Getting into the Gardening Groove

Purple Cabbage

When I was a young girl growing up on Hilton Head my mother would say to me, “Becca, one day you’ll be a gardener. It’s just in your DNA.” I remember looking at her sweat-stained T-shirt and dirt-encrusted fingernails. I remember holding my nose to avoid smelling the mulch. And I remember thinking, “No, gardening’s not for me. I must be adopted.”

But, as always, my mother was right. I have become a gardener.

I love removing a newly-purchased plant from its plastic container and planting it in the ground. I love wrestling with the garden hose. And, most of all, I love the fact that gardening is a form of moving meditation.

Mary Bruce in her garden

My dear friend Mary Bruce likens gardening to Tai Chi—an ancient practice that uses gentle flowing movements to reduce stress. Mary Bruce has a plot at Heritage Farm in Sea Pines and she goes there every day to unwind and “just be with her plants.”

Like Mary Bruce, gardening is a daily joy in my household. I recently made an edible garden for my three daughters. Every morning we “give the plants breakfast,” (as my two-year-old Ruth Love says) and remove dead leaves and weeds from the pots. This has become my favorite morning ritual and it is such a relaxing way to start the day.

Don’t get me wrong, though. Gardening is hard work. Weeding, watering, and wiping your brow—you’re in constant motion. As a result, gardening can be calorie-burning. One interesting site reported that the average person burns nearly 300 calories an hour gardening and I believe it. Squatting, walking, lifting—I feel like I’m in a hot yoga class, especially come May on the Island. The repetitious movement serves as a distraction from my to-do lists and gets me in sync with the Lowcountry.

Onions from the garden


Tips to Getting into the Gardening Groove:

  • Invest in good plants. Buy from local nurseries like Green Thumb, the Greenery, Inc, and Sunshine Nursery.
  • Let your garden evolve. Rather than buying all your plants at once (and maybe overwhelming yourself), try conquering small areas at a time.
  • Make it edible. We all know fruits and vegetables are good for us, but they are even better and tastier when they are from your own backyard.
  • Get a hat. You can find an inexpensive hat at any tourist shop.
  • Stay hydrated. I like to put a mint sprig from my garden in my water bottle.

Be well!–Becca