Know your plants – February Ecotherapy Activity

Your garden can be your sanctuary, even if you don’t consider yourself to be a gardener or want to spend much time tending it.  This little exercise teaches you how to evaluate the plants in your garden and how to slowly, carefully transform your garden into a more positive and rich place to be.

Choose a favourite plant in your garden.  Make a list of all the reasons why you like it and its positive attributes.  How does the plant make you feel?  What does it bring to the garden? Does it hold any special memories?  Really take the time to get to know the plant, its leaves, its bark, the number of petals in its flowers; how the leaves are arranged around the stem (do they grow opposite each other, or alternately up the stem, either on two sides or in a spiral).  How does it feel to touch, does it have a scent (leaves or flowers)?  Research it if you can to find out more about the plant’s origins and needs and wishes.  Do you know how to care for it? If not, research this too.  How is it pollinated?  Is there anything you would change about the plant if you could?  Are there any negative attributes? List these too.

Now you know more about the plant do you love it even more? Does it inspire you to care for it more or do you already take good care of it?  Ask yourself if this plant reflects a little bit of you and how you feel, or want to feel?  If it does, is this a feeling you would like to bring to the whole garden?  If not, are there different feelings you would like to bring to different parts of the garden?  Identify them.

Armed with this knowledge, do the same for a plant that you don’t like or feel ambivalent to.  When you’ve done this, ask yourself if you still want to keep the plant, or perhaps replace it with a different plant that makes you feel more positive.  If you choose to keep it, perhaps now it won’t seem such a negative influence in the garden, and you will better understand and be more willing to care for it.  If you think you would like to replace it, then you are better equipped with the knowledge to choose a suitable replacement that you will like, that will bring positive vibes to the garden.

You can over time repeat this exercise for all your plants if you wish, and you can use this to help you when choosing new plants for the garden too.

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