The healing power of gardening

Garden healingBecause gardening is such a solitary practice and in many ways repetitive, it can easily serve as a form of meditation.  When you’re going through a difficult time — or have a serious problem to work through — there’s nothing like pulling up weeds or pruning back a wayward shrub to help focus the mind.

There’s also a primordial aspect to it — the sense of being the latest in countless centuries of hunter/gatherers who have worked the earth.  I feel that most deeply at the very beginning of spring — when the fields are still blanketed in morning frost — that yearning to dig my hands into the soil.  To once again join the healing rhythms of the natural world.

In So Near, my character Jenny is a gardener who shares these feelings.  We first meet her in a garden she has inherited from her in-laws, a rambling, overgrown affair that she is just starting to rehabilitate.  In the very next chapter, tragedy will strike — shattering Jenny’s life.  And Jenny will start to tear the garden apart:

“Though I had an overall sense of where everything should eventually end up, in truth my plans were really nothing more than vague yearnings. Distant and shapeless. An outsider would probably see it as the work of a crazy person—or someone crazy from grief.”

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10 Responses to The healing power of gardening

  1. i love your blog, i have it in my rss reader and always like new things coming up from it.

  2. liza says:

    Thanks so much! I hope to keep it going on a regular basis — so please let me know what you think.

  3. Gwen Rhodes says:

    love reading your blog. You are an inspiration Liza. Always have been.
    check out my blog as

  4. Lovely post, Liza. Gardening, like kneading bread, or making pasta is the type of solitary activity that make me sing inside. Thanks for sharing this with us! So looking forward to receiving my copy of So Near on September 6th!

    • liza says:

      Thanks so much, Meredith! One of the things I really admired about your novel AFTERTASTE was your tactile and loving descriptions of cooking — how it connects us, like gardening, to the fundamentals of life.

  5. Nicie says:

    Dear Liza,

    What a wonderful coincidence to read your post. I was just thinking of you the other day as I was dead-heading and pruning my roses. I was wondering how you do yours. But I was also just enjoying it so much, and I was wondering how you would describe that pleasure in your elegant and insightful prose. Now I discover I’m likely to get my chance to find out. Congratulations on the new book! Can’t wait to read it.

  6. liza says:

    Thank you so much, Nicie! I’m actually a novice but devoted rosarian at this point. A great source of information and inspiration for me locally is Andy Van Cleve’s wonderful nursery outside of Albany:

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  8. Paula J. Farrell says:

    Good job Liza! I’ll keep reading.

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