Gardening At Night Part 2

My education in gardening began the day I started treatment for major depressive disorder. My prior relationship with plants went something like this, once a year I’d get an image in my head of a flourishing vibrant patch of dirt from which something like this would appear:

hens and chicksBut reality can be a heartless wench sometimes and dash your dreams into this:

my hen n chick

That’s just to give you an idea of the skill level we’re talking about here. A whole lot of heart, big dreams, but not much potential in the gardening department which is partly why I wasn’t quick to volunteer to lend a hand with this undertaking. Shortly after Erik installed the pond liner, pump, and a few goldfish the project lost momentum. Here’s Oliva trying out her baseball mitt last year in front of litter box pond:


Remember that while this distraction was in the works I was also attending an intensive outpatient program. The days were rhythmic and predictable: group and individual therapy from 8am-12:30; 1-5pm was reserved for reflection and homework. We were asked questions like “what can you do to care for yourself?” or, “what steps will you take today when you become anxious?” Sometimes even just a simple directive was given, “practice self-compassion” or “be mindful today.” I wanted so badly to feel differently that I clung to every exercise and really gave my heart over to the process. I spent my afternoons reflecting and practicing the things I learned that morning and when I needed a break I’d research water gardening because I knew the pond was one of Erik’s dreams and because I needed to busy myself and get out of my head. I found a local place that specializes in pond plants and gathered water lettuce, lemon bacopa, water lilies, horsetail rush, and water hyacinths. Looking back now I can see that water planting was an easy way to practice mindfulness. I watched in disbelief as the submerged organisms flourished and supported each other. The fish grew longer and plumped up as the floating lettuce and hyacinths multiplied like clover over time.


See the bird perched on top of the spitter? So now there was this beautiful little aquatic centerpiece surrounded by a big ugly sandbox. I knew what I had to do next. Tune in tomorrow for another installment and thanks for following along!

  One thought on “Gardening At Night Part 2

  1. April 15, 2014 at 6:14 am

    I love the process, Sandra, and how your reemergence dovetails with the birth of the little pond’s greatness.


    • April 15, 2014 at 8:23 am

      Thank you so much Mark! It’s personal, so I really appreciate the positive feedback.


  2. April 15, 2014 at 8:12 am

    Waiting with baited breath…


    • April 15, 2014 at 8:24 am

      Thanks for riding shot gun with me Kerbey. You’re in charge of the radio my friend.


      • April 15, 2014 at 8:30 am

        Ha! You stay on top of music more than I do, I’m sure. I will dwell in the past, and you’ll have to pull me forward.


      • April 15, 2014 at 7:17 pm

        I’m actually pretty lousy with anything beyond the late 90’s. So turn it up sister!


      • April 15, 2014 at 7:18 pm

        Okay, we’ll just listen to Tom Petty for the first hour.


      • April 15, 2014 at 7:20 pm

        Excellent! You read my mind!


  3. lundygirl
    April 15, 2014 at 1:28 pm

    This is inspirational! The pond looks great.


    • April 15, 2014 at 7:17 pm

      That’s so kind of you to say! I really appreciate that. I love pictures of your garden.


      • lundygirl
        April 16, 2014 at 1:22 am

        Thanks Sandra, I love pottering about in my garden, I find it takes my mind off everything else!


  4. April 15, 2014 at 9:05 pm

    What a tranquil little nook you have building there!


    • April 16, 2014 at 4:51 am

      Thanks Christopher, I wish we had thought to take a picture of the way it looked originally. Just imagine a triangular dirt pile of yuck. That’s the way it sat for the first 6 years we lived here, I’m embarrassed to admit. It’s come a long way, but yes it is so peaceful.


  5. April 15, 2014 at 11:38 pm

    I see what you mean, and somehow I know how healing it can be to do gardening.
    It looks great, your pond!


    • April 16, 2014 at 4:54 am

      I love your new profile pic! Thanks Ninna. It has taught me so much.


      • April 16, 2014 at 11:56 am

        It says: what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger! >:D


  6. April 16, 2014 at 3:27 am

    What a nice place


    • April 16, 2014 at 5:03 am

      Thank you Alex! We have a small house so it’s nice to be able to spread out and enjoy the backyard now.


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