How do you relieve stress?

gwtamaraSeptember 21, 2007

Hi folks,

We are putting together some content regarding how gardening relieves stress. Do you find that being out in the garden really does make you less stressful? Is it the actual gardening itself -- or just enjoying the finished results?

Specifically, we'd love to see pictures of your garden -- your own Shangri-La. It doesn't have to the entire garden -- maybe it's just a quiet corner or your favorite spot in the backyard.

Feel free to upload your picture to this post or to our Garden Galleries or you can even send it to me directly. Just include a short description of what you love about it or why it's so special to you.



GW Community Manager

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chris_ont(5a Ont)

Well, I think it's evident that, for many people, exercise itself is a super stress reliever. Digging up a new bed or some other, heavier, garden chore would certainly qualify as a fair bit of exercise. I always feel very good after spending some hours getting dirty!

But even just planting a few new things, doing some weeding or other light chore, tying up things that trail, or cutting back things that have wilted are, to me, super stress relievers. Thinking about what plant to put where, what is ready for division or what new perennial to try means that other matters are temporarily out of mind.
I always try to get at least a little time in the garden at the end of the day. When I garden I think only about the garden. It just happens :)

Also, the smell of earth and plants is very soothing to me. Without pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers and other chemicals, it seems like the "real world" is far away, my garden seems very natural and I feel connected. Gardening without gloves on seems to amplify that feeling. Even the compost under the fingernails seems right.

Here are my favorite image of my previous garden. The one at my new house is not ready for display :)

    Bookmark   September 21, 2007 at 3:40PM
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libbyshome(z9a BC)

Creating something beautiful brings happiness and relieves stress.

    Bookmark   September 21, 2007 at 3:49PM
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I agree that gardening - all the work of it - relieves stress. Very primal and close to the earth - physical and simple and, well...earthy. Being forced to switch my schedule for nature's timetable. That's a big one.

But now if I could just figure out how to avoid the stress of seeing these incredible photos of gardens that look so much better than mine!! AAAAAAAAAARRRRGGGG!

    Bookmark   September 21, 2007 at 10:17PM
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I feel "cool" with certain colors in the summer and that helps relieve stress

but then I also feel "happy" when I see lots of bright colors:

    Bookmark   September 21, 2007 at 10:21PM
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chris_ont(5a Ont)

Carrie, what's that plant in the front of your last image? The one with the orangy-peachy daisy-like flowers.
Love the foliage! And the shape of the clump. I must have it or I'll be very stressed.

    Bookmark   September 21, 2007 at 10:46PM
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LOL... chris - it's merely orange profusion zinnia.. grown from seed (one seed,one clump) Here are more:

    Bookmark   September 21, 2007 at 11:14PM
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In the psychology of color, green is very soothing and calming. Being outside and close to growing things relieves stress for me. The fresh air clears my mind and the heavy labor of working in the garden relaxes me. I tend to think through stressful job-related events while I'm gardening and when I come inside at the end of the day, I feel happier.

When you create something beautiful in your garden you get the immediate reward and gratification of seeing and enjoying the fruits of your labor, unlike many job-related tasks where some incompetant bozo is just waiting for the opportunity to jump in and take credit for your work. That never happens in your garden, your work is yours to enjoy. The neighbors know it, passersby know it and you know it.

Gardening chores are always there for you to do. You never get finished in the garden, you can always weed, deadhead, trim, mulch, fertilize, water, plant, sniff, touch, divide, gather, walk and look. Every day of every season has something to offer and something for you to do. I am as content no where else in the world as I am in my garden.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2007 at 1:15PM
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well said!


    Bookmark   September 24, 2007 at 1:29PM
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lavendrfem(z6 CT)

Working out in the garden is something I look forward to every day after work. I actually enjoy pulling weeds. I guess that's the way I relieve stress. But the finished result gives me a great sense of accomplishment and beautiful flowers to look at too!

this is my other house - my new one is only in it's first season and I don't have pictures developed yet, but will soon.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2007 at 9:16AM
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Love the pictures of your gardens!!! I know it definately helps me with my stress. I get out there and you're just looking at everything, and suddenly, all the crap from the day is gone. Sometimes I get stressed out there when I'm pushing planting all these things at the last minute, but I have done this everytime, and I always get it done, I'll say, never again, but there I am. I want it to be done right, so I pressure my self that way. Would I trade it? No way!
I took some of your tips on places to go like Lowes. We just got them here in Minnesota. Their stuff is pretty nice, and reasonable too. I got some goldenrod, coreopsis, hellebore, hydrangeas and lots more for around 80.00 !! It was all half price. I even found a red hydrangea. I can't wait to see it all next year.

    Bookmark   September 26, 2007 at 8:29AM
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ellen_s(z5 centralMA)

Beautiful gardens! Just looking at those photos is a stress reliever for's eye candy :-)

    Bookmark   October 5, 2007 at 9:58AM
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todancewithwolves(Z9 CA)

I would say a bottle of wine and sitting the garden enjoying the fruits of your labor :-)

    Bookmark   October 5, 2007 at 2:01PM
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I categorize gardening as one of the base pleasures that go back to humans' earliest days. Like cooking or carpentry, there is a gut gratification and good feeling about working the land. I also get a great amount of gratification from the knowledge that I've improved the neighborhood or provided enjoyment to others through the garden. The best of all worlds is growing your own vegetables, cooking them yourself and then eating them ona table you built yourself - now that is stress relief!

    Bookmark   October 5, 2007 at 5:30PM
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jackied164(z6 MA)

I guess the digging and hauling of rocks building and repairing garden beds in the spring is a great stress reliever but right now dragging my hose around and watering is what does it for me. I have become very primative with this chore. The sprinkler has been in the shed for 2 years gathering dust and this year I removed the nozzle/gun thing and am using my thumb. It really gives me a sense of control and also allows me to focus the stream at the roots of plants. This is something I need to do since I only have time to water after work and grow lots of plants that would suffer horribly of fungal diseases if their leaves were constantly getting wet at night. Oh and there may or may not be a "cup" of wine nearby while I do this. It may deserve some credit.

    Bookmark   October 5, 2007 at 7:53PM
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ellen_s(z5 centralMA)

Working in my garden is my decompression takes my mind off the details of my life and immerses me in the slower cycles of the earth. I find great peace and joy just puttering around, looking at what has grown, what needs to be moved, what needs some help or weeds that need to be removed. It's a creative process that helps me slow down and relieve stress. If I'm too tired to do anything but sit in a chair under the hemlock tree, I enjoy watching the life that thrives in our backyard habitat..from birds and butterflies to frogs, snakes and minnows in the pond. Much better than TV :-)

The companionship of horses also brings me great happiness, and the routine work their maintenance requires also keeps me grounded...I'm lucky enough to have my horses living right in my gardens. Their manure helps everything grow too :-)

    Bookmark   October 6, 2007 at 8:11AM
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Working in my backyard is something I look forward to each spring. But during the winter months we have a sunroom conected to our sparoom that are both full of plants, both tropical, exotic and some things I grow outside each year and bring indoors. Spending time in the sunny, warm rooms surrounded by all of that is very stress-relieving. And especially during a quiet snowfall... I'll escape there any chance I get.

    Bookmark   October 6, 2007 at 2:46PM
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suzannie41(PA-Zn 6)

The first thing I do in the morning, with my cup of coffee, is go out onto my deck and observe the grounds around the house. I get ideas in my head of what I want to accomplish for my gardens. We moved here a year ago, and there were no gardens on our one acre plot. Slowly, we are planning little gardens around the house. I just love planting new things, and seeing how they work in certain areas. I could - and do - work for hours pulling weeds, raking leaves, positioning rocks where the gardens will be, and for me I don't think about anything but the garden and imagine what it will look like when we are finished (finished??never!!) The exercise I get from all of this, is my work-out for my mind and body, and it is so very relaxing and rewarding.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2007 at 10:01AM
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gottagarden(z5 western NY)

Just playing in the dirt, touching the plants, seeing how my "friends" are doing every day makes me feel relaxed. It's the journey, not the destination . . . although the end result is rewarding as well.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2007 at 12:44PM
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FlowerLady6(z10 Fl)

This is a great thread and I love all the pictures of your stress relieving gardens.

Our gardens are our individual works of art. Working in and with them, we feel peace seeping into our very beings. There is plenty of hard work, but oh the joy we receive from our gardens. Part of that joy is from the doing, planning, weeding, planting, our building projects. Part of the joy is also from enjoying the fruits of our labors.

May we all grow in peace as we work, play and learn in our gardens.


    Bookmark   October 9, 2007 at 11:23AM
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clbravo(z8 LA)

I relieve stress by hours of toiling in the beds, deadheading roses and weeding. But also watching visitors like this blue heron drop by and mingle with my plantings.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2007 at 10:18PM
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FlowerLady6(z10 Fl)

Clint ~ What a wonderful picture! I hope you don't mind, but I made that my desktop. This is the first time I've used anyone's picture for my desktop. It just did something for me. I can't explain it. I would love to see more of the paradise where you and your wife live and garden, especially what must be a lovely brick wall from those old bricks, the gas lanterns and the iron gate with rose motif. Just thinking about that, has inspired me to keep on working in our gardens down here in tropical s.e. FL. Please more pictures! What new projects do you have in store for your new tractor and backhoe? Have fun.


    Bookmark   October 16, 2007 at 11:23AM
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Mendocino_Rose(z8 N CA.)

I have to admit that I don't relieve stress by gardening. I adore my garden but it is a full time job, my life's work. I feel better when I step back from it for a short time and then return. Here are a few photos.

    Bookmark   October 16, 2007 at 11:35AM
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clbravo(z8 LA)

Your more than welcome to use the pic. If my wife and I didn't garden on this property, it would be a crime. It has stately live oak trees,buford hollies, old hedge bamboo screening the front of the property. The pond is fed by an old artisian flow well, which in turn I use to irrigate the lawns and plantings. I was passed on 50 year old crinums, hurricane lillies and huge formosa azaleas. Upcoming backhoe projects include planting more golden goddess and mosa bamboo. Additional Japanese maple trees and old garden roses, louisiana irises, salvias and perennials.

    Bookmark   October 16, 2007 at 4:18PM
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What wonderful pictures !
I agree with you, gardening is incredibly de-stressing - even in a small urban garden
I am busy to arrange the garden that was of my grandfather, then of my mother, then mine (after 16 years without garden) - with a lot of old plants that I have always known, some have disappeared, I brought a lot of new ones, especially irises and peonies
Even if the garden is still a mess for the moment, I have a great pleasure to go in every morning, with my coffee and before to go to work, looking at the flowers, insects, tritons, ... It gives me strength for the busy day ;-)

I try to put some pictures of the garden, but I'm not really skillfull about that...

PS Sorry for the wording, I'm French speaking but you conversation and pictures are so relaxing, I just would like to participate

    Bookmark   October 22, 2007 at 11:01AM
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aftermidnight Zone7b B.C. Canada

Welcome to Cottage francoise, you will find as I have the people on this forum are a great bunch so do join in whenever you can.


    Bookmark   October 22, 2007 at 11:16AM
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FlowerLady6(z10 Fl)

Gotta garden ~ I LOVE your purple/blue color scheme.

Mendicino ~ Love all of your roses. I'm trying to plant more old garden varieties too as they seem to do best down here in tropical s.e. FL.

Clint ~ Thank you for posting more of your paradise. Love your brick wall, it is fantastic. Great salvage project there. Did you build it? What is the rose that is covering the wall in that picture? Also what is the rose next to your home, overlooking the pond? Love your irises also.

Francoise ~ Welcome to this forum. You did very well in expressing yourself. Do come back and I hope you can share some pictures with us here.

I just got out and mowed, it's 85, but with the heat/humidity index it feels like 93. It feels good to be back in the air-conditioning. I still need to get out and weedwack but that will be a morning project when it's cooler.

Gardening definitely puts one in a different frame of mind. You feel great when things look good, you get to see and enjoy new happenings in your gardens almost daily.

Happy Gardening everyone and do keep posting pictures.


    Bookmark   October 22, 2007 at 11:40AM
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clbravo(z8 LA)

Thanks for the reply. I had the wall built by a couple of mason's out of Mississippi. They built the columns first then the double walls between each column. That is climbing Clotilde Soupert on the wall and climbing old blush on the deck overlooking the pond. Mendocino Rose, I got your slideshow link from the Antique Rose forum and am blown away! Your garden is now my inspiration. It is amazing how much joy old garden roses can give!


    Bookmark   October 22, 2007 at 9:12PM
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I don't find the way to include pictures in my message
can you help me ?
thank you

    Bookmark   October 23, 2007 at 4:12PM
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clbravo(z8 LA)

Go to and open an account, it's free. Follow the instructions on uploading your pictures to photobucket. It will give you 4 options on copying and pasting to e-mails, forums etc. You go back to the gardenweb forum and post a message pasting the url into your message. Preview the message to see if the picture pops up. If you used wrong option from photobucket, it will show the url address, not the picture. Make correction and preview again to see if it works. Good luck.


    Bookmark   October 23, 2007 at 9:53PM
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natalie4b(7b GA)

How do I relieve stress? I stuffed my front bed with 165 daffodils today. It was very therapeutic. And it provided a space in my fridge for fruit and vegies again. Or I can get another helping of spring flowering bulbs! There is no such thing as too many daffs, tulips or hyacinths, is there?

    Bookmark   November 2, 2007 at 8:19PM
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angelcub(Sunset 3b)

By looking at Libby's pics. : )

I'm fortunate to not have a lot of stress in my life (touch wood). My gardens definitely help but so does having a sense of humor. I don't take anything too seriously, with the exception of health matters. After 54 years I've found most things that seem overwhelming work themselves out and soon are a distant memory. My DH and I have a saying: "It's just a ____ " (fence, cabinet, car - fill in the blank) and keep on smiling and loving. : )


    Bookmark   July 9, 2008 at 8:29PM
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libbyshome(z9a BC)

pssssssssstt. This thread is from last year.
Was grnthumihavenot posting in the wrong thread or was that some kind of spam?

Thanks anyway, Diana :)

    Bookmark   July 9, 2008 at 9:22PM
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Nell Jean

I think grnthum is a troll, happily trying to sneak in some 'free advertising' for his product. Nice of him to use a thread with purty pichures wasn't it?

Maybe one of those nice monitors will notice and pull it.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2008 at 9:37PM
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angelcub(Sunset 3b)

LOL! Yeah, I thought it was spam, too, but I realized I missed this post (think I was on vacation ? ) so went ahead and added my 3 cents. ; )


    Bookmark   July 10, 2008 at 11:44AM
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bouquet(z8 Dallas)

It doesn't matter if I'm inside or out, it always helps me feel better to see the garden.

This is a great idea!

    Bookmark   July 10, 2008 at 4:00PM
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Sitting and look at my garden, but what really does it for me is my german sheppard honey bunny :)

    Bookmark   July 11, 2008 at 8:23AM
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There is nothing like getting filthy dirty, feeling the dirt crumbling under your fingertips, hauling rocks, pulling tree roots and then standing back and looking at the art you created. Since it is ever-changing, there is always something to do and it is completely mindless for me. It allows me to forget everything and just be creative. I find it to be great exercise and therapy. I go inside after hours in my gardens exhausted and sleep like a baby. Then I can't wait to get up in the early am and go see what's in bloom today!

    Bookmark   July 1, 2009 at 7:57AM
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Lilyfinch z7 mid tn

These pics are sooo nice, i cant wait for spring!!

    Bookmark   March 5, 2010 at 8:54PM
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neverenoughflowers(6 SEPA Downingtown)

I just love seeing everybody's gardens, I am always inspired. When I finally take some good pictures this year I will post my garden beds and hopefully they will be as pretty as those here. I find that gardening is the best stress reliever in the world; and when the day is done, there is nothing like pouring a glass of wine and taking a garden walk to admire the beauty.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2010 at 8:45AM
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