Feeling crowded? Closed in? Too much noise? Work pressures? Distractions? A garden can be the perfect antidote to these stresses. All it takes is a few minutes spent in a semi-wild setting that could be as close as your back yard. Being in nature revitalizes us. It makes us slow-down, notice things and reset our natural balance. 

The simple act of getting our hands dirty while grooming some potted herbs can give us olfactory stimulation while giving us future culinary benefits. Some herbs really need containers to be controlled, in order to avoid over-running the garden, e.g. mint, lemon balm, or comfrey. Others are simply more conveniently moved around the garden to capitalize on sun/shade patterns throughout the year.  

apples - illustration by Helen KrayenhoffGrowing your own fruits and berries is another double bonus. You get the hands-on experience of a farmer, plus the time spent communing with nature. Take time now to monitor the sun patterns, drainage patterns, practical and aesthetic patterns in your garden, then come in and check out what we have. More sun and drier conditions: consider figs, grapes, or apples. More shade and wetter soil: consider blueberries, strawberries, or huckleberries. 

Want to get away from the ol’ homestead? Visit your local park or community garden. In the East Bay we are blessed with some of the best of both, from micro-parks consisting of a single bench beneath a Live Oak tree, to greenbelts meandering through daylighted creeks. And while you are at it, take time to thank the people who make these green spaces available to the public.

Or, for those who want to wander a bit further try a visit to one of your East Bay Regional Parks. Personal favorites include Tilden in the Berkeley hills, and Redwood (recently renamed Dr. Aurelia Reinhardt Regional Park). No car? No problem. Both can be accessed by AC Transit bus lines from Berkeley and Fruitvale BART stations respectively. Check ebparks.org for details and events.

Breathe in all of that oxygen being manufactured by our green friends; and feel yourself relax!