased this lot, we chose it not only for the privacy it would give us, but also for the gardening space. There’s almost an acre. Not all of it can be used since part of it is designated Wetlands. But that only added to its appeal. Back then I was a weekend warrior. Digging, planting, toting bags of compost and mulch, planning paths and dreaming of a fire pit and gazebo while Mr B was in the kitchen. Yes! In the kitchen! How bout that? We discovered early on that he had no interest in actual gardening. He’s a champ with the weed wacker however. Give that man a pair of electric hedge clippers and stand back. Waay back. We had the best manicured hedges in the neighborhood. And absolutely no pesky weeds sticking up their little weedy heads along the sidewalk. Those suckers were wacked into oblivion.
When we met and began dating, I was very truthful. Full disclosure. Betty Crocker and I were not on speaking terms. I despise that woman. She has spent a lifetime making me look stupid. However, Sara Lee and I were besties. I adored Sara Lee. She made me look smart and offered me the opportunity to present scrumptious desserts to the man I adored. So, yeah, me and the Sara babe. I kicked Betty to the curb and never looked back. I hung out with Mr Greenjeans and the “Gardening Guy.” Mr B was not jealous. He was happy. Why? Someone (Me) to help tote manure. (cue his happy face.) Toting manure was not high on his list of best things to do on a weekend. Not when when there were weeds to wack. He took his wacking duties pretty seriously. I much preferred digging in the dirt and coaxing Hibiscus blooms to spring forth than measuring flour and salt and milk and whatever other mysterious ingredients went into the food I “made.” Um, microwaving still counts as making food, right? Besides cooking requires math, I don’t do math. Which is why I also don’t sew. Or build stuff. (Altho I once built a pretty nifty chicken coop.) All that measuring and figuring out angles and knowing how to read a tape measure, or ruler. To this day understanding the difference between all those little marks on a tape measure is beyond me. I just count them and pray. Good thing I married a man who understands math…..and his way around a kitchen. Or we would both be very skinny right now. And hungry. And probably cranky.
I digress….. Again. Back to the garden and sanctuary stuff. Seriously, gardening is good for the soul. Bringing beauty out of chaos. Choosing a color palette to coordinate and compliment, or even contrast with your home isn’t hard. Creating a sanctuary means bringing pleasure and beauty to your surroundings. Indoors and out. Add benches, and paths and if you have room, a fire pit or gazebo. A table with chairs and an umbrella. These add comfort for sure. But also structure. Decorate your garden as you would the interior of your home. Create comfort by adding pillows, and candles. Outdoor patio lights strung from trees or around the ceiling of your porch. Benches or stools around a fire pit. Add throws to seating when the weather turns chilly. A garden is an extension of your home. Create a relaxing space. You don’t need a large yard or acreage to create your outdoor sanctuary. Even a tiny balcony or small courtyard or porch can be made to feel private and serene just by adding accessories. No space for a table?? Think bench with pillows. Go vertical. Hang outdoor friendly art, or gather a collection of old garden tools, wire them together and hang on the wall. Hang wind chimes. Add shutters or window boxes. Or a porch swing. The smallest of spaces may have room for
potted plants. Create a sanctuary. You deserve one.
Even a small place has room for a potted plant