Cultivating Plants, Community, Habitats and Happiness
by Teddi Rogers, Intake Coordinator and Office Manager
Summer is a great time to get outdoors – re-connecting with the natural environment and rejuvenating your spirit and mind! Simple things like a bike ride, a walk in the park, or a picnic can bring a healthy dose of happiness and serenity.
Our intake coordinator and office manager, Teddi Rogers, spends much of her time away from the office in her garden. In her blog below, she shares with us her love of gardening and the ways it has changed her views of her environment.
I grew up with a love for plants and flowers. I still feel a seasonal nostalgia every time spring bulbs begin to sprout. For many years I was a spectator, enjoying their beauty and fragrance, and that was enough. It was not until my late 20’s that I became an active participant by beginning my first garden. My new passion for the growing process completely transformed my relationship to plants. I have since gained an appreciation for their role in our lives alongside our role in theirs. This new understanding and connection has led to my increased sense of happiness and well-being.
I love that a garden is fundamentally useful. Without intention, beginning a garden creates habitats; attracts pollinators; adds oxygen to the air and nutrients to the soil. All of this wealth is an effortless byproduct. In addition to the vibrant blooms, the garden adds beauty by attracting birds, butterflies and bees. It makes me so happy to see insects and animals benefiting from this new space of food, shade and rest that I helped to cultivate. I still admire plants for their beauty, but I see even more beauty in the function, than just the shapes and colors.
In addition to enhancing the environment, my garden has brought me new relationships within my community. Many of my perennial plantings are established and large enough that I can split them. I love gifting or trading plants with my neighbors. This is a fun and free way to add to each other’s gardens. Now that I have begun growing fruits and vegetables, I look forward to sharing the harvest as well!
My garden is newly a source of food, but it has always been a source of inspiration. My favorite part of gardening is forming a relationship with each plant. Part of this relationship is getting down to the plant’s level, and looking closely enough and often enough that you notice every moment of its life-cycle. It brings me joy and excitement to see new growth emerging from stems that otherwise looked dead, buds forming from foliage, and the unique changes each plant goes through over time. Even on the city streets, I spot growth, thriving life, and plant and animal interactions. This new eye for botanical detail has increased my appreciation of my native surroundings.
Since I began growing plants, I feel happier and calmer. Whether you live on acres of land or in a studio apartment, I would like to encourage everyone to use what resources they have to incorporate some plants into their lives. I have found that if you take care of them, they will take care of you in return.