Garden – noun or verb?

Lately I have been pondering things deep and meaningful around the word ‘garden’.  For me I love to relax and recharge by spending time in my garden, yet I realise that this simple word can mean so many different things to different people.

It can be a noun – the place around your home.  It can be a verb or action word, as in ‘to garden’.  As a noun, it has been proven that a good garden adds value to your home and from a resale point of view, and the Husquvana Global garden report of 2011 showed that “Australians who invest in a well-kept garden can expect it to increase their property sale price by 12 percent”.

real estate signThere are many studies which show the value of spending time in a garden or green space and gardening, yet I do wonder whether the benefit is the same for the person who does ‘garden’ (the verb) as it is for the person who simply looks at their garden from inside and has someone else ‘garden’ it for them.  While the word garden for me and most keen gardeners is associated with pleasure and fulfilment, for non-gardeners it can be an onerous chore.

I would describe myself as a passionate gardener, while others might even say I’m more of an obsessive compulsive gardener and I wouldn’t disagree.  At the end of a busy year I often feel like I am limping to the finish line, feeling mentally and emotionally exhausted, and just getting through the end of year school commitments for five kids can make you feel that way!?  While some people like to get away and lie on a beach somewhere or lay on a couch and read, I find the best remedy for me is to get out into my garden and garden.  With the recent heatwaves, my timing to play in my garden hasn’t been ideal, however any time spent in my garden, pays huge dividends.  Hours spent ‘playing’ seems to magnify into months of recharged internal batteries.

Not everyone is able to spend time playing in their garden, due to circumstances, time constraints or ill health and then, even being able to be in a garden or lookout onto a garden, can make a huge difference.

Numerous studies show that having access to gardens and green spaces when you are sick leads to improved medical outcomes from faster recovery rates, less post-surgery complications, lower blood pressure and lower stress levels.  Similarly, access or views of green spaces is important for the residents of aged care facilities

Human beings have an inbuilt need to connect with Nature.  The latest of Planet Ark’s research reports titled Needing Trees – The Nature of Happiness states that “Over the space of a single generation Australians have disconnected from nature, while at the same time there has been a rapid increase in levels of stress and depression, with depression-associated disability costing the Australian economy $14.9 billion a year.”

To me the best way to reconnect with nature is to get out and garden in my garden.  What does garden mean to you?