A Staycation Garden

By Linda Wiggen Kraft,
Healthy Planet Green & Growing Editor

We are all living in a different world. Limiting our everyday travels and our travels to far off destinations means our vacations may be staycations. A staycation is staying at home and having a vacation there. It doesn’t have to be a disappointment, in fact the perfect place to see the world with new eyes is in our own gardens and yards. 

A vacation is more a state of mind than a destination. We almost never experience our gardens in a vacation state of mind. We often overlook an easy perfect destination for a lovely day trip or even an overnight sleeping in our own backyard. 

The easy part of our garden staycation is getting there. All we have to do is step out the door. There are no travel expenses and we know the way. The not so easy part is to be in a vacation state of mind. To get into a vacation state of mind requires the usual preparation and planning of knowing some details of where to go. Imagine the parts of your landscape as individual destinations and how to spend some time in these areas. Get supplies ready that you will need on this vacation: clothes, sunscreen, bug spray, magnifying glass, cameras, portable chairs, blankets, maybe a tent and sleeping bags, a picnic lunch, snacks and other food. Bring books for reading and some paper and pen for writing. Resist going inside except for bathroom breaks. Turn off phones and other screens, and avoid distractions. Enter your garden as you would any other vacation spot where you will spend the day. Let everyone in your family explore and share the adventure experiences. And if you spend the night, set up a tent and maybe even a fire pit to cook dinner and have s’mores for dessert. 

Being in this vacation spot requires what is called beginner’s mind. It means to be in a state of discovery where you see things as if for the first time in a way that passes no judgment on what you are seeing. Imagine you are visiting a beautiful garden with hidden treasures about to be discovered. You are not there to think about all the work that needs to be done or the changes that need to be made. You are there to discover the beauty of each plant and flower, to savor the essence of green growth and to find your connection to this place on earth. Become lost in the moment as you look at flowers with a magnifying glass. Take close up photographs of the details that are most often overlooked. Sit quietly and let each of your senses absorb the sensations that surround you. Take a piece of paper and write a phrase or sentence of what you see and sense. 

Write a list of these observations and they become poetry. Find a comfortable spot to read your book. Lie in the grass and watch the clouds go by. Meditate and feel the energy of the earth recharge your body and sooth your soul. Be present and open to the new vacation experience of your garden. 

Let others on this vacation staycation have the same quiet reflective times. Also share outdoor games, eating together and sharing stories. If spending the night outdoors, set up the tent and explore the garden in the dark. There are night pollinators to be seen, perhaps an owl will be heard and fireflies may bring spots of light into the darkness. 

Linda Wiggen Kraft is a landscape designer who creates holistic and organic gardens. She guides others to connect deeply with nature through nature journeys-forest bathing. She is also a mandala artist and creativity workshop leader. Her website and blog are at www.CreativityForThe Soul.com. Her phone is 314 504-4266.