The benefits of gardening
A garden is a plot of ground that is specially cultivated and nourished to grow flowers or vegetables. People tend gardens just for the joy of it. Whatever their life's work, gardening is a way to renew their spirit, and enjoy natural beauty.
The history of gardens begins with the Hanging Gardens of Babylon where the gardens were maintained for no other purpose than to provide joy for the kings. These early gardens combined elements of flowers and vegetables with structures and water in lush, formal worlds where a ruler could relax after a long day.
Asian gardens are developed using the concepts of Zen and Buddhist philosophy that simplicity defines beauty.
Gardens provide fresh herbs and produce for the kitchen and flowers for the table. Shrubs, flowers, and garden elements like water and structures decorate the spaces that surround the places people live. They may frame a lovely vista or screen an unattractive view. Gardens replenish oxygen and have a smaller carbon footprint than lawns, relying on the hand labor of gardeners rather than gas-powered mowers and trimmers.
Public gardens tend to be arranged for a specific purpose such as botanic or zoological gardens. Public gardens generally focus on either scientific study, or development of new varieties or practice of the garden as art. Residential gardens range more widely from window box and container gardens to perennial borders, herb gardens, and vegetable plots. They reflect people's individuality. Community gardens are generally collections of vegetable plots, but some are creative community projects that rival public gardens in beauty and practical value.
Gardens may be public or private, indoor or outdoor. They may be professionally landscaped or more akin to the humble cottage gardens. Most have been planned to provide a succession of blooms - something is always in flower to provide interest. They may have an arrangement of geometric beds or a collection of graceful borders. They may be organic, water, container, or impact gardens.
Gardens may provide herbs and produce for the table but more importantly, they provide recreation and pleasure for their keepers. Agriculture has become mechanised and industrialised.
Gardening retains that labour-intensive effort that results in a feeling of accomplishment. Every rose that blooms, every tomato you slice is fresher, prettier, or tastier than anything you can buy in a store because it is the result of your own effort.
Helpful Gardening Tools
Tools are a gardener's best friends. They are a gardener's mainstay for everything from preparing the soil to planting and even breaking up stubborn roots. The most helpful tools include the short-handled and long-handled types, as well as a variety of miscellaneous items such as plant ties and gloves, to garden carts and watering cans.
* Short-Handled Tools
Short-handled tools are perfect for smaller jobs. A trowel is good for breaking up clods of dirt or potting soil. A hand fork is a true utility in the garden because you can use it to plant if you don't have a trowel. Sharp pruners are used for trimming small branches, pruning rose bushes, or snipping flowers for an arrangement.
* Long-Handled Tools
Use long-handled tools when you don't want to bend or kneel. Garden hoes, cultivators and long-handled bulb planters fall into this category. Each of these tools allow you to easily work the soil without bending or kneeling on the ground.
* Garden Miscellany
Incidentals like gloves are a must-have for any gardener. Mud gloves have rubberised fingers and palms that keep your hands from getting wet and cold.
Stop using string to tie up tall plants and opt for self-sticking fasteners instead. They fasten quickly and are reusable. Having two watering cans is a good idea - one with a long spout for watering hanging plants, and a short one which is good for all other plants.
Source: New Straits Times - Fri, Feb 25, 2011 - 001 - A-All - 1Klassifieds