Digging in the dirt: good for soul

By Laurie Garretson
Dec. 21, 2017 at 10:05 p.m.
Updated Dec. 22, 2017 at 1 a.m.

Laurie Garretson

Laurie Garretson   Contributed Photo for The Victoria Advocate

What is it that makes gardeners want to play in the dirt? I think the simple answer to this question is that gardening brings us closer to nature, which in turn can provide us with many different therapeutic experiences.

The benefits of gardening has been around for ages, just not realized. For many centuries, early man had to depend on nature to provide food for himself and his family.

Today, more humans garden just for the enjoyment of it. Many people also choose to grow their own fruits and vegetables for their families as well as for the physical and mental pleasure it provides.

In the late 1700s, Dr. Benjamin Rush, known as the "Father of American Psychiatry" and one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, was the first to document the positive effects of working in the garden. He first began to notice the benefits of being outdoors and how it helped individuals with mental illnesses.

In the 1940s and '50s, hospitalized war veterans were treated with different modes of outdoor garden activities to help improve different types of illnesses.

The use of therapeutic gardening as an accepted treatment used for hundreds of different diagnosed conditions is now accepted in today's medical world.

Good health no longer means just a healthy body but also having a healthy mind and spirit. We regularly need to disconnect from all the digital equipment and get back in touch with nature. Gardening is some of the best medicine for our bodies and minds.

With all these healthy benefits, what better gift could anyone receive than the gift that helps get people outdoors?

This being the biggest gift-giving season of the year, I just thought I'd make this healthy suggestion.

Until next time, let's try to work with nature, not against it, and maybe all our weeds will become wildflowers.

Laurie Garretson is a Victoria gardener and nursery owner. Send your gardening questions to laurie@vicad.com or in care of the Advocate, P.O. Box 1518, Victoria, TX 77902.


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