I have discovered that gardening is more than a past-time; it’s a way of life.

For me, gardening is both therapeutic and inspirational. There is something that relaxes and rejuvenates the soul which stems from the planting, nurturing and harvesting process.

I was fortunate to have discovered a love for gardening at a very young age. My parents owned a large farm where we grew most of our own produce and flowers. I learned firsthand the wonder of planting seeds, hand picking carrots and the unforgettable flavour of fresh strawberries.

My parents and older siblings taught me how to tend to plants, transplant tender seedlings and care for a garden. Every fall, I anxiously looked forward to my grandparents’ arrival and days spent canning and preserving the summer’s harvest.

My passion for gardening and green thumb continues to grow. Whether it is choosing new seed varieties, landscaping around our home, planning next year’s garden, preparing meals with our own fresh herbs and vegetables or arranging fresh cut flowers, I love to experiment with new plants, nurture our garden and decorate both indoors and out with the harvest’s bounty.

Decorating for the seasons has become a natural extension of my love for gardening and the outdoors.

I equally love to watch my six-year-old daughter, Sarah, venture into her own green space, delighting in her personal choices of seeds, herbs, vegetables and plants. (This year she proudly boasts the largest crop of tomatoes in the neighbourhood!)

My favourite family days are spent outdoors with a wheelbarrow full of dirt, new plants and a trowel.

As I take a glance back on my days spent enjoying planting, growing and harvesting, I realize that gardening has had many healing and therapeutic qualities. Whether it is the relaxing time spent enjoying the great outdoors, hours spent working together with my family, the harvesting of fresh herbs and vegetables, or simply the exercise from maintaining landscape.

Gardening can teach us a lot about life. Not only does it affect our physical health, but also our spiritual, emotional and psychological wellbeing. Gardening can have profound healing qualities while teaching us a lot about ourselves and our connection to nature.

Planting a garden is an act of optimism. When you plant a seed, you put hope in the ground. Your trust is in the future when there is no present sign that hope will come.” ~ Marilyn Barrett

Gardening is a past-time to be enjoyed and revered.

Given the opportunity, gardening can offer reflective, healing and therapeutic effects. Whether it is the enjoyment of gardening outdoors, tending to houseplants or arranging fresh flowers, I encourage you to welcome gardening into your life.

So much joy comes through experiencing each season.

Like anything, don’t take it too seriously, learn to roll with the punches (and the frost!), have fun and enjoy this opportunity to spend time together with family and friends.

This is my last column.

Thank you to the readers and staff of What’s Up Yukon for making the past five years of writing the Avant Gardener such an enjoyable experience!