I needed a hobby that would help me pass the day, get me into a more meditative place and draw me out of doors. Gardening with chronic illness like COPD is never easy and sometimes I have to push myself to get it done. The results of my efforts are always worth it. It is so easy to get into the habit of being inside with COPD all day simply because it is too much trouble to go out. Taking care of myself is a full time job that makes me forget that I can also do some activities that make us feel good about myself. I need the distraction of doing something other than worrying about my illness. When the summer finally dawns, after many winter months, I need a reason to push myself out of my indoor comfort zone. Gardening takes away alleviates some of the daily stress of having chronic illness.

This was the early spring plants that I purchased

Pansy Gardening

It All Began When I Developed my Chronic Illness

My daughter and I started a hobby with a small herb garden in the kitchen window but it was not as successful as we thought it would be. Mold and pests became our companions.

So, I came up with the idea of planting food, out of doors, like tomatoes and peppers but, due to poor weather conditions early in the season, I got started a bit too late this year for veggies.

So this year became all about flowers. I adore the colours and varieties and picked each one of them carefully. Most of them are very hardy and ensured I wouldn’t be disappointed.

Why I garden with Chronic Illness and COPD?

This is a happy flower with huge buds that just keep going

Yellow Gerber Daisy

I get a sense of having a living thing growing and thriving because of me. It is like you feel when you have had a child that is happy and content in your care. Gardening allows me to get in touch with nature and gives me a sense of being needed. It also relieves some of the stress of managing my chronic illness on a daily basis and gives me a reason to get out of bed in the morning.

How Do I Garden?

This year my gardens are in containers that sit on tables and stools around my porch. Having raised beds alleviates the need for me to be bending over as that action causes increased shortness of breath. Raising the beds is a great help for those with chronic illness like COPD.

These red blooms are my favourite!

Red Gerber Daisy

When Do I garden?

Due to my COPD, I have found it is necessary to garden during the cooler times of the day. Utilizing the early mornings and late evening makes this a suitable hobby. I keep a watering can close by and water as necessary.  So far this year we have had rain almost every second day so we haven’t had a ton of maintenance. Rain water appears to perk everything up much better than fresh water anyway.

Taking Care of Your Mental Health

Where is my garden?

finding easy to grow plants are necessary when you have chronic illness. Wave Petunia's they just keep on going

These petunia’s just keep on going and never stop blooming.

My garden has moved from the core of my yard onto my porch off of the family room. I can no longer bend to reach the plants. All of my plants are in containers and rest in elevated tables. Bringing plants up to my level allows me to enjoy them and makes tending to them easier when I to need.

I have had a rocking chair with a stool and a side table installed nearby enabling me to rest when necessary. We have also installed a canopy overhead that serves two purposes. It keeps the hot noon hour sun from scorching both my precious seedlings and myself.

Chronic illness makes me appreciate the beauty. This waterfall of colour appears in late spring into early summer

Flowering bush with ruby red flowers

My Plan Going Forward

This fall I will purchase larger planters at the end of season sales and be prepared for an early spring planting for a food garden next year.  I am now planning a salad garden. So the main things will be tomatoes and onions along with peppers and I am try another window garden this winter. Avocado’s feel like a good place to start.



What does a hobby do for your brain?

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