Sometime in the 70s, a friend gave me a mounted poster which hangs today in the office at the flower farm.

It was made by Vermont woodcut artist Mary Azarian and it highlights a saying from 19th-century poet Minnie Aumonier whose writing I admire. It says, “When the world wearies and (society) ceases to satisfy, there is always the garden.” In times like these, gardens and nature lend much-needed peace that calms our souls and strengthens our urge to help family, friends, and neighbors and move on to better things. Nature can help us make the past better than ever.

A bright, sunny morning here on the mountain above Peacham Pond. Gail, Alex, and I are heading to the flower farm to get started on another day of getting the nursery ready for summer sales when we officially open on Mother’s Day weekend.

Any day you see the gates open until then means we are someplace at the farm working to make things special. We carry over about 10,000 plants, many of which are potted each fall as we replenish what we sold. The 2019 season was our best since the late 80s, when we moved here from Shelburne. Our customers, near and far, are very special to us and we see them as our gardening family.

This year we are beginning with a variety of challenges familiar to all of us. And with those challenges, it‘s good to know you can find solace in your garden and in nature. We have subscribed to this theory our entire lives and all farmers know some years are better than others but all years require us to pull together to make things work.

In the coming weeks, look to gardens and nature. If you have gardens of your own, walk them as often as you can, and note the changes. Spring is a time when things are born again and our gardens demonstrate this annually. If you don’t have gardens of your own, get out and about for walks while respecting the rules that help us get back to where we want to be. If it works for you, remember the Japanese practice of “forest bathing” or shinrin-yoku. This is a very effective nonmedical therapy that has documented medical advantages. Walk the fields and woods and sit and enjoy the sounds and your new surroundings. You will enjoy the benefit and I guarantee if you have never tried it before, you will again and again. Vermont’s state parks network provides a public opportunity for this as well as the many town forests in Vermont. And if those locations fail to satisfy, stop by the flower farm, walk the fields and absorb the tranquility of the Winooski River going by. See you soon!