From Seeds to Serenity: Embracing Gardening as a Vital Wellness Practice for Dads
Written by: Lombe Mwansa
Published: 17 May 2023


Gardening provides an opportunity for self-discovery, rejuvenation, and a deeper connection with ourselves and the world around us.

In our fast-paced modern world, where responsibilities can weigh heavily on our shoulders, it is often in midlife that we seek solace and rediscover the joys of simpler pursuits. One such timeless endeavor that offers profound benefits and connects us with our roots is gardening. Previously explored in “Digging Deeper: The Surprising Benefits of Gardening for Dads,” this follow-up post delves further into the rich history of gardening, emphasising its time-honored practice and highlighting three cultural examples of how gardening is embraced by men in different parts of the world. So, fellow dads, let’s embark on this horticultural journey and uncover the magnificence of gardening!

Unearthing Ancient Traditions:

Gardening is not a recent fad; it’s an ancient practice that has transcended time. For thousands of years, men across the globe have found solace, purpose, and connection through tending to the earth. These traditions, passed down from generation to generation, continue to inspire and nurture the souls of men in their midlife today.

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  1. Japanese Zen Gardens: In Japan, the art of gardening has been elevated to a profound level of spiritual expression. Zen gardens, or “karesansui,” embody the deep reverence for nature and tranquility. Often found in Zen Buddhist temples, these meticulously designed gardens are places of meditation and reflection. Japanese men in midlife, seeking inner peace and harmony, find solace in the meticulous care and precise arrangement of rocks, gravel, and carefully placed plants in these gardens.
  2. Moroccan Riad Gardens: In the heart of bustling Moroccan cities, a hidden oasis awaits: the riad gardens. These secluded havens are traditionally found within riads, grand Moroccan residences. Men in their midlife take immense pride in designing and nurturing these private sanctuaries. Riad gardens feature vibrant courtyards adorned with citrus trees, aromatic herbs, and colorful flowers. They provide a retreat from the vibrant chaos of urban life, where dads can reconnect with nature and their inner selves.
  3. Australian Aboriginal Bush Gardens: For the Aboriginal peoples of Australia, gardening has been an integral part of their cultural heritage for over 65,000 years. Aboriginal men in midlife continue the tradition of cultivating bush gardens, or “ngurra-kurlu,” which serve as a source of sustenance and a testament to their deep spiritual connection with the land. These gardens, featuring native plants, shrubs, and edible tubers, are a reminder of the rich biodiversity and the reciprocal relationship between humans and the environment.

Embracing Gardening later in life:

Now, you may be wondering how you can incorporate gardening into your own midlife journey. Whether you have a sprawling backyard or a small balcony, there are countless ways to cultivate your green thumb. Consider the following suggestions:

Grow Your Own Food:

Planting and nurturing a vegetable or herb garden can be a rewarding and healthy pursuit. It allows you to reconnect with the cycle of life, nurture your body with fresh produce, and engage in mindful practices. The act of tending to your own garden can provide a sense of purpose and fulfillment.

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Create a Peaceful Retreat:

Design a tranquil garden space where you can retreat from the demands of daily life. Arrange colorful flowers, incorporate soothing water features, and create cozy seating areas. By curating an oasis of calm, you’ll have a sanctuary to reflect, recharge, and reconnect with yourself.

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Share the Experience:

Engage in gardening activities with your family or a community of fellow gardeners. Involve your children, teach them about the wonders of nature, and create lasting memories. Consider joining a local gardening club or volunteering at a community garden. Sharing the gardening experience with others not only deepens your own connection to the earth but also fosters a sense of camaraderie and mutual support.

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Embracing the age-old practice of gardening can be a transformative and enriching experience. Across different cultures and throughout history, men have found solace, purpose, and connection through nurturing the earth. Whether you explore the tranquility of Japanese Zen gardens, create your own Moroccan-inspired oasis, or honor the ancestral wisdom of Aboriginal bush gardens, gardening offers a timeless path to self-discovery and rejuvenation.

Let us dig deep, plant our seeds of curiosity, and watch them bloom into a tapestry of colors, scents, and memories. In the embrace of nature’s embrace, we find ourselves, reconnect with our roots, and discover the beauty that lies within and around us. Happy gardening, fellow dads, and may your midlife journey be abundantly blessed with the joys of nurturing the earth and nurturing your own soul.

Overall, gardening is a fantastic hobby for dads who are pushed for time. Whether you have access to an outdoor garden or are limited to indoor or small space gardening, there are plenty of options available to help you get started. So why not give it a try and see how it can improve your life?

Thank you for reading, and continue making this a month of prioritising your mental health and pursuing new hobbies!

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