Here, primary school teacher Sue Mickelburough shares the positive impact that spending time in her home garden has on her wellbeing.

My garden escape

Today on a warm spring morning I planted zucchini seedlings, feeling the sun on my back as I push my hands into the soil. I look forward to watching them grow, seeing bees pollinating their bright yellow flowers and enjoying the fresh healthy food I can produce for my family.

Whenever I am missing, they know I will be out in my garden – watering a plant, turning compost, checking on my worm farms and insect hotels, or tending to my vegie patch or fruit trees. There is always something different to be discovered and that is why I find gardening so absorbing. Sometimes it is difficult to tear myself away as there is often just one more thing I want to do. Gardening can be quite addictive!

A water feature in the garden. Image supplied.

Surrounding my home is a magical place that draws me away from the everyday stresses of life and work. It is a garden filled with tropical plants where I can sit quietly and connect with nature. I love to listen to the birds and frogs calling to each other and smell the fragrance of my flowers. So many sensory experiences that help to calm my thoughts and enjoy the moment in times when life may be challenging.

To an outsider, a garden may just be a place of plants, flowers and perhaps a vegetable bed, but it is so much more than that. For me it is also an outdoor classroom where I learn new things every day, making plans for the seasons ahead and always working towards creating my dream garden. As Audrey Hepburn once said, ‘to plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow’ and I am excited and inspired by what I hope to achieve on my small block in the future.

A vegetable bed in the garden. Image supplied.

Over time, I have established different habitats to welcome wildlife and encourage beneficial insects to pollinate my food gardens. I love to watch the many creatures that visit, such as a possum that pops his head out of a box when I pass, or to follow the progress of a Swallowtail butterfly from egg to adult on my citrus tree. My garden is a living environment that is constantly changing, and this is what makes it so fascinating.

I have found so much joy and personal satisfaction in what I have been able to achieve in my small green space. Even if you just have a few plants in pots, a small herb garden or a potted citrus tree, you may find that gardening is an activity that brings many positive benefits towards caring for your own health and wellbeing.