Add some Zen…

A popular gardening trend is small space woodland gardens, which are cool, mossy and damp that bring a welcome sense of organic Zen and a respite from digital overload. To benefit, find a spot to relax where the atmosphere is calm and solemn, which is perfect for meditation.

Zen is a way of being and a state of mind. It involves dropping illusions and seeing things without distortion, which is created by your own thoughts. To create the ideal zen zone you might be inspired by Japanese gardens, which offer you a sanctuary for the senses. They always feature water that is usually negotiated via steppingstones, which according to Japanese philosophy, is considered to be a mind-clearing activity.

Start on your own sanctuary by earmarking an enclosed area of your garden for contemplation…the aim is to find your inner peace and happiness. Having a good view or tantalizing glimpses of your garden will help put your mind at peace, making it a great space to meditate. Or you could focus the mind by creating a simple water feature, such as a deer scarer or Shishi Odoshi, which uses a series of hollow bamboo tubes that repeatedly pours water into a bowl.

The Japanese believe that the irregular rhythm and clacking sound created by the bamboo tube as it fills and empties creates a soothing sensory charm that is helpful in achieving a clear uncluttered mind. If necessary, add wind chimes to distract your attention from traffic noise and other people

Natural planting is the style you’re after, so plant lush evergreens, pines and bamboo and add just an accent of seasonal blooms. ‘Showy’ plants are considered to be bad taste in Japan, except that is in spring when they revere cherry blossom and celebrate the festival season with tourist events running through March and April.

If you prefer the intimacy of an English woodland garden, you’ll need an east or north-facing corner, which lacks the afternoon warmth of other garden aspects, to make over. Use shrubs like daphne to create shade for diminutive spring-flowering woodlanders like primulas and plant bold drifts of pulmonarias, hellebores, brunnera, dicentra and tiarella. Be generous when planting, adding spring bulbs like scillas and snowdrops as well as ferns, such as the popular holly fern, Polystichum tsussimense, which has silvery white scales that show up well even in dark shade.

Whatever, garden style you go for, aim to get into a ‘mindful’ state on a daily basis. This means taking time to breathe deeply, to rest your mind and spring clean your spirit. Even if you don’t practice yoga, the meditative aspect lying flat on your back can be very powerful because you encourage your habitual mental activities to “play dead” as you breathe into the core and let go. Choose a meditation period and remain centered on the breath until the session is finished. And before you rush back to your normal pace, slowly bring yourself back to waking reality and give yourself a good stretch before tackling the daily grind once more

Even if you don’t want to re-design your garden, you could still cultivate some calm in pots by your back door. Trendy Coral Bells or heucheras are perfect for the job as these amazing perennials come with leaves in calming blues and shades of purple as well as greens, which will help your ‘mindful’ state.

Candles will also help to put you in a meditative state. Begin with your eyes closed, surveying the body and watching the breath until it becomes calm, regular, and even

Today, science is investigating herbs and especially sage as it relates to improved mood and the enhancement of cognitive function and memory. All of these qualities aid in successful meditation. Herbs calm the nervous system, develop clarity, and help the mind become more stable and steady. Sage is also a useful herb to keep handy and it’s particularly helpful for healing cold sores as well as your digestive health. It is also loaded with calcium and Vitamin A, which have anti-aging benefits and sage water makes a great toner for oily skin and a cure-all for acne and uncomfortable flare-ups associated with eczema and psoriasis. Not surprisingly, sage is held sacred and especially by Native Americans, who use it to balance and cleanse negativity from body and mind.

The native Americans also swore by drinking passionflower tea to balance and cleanse negativity from body and mind. To modern doctors, passionflower is a known mild sedative that calms the mind when it is agitated or anxious, this is because passionflower increases serotonin levels, a naturally occurring chemical in the brain responsible for mood balance.

Your patio is a handy place to add some pots of strongly scented therapeutic evergreen herbs like rosemary. When handled, rosemary will stimulate the memory and help you to stay alert for the day ahead. Position a plant or two close to a seat so on dull, grey days, you can benefit from its relaxing effects

Be aware that cocoa, sugar, and coffee will stimulate the mind and nervous system, making meditation more difficult. Even onions and garlic can agitate practice, so be careful what you eat before attempting yoga!

Even when lavender has long since lost its summer blooms, the evergreen, silvery leaves are packed with the powerful, sweet balsam-like fragrance, which helps combat stress. Lavender is known to releive anxiety and as a sedative, to increase relaxation and calm, it quietens the brain and nervous system, reducing agitation, anger, aggression, and restlessness. Even in winter, lavender retains its magical powers and is helpful in relieving headaches. Unfortunately, lavender plants are susceptible to the cold and damp and in harsh winters you may lose a branch or two, so be prepared with replacement plants.

Herbal tea will boost the brain, improving memory and fighting anxiety and depression. Try drinking a cup of hot thyme tea after work to fight fatigue and improve your immunity and use the cold dregs to freshen and soothe skin, especially if troubled by acne








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