Gardening: The Gift of Nature

By Andrea Pavee

Many, many moons ago, I was unexpectedly diagnosed with diabetes during a routine check-up.

I was 35.

The shield of indestructability, and impenetrability which I had cloaked myself with, shattered into smithereens.

Diabetes is a serious, lifelong disease, with no cure. My doctor, very kindly, told me not to despair and that with medication, healthy eating, and exercise, I should be alright.

The road to proper blood sugar control was a very tough one. My beginnings were tedious and grueling.

Today, 16 years on, I can say, in hindsight, that diabetes was the silver lining to a health crisis I was clueless of.

My fight to maintain good blood sugar levels was three-pronged: medication, healthy, balanced meals, and exercise.

Medication was the easiest path forward as I had no qualms about popping in a pill to control my blood sugar.

Watching my diet and exercise was another matter altogether.

I loved food, especially sweet things. As for exercise, I wasn’t fit to begin with, so you can understand how much of an uphill battle it was.

While initially slow on the uptake, I persevered, and am still persevering because it is worthwhile.

Now you may wonder how is this connected to gardening? As it happens, a lot!

Before the spectre of Covid-19, I loved hiking at a jungle near home. When the pandemic entrenched itself over the land, and the hiking trails were closed, I took to pacing the roads around the neighbourhood instead.

Walking is a great way to exercise at a steady pace of your own preference. For those who are unable to run, or suffer from knee or joint pain, this is a great way to keep in shape, without wearing out your cartilage. Even those who suffer from osteoarthritis benefit from walking since it keeps joints moving, limber and flexible.

Plus, it is an easier way for you to add up those 10000 steps you are aiming for daily and to feel great doing it!

They say, the best way to capture the sights and the essence of a city, is to walk through it. The same applies here, walking slows you down so you can smell and see those proverbial roses.

For me, many gardening ideas took seed and rooted on those daily walks. I learned a great deal about weather patterns, how aggressive those little squirrels really can be, the many trials and troubles of the macaques, and where to go to see the neighbourhood woodpeckers and kingfishers.

I have also kept a weathered eye on gardens roundabout the area, quietly taking in their design ideas and improving on my own. Keen observation is one of the ways to deepen gardening know-how.

Walking has also made me new friends, both with people and critters alike.

Daily meetings (with people) have, over time, blossomed into steadfast friendships where many are ever willing to share helpful hints, advice, plant cuttings or recipes. These little tête-à-têtes brighten my day, even as blossoming acquaintances bloom into deepening friendships.

Lily mentioned in a post about appreciating the simple things in life, especially now, with the new normal in pandemic times. Gardening harkens back to that simplicity as does neighbourliness, something which I know has been remiss for a long time. This is yet another takeaway lesson and a silver lining to the pandemic. As it has been a lesson for me, I hope this can benefit you, too. After all, as Tolkien once wrote, not all who wander are lost.

P.S. Another good resource for gardening ideas is Pinterest. While you can use the ideas there en bloc, an alternative would be to make those ideas a baseline for yours, while working to create a masterpiece of your own making.

Posted by Chayo, HomSkil Editor1 , 12 June 2021

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