There are many theme songs for summer, but The Garden Song should be on the list of favorites. It’s been performed by a wide range of singers from Peter Seeger to John Denver. It was that song that played in my head when a friend invited me to the White House Spring Garden Tour earlier this year. The tour is free, but you must have a ticket. As you might imagine, they are hard to get. The tours only run for two days and are given just twice a year, in the spring and the fall.
Not surprisingly, the ground are beautiful. What I didn’t expect was bee hive, the playground set for Sasha and Malia or the trees labeled with a photo of the President or First Lady who planted them. It was a walk through living history.
What I really wanted to see was the White House Kitchen Garden which has generated so much publicity in recent years. The neat rows of lettuce and the herb garden provided a hint of the bounty to come. Few of us will ever have a garden to match the White House, of course. But that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t try to grow a few things each year. It turns out that gardening’s benefits go far beyond producing flowers, fresh herbs or a succulent tomato.
Just last year, researchers from the Netherlands published the first evidence to suggest that gardening can promote relief from acute stress–just the kind that most of us live with daily. And there’s “growing” evidence that gardening can help young and old with fitness and even mental acuity. So to borrow a line, I’m looking at growing my garden “inch by inch…” this year, even if it is just a small plot in the corner of our backyard. How about you?