Due to the fast pace of our everyday lives, I look for moments of peace where I can find them. I’ve been known to read a chapter or two in a book after doing chores. (The porch on our barn at Enchanted Acres is one of my all-time favorite places to sit back and relax at the end of a work day. Just give me a cold Ginger Ale and 30 minutes of alone time!) I’ve also been known to enjoy a latte in the morning while watching birds eat from the feeder that is located among blooms in my pollinator garden.
Did you know that gardening is just as good for our bodies as it is for the birds and the bees? A recent article in Country Living magazine states that gardening has mental health benefits and increases our life expectancy. Physical benefits from gardening include:
Stronger immune system;
Increased stamina, which reduces risk of heart attack and stroke; and
Exercising nearly every muscle. Having stronger back, arm and abdominal muscles helps improve posture.
One of my favorite things about gardening is soaking up the sunshine and listening to the birds sing. This spring gardening has provided some quality one-on-one time with my daughter. My 15-year-old isn’t a passionate gardener by any means, but she is enjoying a sense of accomplishment from caring for the container garden she recently planted at Becky’s Greenhouse in Doughtery, Iowa.
Becky hosted a gardening workshop for 4-H members. It was a beautiful spring evening and about 24 kids, ages 9 to 16, enjoyed making their way through three stations: (1) container gardening; (2) flower arranging; and (3) Pinterest-inspired plant or seed banners.
Each person brought a 5-gallon pail to make a container garden. Becky graciously provided the soil to fill the pails and let each 4-H’er choose the flowers he/she wanted. She then shared the formula for an interesting container: Thriller, Filler and Spiller. The Thriller is the centerpiece of the design. It literally gets placed in the center of the pot as the focal point. Examples of Thrillers include Mandevilla, Geraniums or Spikes. Filler, which adds mass, should complement the main plant. Lantana, Dianthus and Petunia are a few of my favorite fillers. Spillers, like ivy and sweet potato vine, cascade down the side of the pot.
Containers are quick and easy to make. They don’t take a lot of time to maintain, and they can add a pop of color to your front steps or patio. If you’ve never made one, I hope you feel inspired to do so now! If you have experience with container gardens, I hope you’ll share your favorite plants. Feel free to also share photos of your containers in the comments below.