Peace and quiet with plants – International Day of Peace

First published by Rattan Direct on 20 September 2016.

Peace. When arguing and discord stop. When fighting, killing and war cease. And we can get on with our lives in relative tranquillity. Growing plants will bring a little peace when world harmony seems far from our grasp. Tomorrow is International Day of Peace.

Growing plants brings more peace into our lives

When discord seems to be all around us, and scenes of horror enter our homes from all over the world, peace can seem beyond our grasp.

Contact with growing plants, though, can bring more calm into our lives. A garden helps but so does a patio, a balcony, a window box or a window sill.

Window garden overlooking River Thames. Peace
Window garden overlooking the River Thames
© Steve Daniels and licensed for re-use under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic Licence

The love of nature is an ancient thing. Growing and tending plants connects us to the rest of humanity, over millennia. Getting into the rhythm of the seasons is calming and seeing yourself as a small part of the great pattern of nature is very soothing.

Gardening is a wonderful way to unwind and de-stress. Gardens can be a paradise.

Gardens of the Alhambra, Granada, Spain. Peace
Gardens of the Alhambra, Granada, Spain
© Gianni Cossu and licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported licence

Feeding your senses

A perfect paradise should be balm to the soul and ambrosia to the senses – all five of them.

Geoff Hamilton was right. Every garden should be a sensory garden.

Sight

Flowers and foliage have so many colours: bright, pastel and green, green, green. There are so many shades of green, perhaps the most relaxing of all colours.

A patio in Córdoba, Spain - a World Heritage Site. Peace
A patio in Córdoba, Spain – a World Heritage Site
© Pedro M. Martínez Corada (www.martinezcorada.es) and licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported licence

Touch

The textures of plants: silky, spiky, smooth, rough, furry. The temperatures of surfaces: cold, cool, warm, hot.

Smell

When sitting areas have scented plants nearby, when paths are lined and covered with aromatic plants for you to brush against or tread on, you are surrounded by a haze of beautiful smells. Roses, herbs and lavender have been known and valued for this over centuries.

Taste

Growing your own herbs, fruit and vegetables is a delight. The plants are good to look at and the produce tastes fresh and clean. It brings you a taste of home when you’re far away, and of other peoples’ homes when they share their food with you.

Hearing

The rustle of grasses, the sound of birds singing, insects buzzing and of gently moving water. Perhaps wind chimes. A garden full of plants can mask noises from outside the enclosed space.

The safety of the enclosed space

All gardens are enclosures and all are special places. They have always been a symbol of protection from the world, particularly in turbulent times, and a rare space of peace and security. They are still this, of course. Sometimes you need intense privacy and quiet. Try a day bed in a garden – a peaceful space within a peaceful space.

Barrington Court Manor's enclosed gardens in Somerset, designed by Gertrude Jekyll. Peace
Barrington Court Manor’s enclosed gardens in Somerset, designed by Gertrude Jekyll
©Patrick Charpiat and licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported licence

Peace and quiet

The garden can be a place to stop and think. Or to stop and not think of very much at all.

Whether you live in the country or the city or somewhere in between, you can build a garden paradise. A window box or a few pot plants on the window sill all count. They can all offer you peace and quiet: calming, rejuvenating and refreshing.

A cheerful window box, Fochabers Square, Moray. Peace
© Copyright Anne Burgess and licensed for reuse under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic Licence

 

 

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