Take Some Time to Smell the Roses
Well, I would like to say that this is a post for me to help you find your happy place, but frankly, after another very stressful, very busy season is winding down to the arrival of Summers heat, I am doing this to remind myself as well. Those of you who read this may know that I am a business owner, designer, consultant, blogger, installer, etc, etc, but you may not know that I am a volunteer for 4 awesome organizations, Master Gardeners, Master Naturalists and 2 organizations that are very close to home for me which are for special needs children. I am a mother of two boys both on the Autism spectrum, a wife to the best man ever (most times) and a homeowner, with responsibilities just like everyone else. In the jumble of responsibilities that arrange our life, I am guilty myself of not “taking time to smell the roses” both literally and figuratively. I think as mothers being innate caretakers, we are especially guilty of not making time to find “our happy place”, which frankly, makes us no good to ourselves or others for that matter. Although, tranquility and a little “back to Earth” down time are important to all of us.
It is a scientifically documented fact that the human response to the sound of water, the feel of sand in your toes and familiar friendly smells, bring us to a place of solace. It is a primal response to where we all originated. What you may not know, is that all of these sensories can be stimulated and rejuvenated in our garden space. Even the soil is believed to increase the level of serotonin in our brains when our hands are in it. I have created a wildlife habitat in my backyard which includes all five of the senses. Water for sound, which brings in wildlife sounds as well, fruit, veggies and herbs for taste, flowers for smell and sight, and textures like sand, rocks, plants, and water, for touch.
Colors are also a very important mood stimulator, while red is considered a hostile color psychologically, it brings me great happiness, warm earth tones bring comfort and peacefulness, while bright cool colors bring exuberance and life to a garden. I personally feel if the color is on the planet, it should be in my back yard. Colors and textures play against each other to add interest as a feast for the eye. Specific colors also attract certain butterflies and hummingbirds, so consider this as well when you are planning your space. Lots of great info can be found online for native plants that attract certain wildlife. Your favorite color should be included in your space to make your space a happier one. If your favorite color wont work as a plant, then add the color as art glass, furniture, or birdhouses, etc. Click here for some fun ideas.
OK, so you aren’t a big gardener or maybe you have a small space…So what? If you can get soil into a pot you can make a garden to enjoy. The purpose of your garden is up to you. Is it to contain your favorite cutting flowers to bring back inside? Is it to have a place to sit and de-stress from the ride home with a cool drink? Is a place to share with your children where they are free to touch and taste without fear? That is your call really, you just need to make a space for it and bring it to life, no rules, no judgement.
Also important is that you start small. Allow this to be a pleasure for you, not another job. Maybe you just want a tub with some aquatic life and a pump for water flow with some goldfish in it, I have to say, we have two ponds with all sorts of plants, water lilies and fish and there is something magically tranquil about watching them go on about their fishy business.
I also love to cook. Dinner time is a ritual in our home, It is at the same time, everyone is always present, the TV off and the conversation is flowing. I get to hear about my children’s days, we all talk about something we liked about our day and we enjoy a meal we know was healthy. I love my herb garden for this reason, you got a lot of something, plan a fun meal around it. Let the kids be creative and come up with a new recipe, even if it is terrible you will have expanded your horizons and hopefully gotten a good laugh out of it. The idea is that you are using your garden space for a pleasant experience.
Make your zen spot a retreat of sorts, make is accessible and comfortable and make it your own. Make a habit of visiting it for at least a short time each day to connect with nature and notice all of the subtleties of each plants changes and behaviors, every day is different in the garden. Personally, I like to “Piddle” as my Grandma Rose called it. I carry my recycled shrug and clippers with me as I manicure and compliment. I stop and talk to each plant and bask in their accomplishments for that day, sometimes it is a word of encouragement, sometimes pure praise and admiration. It is my happy place, where the rest of the worlds deadlines, frustrations, stupidity and ignorance share no space with me.
Now go create your happy place,
Lisa’s Landscape and Design (“like” me on Facebook(
“Saving the Planet One Yard at a Time”
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Man must feel the earth to know himself and recognize his values….God made life simple. It is man who complicates it.
Charles A. Lindbergh
Lisa, How inspiring this article is!! I love the way you describe the garden as something more than just plants and decorated spaces and can empathize 100 percent with everything you said as I read this article. This needs to be published where more can enjoy it – e.g. article for the garden section of the Statesman. I can tell you how to submit it if you like. Overall, a beautiful and true reflection on the joys and pleasures that a special garden place can provide.