Mindful Living

Xeriscaping and Mindful Gardening

Xeriscaping, Mindful gardening Vidya Sury

Gardening is a form of mindful meditation, and perhaps one of the best mindfulness practices. Nurturing a garden – regardless of its size, whether you’re blessed with one surrounding your house or whether it is few pots in your balcony, is a most satisfying experience. Watching one little leaf sprout or that bud beginning to bloom seems like the greatest achievement on earth.

Where I live, there’s an acute water shortage because of the intense heat. We’re praying for early rains. It is heart breaking to think of people and animals dying from heat stroke. Obviously, watering a garden is difficult, but there is a way to enjoy your garden without using too much water.

It is called Xeriscaping or dry gardening.

What better way to live mindfully than by conserving our natural resources?

Xeriscaping involves designing creative landscapes that use little or no water beyond what nature provides.  This practice became popular as a result of extended droughts, since water had to be conserved as a precious resource. It involves choosing “drought-tolerant” plants or “xerophytes” that can survive in these tough conditions. Some examples are Myrtle and Daffodils, and of course cacti. These plants only use up to 25 per cent of the water used normally and this saves thousands of gallons of water on a daily basis.

Xeriscaping requires efficient irrigation methods such as drips and soaker hoses that direct water to the base of the plant, preventing the evaporation of water. So no sprinklers here! Plants with similar needs are grouped together and overall maintenance is less than a regular garden.

Xeriscaping and Mindful Gardening Vidya Sury

While cacti are adapted perfectly for dry gardening with their prickly spines, thick round stems that store water and the waxy skin that minimizes evaporation, they are not the only species. There are lots of plants suitable for xeriscaping such as agave, juniper, lavender, herbs and spices such as thyme, sage and oregano, black walnuts, artichokes and sapodilla, a fruit native to Mexico.

The benefits of xeriscaping are obvious:

  • Saves water as much as 50-75%
  • Less maintenance with simple irrigation and minimal weeding and pruning
  • Adds to the value of the property
  • Free from pollution as turf areas are far less and don’t need gas mowers
  • Attracts local wildlife

Xeriscaping and Mindful Gardening Vidya Sury

And then there are some wonderful benefits of gardening.

  • Lower stress when you align yourself with nature. Walk in sunshine to get your dose of Vitamin D as you relish the sight of fresh plants and flowers.
  • Fresh air rich in oxygen nourishes your cells, making you feel more energetic. You feel good and enjoy better focus and sleep well at night
  • If there are birds around, imagine! The sound of the wind through the trees, rustling the branches, bird song, the sky’s changing colors… what a treat! All these help us focus on the present moment.
  • In your garden you don’t dwell on your worries. You leave your day’s problems behind. There’s no better way to take a break from the stress, as gardening helps you divert your thoughts, providing an outlet for your pent up energy. What a perfect way to connect with nature!
  • Gardening also nudges your creativity. Growing something is so rewarding! As you sow, so shall you reap! And of course you’re burning calories, a very welcome side effect!

Gardening gives you a whole body workout in the most enjoyable way. Spending time outdoors in natural daylight, unplugged from your devices can actually put you in a good mood! If you have health issues, gardening can be a great way to cut down on medication and improve your health.

If you don’t have a garden, don’t worry about it. I don’t and here’s what I do – I enjoy the one we have around our apartment complex.  I gush over my friends’ gardens. And I keep planning to cover my balcony with a net so I can bring in some plants, but I just don’t have the heart to tell my pigeons to buzz off.

So tell me, do you have a garden?

Do you find peace in it?

Would you agree that gardening is a form of mindful meditation?

If you’d like to read more about the principles of xeriscaping and a list of drought resistant plants, visit these links:

http://education.nationalgeographic.org/encyclopedia/xeriscaping/

http://eartheasy.com/grow_xeriscape.htm

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8 Comments

  • Reply
    Yolanda Renee
    April 29, 2016 at 9:29 am

    I love gardening, but only use plants that are natural for the area. Honestly, I have no green thumb, and if my poor plants can’t live without me, they’re in trouble. I love all the beautiful flowers, but can’t afford the care that some take. May favorite thing to do is sit on the sun porch and watch the birds, wildlife, and the colors. It’s my favorite place to write during spring, summer, and fall.
    So happy to see you still posting such wonderful blogs. We’re almost done! 🙂
    Yolanda Renee recently posted…X – X FACTORMy Profile

  • Reply
    Nicola
    April 29, 2016 at 12:02 pm

    It’s only recently that I’ve ventured into gardening and I do find it relaxing. Many writing ideas have popped inmy head while I’ve been gardening. A lovely and thoughtful post, Vidya. Thank you so much for sharing and thank you for the wonderful posts and inspiration you’ve given me throughout the April challenge. I look forward to continue reading your posts beyond the Challenge. Have a lovely weekend. Big Hug.
    Nicola recently posted…Y is for Yippee!My Profile

  • Reply
    C L McKenzie
    April 29, 2016 at 10:03 pm

    Without my garden, I think I’d go mad. I feel such calm when I’m in it, either just admiring the flowers or vegetables or digging in the dirt. There’s a rhythm in a garden that I find no where else.

  • Reply
    Kathy McKendry
    April 30, 2016 at 12:13 am

    My grandpa and my mom taught me to love gardening. I do find peace in the garden and I always think of my grandfather. I will have to learn more about the xeriscaping species that can grow in Ohio.

    I love your blog! SO glad I found it!
    Kathy McKendry recently posted…Y Cleveland?My Profile

  • Reply
    Dave Ledoux
    May 2, 2016 at 9:28 pm

    Wonderful post Vidya!

    I resented gardening as a child because I was made to pick rocks out of the field, and potato bugs off the plants. Gardening was a chore, not a fun experience.

    My wife’s joy of gardening made me reconsider my attitude. I would see her in a bad mood, and go out and wander about her heirloom veggies and flowers, pick a weed, pinch a leaf, smell a flower …. and come back a new woman, happy and relaxed. Was it the fresh air, the sunshine, the scent of the flowers and fruits? Maybe a combination of all. I now find the same satisfaction, pleasure and enjoyment of the garden as she does.
    Dave Ledoux recently posted…How To Grow Your Landscape & Garden Design BusinessMy Profile

  • Reply
    Birgit
    May 10, 2016 at 5:03 am

    I am the kiss of death when it comes to plants. I tried for decades to have a garden, first when living at home and later on my own and my flowers were…ok but not great. I actually found it stressful at the end and with my joint issues, it is not a fun thing. Now, when I met my hubby, I told him tricks that help( plants love coffee!) and the flowers just love him! The blooms are bigger and more abundant and just beautiful. He has told me not to touch any of his plants…hahahaaaa. I love looking at them and enjoying how much he has accomplished. He has severe classic ADHD and he finds gardening a stress reliever and calming. He can focus, be outside and enjoy his accomplishments.
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  • Reply
    Derek Mcdoogle
    July 16, 2016 at 7:03 am

    My wife and I moved to a new home and have wanted to start landscaping and gardening. You mentioned that xeriscaping involves designing creative landscapes that use little or no water beyond what nature provides. We live in a dry climate and it seems that this type of design would be very beneficial. I wonder if the architects in the area have these types of designs.

  • Reply
    Katrina Peria
    July 25, 2016 at 2:36 pm

    I would also like to add that gardening is really a fun way to spend time with your children. Based on my experience, I have nurtured them to love nature at its finest and it gives that sentimental value that you should go green and be aware with your surroundings. Be mindful also with pest control in the long run 🙂

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