Gardening and being grumpy usually don’t go together but they did for me today. I woke up feeling out-of-sorts, itching with free-floating irritation. After last night’s thunderstorms, the Buzzards Bay weather was perfect for gardening—cool with a light wind and low humidity. I decided that a few hours in the garden would restore my equilibrium or equanimity or something…whatever (or as they say in Massachusetts–whatevah!).

The positive effects of gardening on mental health are well documented. For one, Dr. Benjamin Rush, a signer of the Declaration of Independence and “The Father of American Psychiatry,” wrote in the 1700’s about the positive effects working in a garden had on people with mental illness. Gardening doesn’t involve sitting still and counting breaths while focusing on being “mindless” (in fact, it’s quite the opposite) yet it has the same physiological benefits: stress relief, feelings of well-being and increased brain function.

I worked in my garden for two hours this morning without a single positive mental-health-inducing thought. I caught myself muttering about the rocky soil. I thought about what I would tell my neighbor who wanted gardening advice: “Flowers are just pretty weeds. Don’t pamper them. If they can’t make it, they aren’t worth growing.” I cursed the bits of poison ivy lying in wait for my exposed forearms. At that point, I decided that it was worth looking into the topic of gardening and grumpiness.

I found this purported quotation from Sigmund Freud: “Flowers are restful to look at.” Obviously, Freud wasn’t a gardener. I don’t know any gardeners who look at their flowers without thinking about what needs to be weeded, deadheaded, or moved to another, better spot in the garden. I also found a blog called, “The Grumpy Gardener.” I’m not sure what’s grumpy about him, but he certainly is knowledgeable. Here is a link to The Grumpy Gardener’s website. As for my grumpiness, gardening didn’t help today but, as in most cases, the passage of time and a good nap did.  Whatevah!

Have a good week and, if you haven’t already done so, please “Like” my Facebook page.  Google will be nice to me if you do that.


*”Grumpy” image from Photobucket, Timelord_album.




About Alexis

Alexis Rankin Popik, author of Kiss Me Over the Garden Gate, is an award-winning short story writer whose work has appeared in The Berkshire Review and Potpourri Magazine. She has penned numerous articles about local history that have been published in Connecticut Explored and the University of Connecticut School of Law and The Hartford Seminary publications. A former union organizer, Popik traveled the country educating shipyard workers about health and safety and founded a labor-management health plan before turning to writing fiction full-time. She lives with her husband in New England.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.