Gratitude-Garden-Thankful-ThursdayA garden requires patient labor & attention. Plants do not grow merely to satisfy ambitions or to fulfill good intentions. They thrive because someone expended effort on them.

Liberty Hyde Bailey

I made a trip to the local big box home and garden store last weekend. So did about a million other people.

It would seem that everyone knew that April is National Gardening Month – no coincidence its timing in regards to spring. Where I live the daffodils are already up, the hastas are breaking through and the tulips can’t be far behind. Time to get to work.

I love perennials. Returning faithfully each year, they are the surest sign of spring I know, other than spotting the first robin in my yard. They’re always there for me. Something I can depend upon. I also love annuals; one trip – well, several – to the home and garden store and my home’s springtime wardrobe is complete.

I read somewhere that research shows that nurturing plants has a healthful benefit for us, mind, spirit and body. You can see it throughout your neighborhood, your town, your city. I’m sure the figures for the money we spend on this springtime rebirth are enormous, and in my opinion it is money well spent.

It’s no surprise that many, many literary parallels have been drawn between gardening and personal relationships. Especially in this season of rebirth and growth and blooming, it becomes an especially good time to tend to our own friendship gardens.

There are the perennials – long time, steady friends that you know will always be there, even if they are out of sight for long periods of time.

Then there are the shorter-term friendships you make through book clubs and kids events and other activities. These are the friendships that can brighten your day on a day to day basis. And while these friendship may not be as deeply rooted as those of your perennials, there is no question that they need to be nurtured and cared for as much, if not more than the long time friendships.

In any event, good friendships, like good gardens, take time and effort on your part to grow into something that you can truly enjoy. When you work at cultivating your friendships through a kind word, a helping hand (perhaps working with them in their garden) you are working toward a time when you can just sit in your garden, relax, and enjoy your surroundings.

Think of your friendships as a garden that you are solely responsible for. At some point, you planted the seeds and did the things you needed to do to make things grow. Planning and organizing is important, doing things in a timely fashion with a purpose in mind always yields a more attractive relationship both with plants and girlfriends.

Still, even the very best and visually beautiful garden may have some weeds. Weeding is simply part of the process, and that which does not make your garden healthier, more vital and more attractive should be directly addressed.

So where does the idea of “thanks” come into all of this? I’d say the easiest thanks of all would be to thank nature for each year, without fail, reminding us of the importance intending to our growth and the growth of our friendships. And thanks for having a store where we can get the plants we need already well on their way.

Sometime this week, spend a few minutes with your gratitude journal and write down the friendships you are thankful for, both old and new. Maybe describe your friends and your friendships in gardening terms. Give them nicknames like Rose, and Fern and Daisy. Remind yourself to cultivate and if necessary, pull a few weeds from your garden. It all goes toward making your friendship garden stronger and more beautiful, something that you and your girlfriends can find joy in.

So dig into your friendships. Get your hands dirty girlfriends. It will all be well worth the effort.


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