goldfinch on purple coneflower against green background
Curing the Gardening Phobia

Get Dirty. Make Happiness.

Suppose it’s early in the morning. You sit at your breakfast table and hear birds chirping. With only a slight turn of your head you see a pair of small yellow, white, and black birds perched on the flowers. Their tiny, quick, head-fluttering matches their light, twittering chirps. Relax.

Within the next few seconds, unawares, your own breath silently matches the lightness of the scene. Before your next sip of coffee, you’re sitting a little lighter in the chair.

Dreams to Dissolve Anxiety

young man in brown corduroys, brown cap, laying on tree branch, knees up, hands folded across his stomach

Now, look out your window and what do you see? Bare dirt? Untended, overgrown flower beds? Monster shrubs hanging so low they touch the ground? Large pots with dead growth from last year still shriveled up in the dirt?

But you dreamed of a Saturday morning at one with nature, the birds, and hot coffee…How will you get there?

The internet is blossoming with videos that try to encourage you by showing how “easy” it is to plant some flowers. Don’t get me wrong…I love all those videos and watch them endlessly!

unsplash-logoRob Mulally

And, truly, they are right…that digging a hole, mixing in a little fertilizer, loosening the roots, and then plopping the plant into the hole…is not all that hard. But, honestly they don’t address all the steps you will take to get there…You need that road map.

The Visible Road

Walking path, scattered with leaves, passing underneath a tall canopy of green leafy trees

So you need to be like Indiana Jones, who stood on the edge of a great abyss. He couldn’t see the path to happiness because it blended in so completely with the rock below. One step forward…and he found that he was standing on a solid path.

That’s for you, too.

unsplash-logoStudio Dekorasyon

Head Trash Stress

modern apartment building with white balconies, each planted with large shrubs and ornamental trees

“But, it’s August,” you say. “Isn’t it too late to do any gardening?”

Hell, no! Even in the upper Midwest there are about 75 days of growing season before the first frost. Plenty of time for plants to get their roots established.

“But my space is too big! It needs too much work!”

unsplash-logoChris Barbalis

See the title of my page? The 1-Hour Gardener. You are not trying to conquer your nature space—just be in it for a peaceful, nature experience. Close to the ground, digging in the soil, anticipating all the good to come. 1. hour. per. day. So this Saturday, follow the simple roadmap below.

Path Out of Stress

Step 1: Pick a garden spot where you want pretty things to grow.

Step 2: Go out this Saturday and take a picture of the spot every hour. Why? You are figuring out how much light that spot gets. Full sun is at least 6 hours per day. Anything less is part shade.

morning sun on messy, weedy flower bed
morning sun on messy, weedy flower bed
morning shade on messy, weedy flower bed
messy, weedy flower bed in three quarters shade, one quarter sun
afternoon sun on half of messy, weedy flower bed
later afternoon sun on messy, weedy flower bed
green, messy flower bed in full sun
pink coneflowers, little Joe pye-weed, milkweed all in full bloom
mom and daughter looking at flowers in the garden center

Step 3: Go to your local garden center to relax and browse the plants. Match the amount of light in your spot to the light requirement listed on the plant’s tag. Pick the prettiest plant you can find.

Step 4: Just like I said above—dig a hole, mix in a little fertilizer, tap the pot on a rock to loosen the plant and turn it out onto your hand, loosen the roots, plop it into the hole—and water.

unsplash-logoJonathan Borba
2 morning doves; one on balcony railing and one in the window box

Then, when anxiety creeps in, keep thinking about the pretty yellow, white, and black birds chirping “good morning” to you. If you plant it, they will come.

A great and happy adventure awaits!

unsplash-logoFelipe Lopez

Feature image

unsplash-logoMICHAEL MURPHY

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