by Linda Wiggen Kraft

At holiday giving time, we give gifts to those we love. Our gardens are something we love and deserve our gifts too. Gardens are a part of living earth, our own small part of living Gaia, the system that sustains us all. The most important gifts to give our gardens are those that enhance and sustain the life of a garden.

Like gifts we give to others, often the best gifts are our time, love and attention. These gifts can only come from a commitment made deep inside. Spending more time in the garden is an opportunity to send it loving thoughts and give it the attention it gladly responds to. Giving time may mean scheduling time on the calendar to do things like simply taking a walk through the garden.  During these walks loving thoughts of gratitude for the beauty, food, and life of plants and animals can be silently sent via your heart to the garden.

One gift of love and attention is to give your garden a name. Sitting down in the garden or in a quiet place inside and opening your heart and mind to possible names that come to mind is one way to give a name to your garden. Often the quieting of thoughts lets the garden give you a name that will come to your mind. In giving your garden a name, let your definition of garden broaden to include all the land that surrounds your home, so that the ground and all that is upon it becomes your garden.

Gardens are living growing systems. Give gifts to your garden that will increase the life of that eco-system. Add gifts of trees, shrubs and perennials that not only bring beauty to your life, but that bring food and shelter to insects, birds and other wild life. Native plants that work in the sun, shade or soil of your garden often provide food and shelter for many more birds and insects than non-native plants. A water feature may be what will bring more life to the garden.  The life of the earth, or soil itself is what supports the life of plants.  Enhance the soil’s life with a gift of organic matter from compost or cover crops.

Gifts for specific kinds of gardens enhance the life of garden.  A fairy garden is a small space that brings thoughts of the enchantment of wee folk, if not real fairies themselves to a special place in the garden.  Comfortable sitting spaces surrounded by beauty may be the place for quiet contemplation, serenity and healing. Raised beds for vegetables help define the area and comfort in tending the space.

There are many gifts for a garden. No matter which ones are given, your garden will be grateful.  Not only will the life of your garden be enhanced, so will yours.

Linda Wiggen Kraft is a mandala artist and garden designer who uses the wisdom of many traditions in her work. Call 314-504-4266 or visit her new blog: www.creativityforthesoul.com/blog.