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19 Heartwarming Stories That Will Make You Want To Start A Garden

"To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow."

We asked members of the BuzzFeed Community how gardening and taking care of plants improved their lives, and their answers will make you want to follow in their footsteps immediately.

1. This inspiring story of recovery:

I'm a recovering addict and person living with HIV, and I work with both groups of people. Gardening helps me calm down, learn to be patient with the people I work with, and with myself. It has taught me valuable lessons, and since I live in a super dense city, it allows me to be in a space where I can contemplate and be close to nature, carving out a little piece of safe haven that's mine.

Gardening has prevented me from relapsing, and switching out old habits for a life-giving, soul-nurturing ones. Gardening has probably saved my life.


2. This unexpected bonding activity:

Sidekick / Getty Images

My mom and I have always been very different people. She’s introverted and doesn’t like to talk about her feelings. I am the exact opposite. It can lead to a lot of tension. But we both have a passion for locally sourced and nutritious food. Two years ago, I put together two garden beds. She came home from a trip around Mother’s Day and that’s the first thing she saw when she pulled in the driveway. It’s probably the best gift I’ve ever given her because it’s something we get to do together.


3. This important legacy:

After my grandma died in September at 94, I inherited most of her plants, including a cutting of a Jade plant she had just rooted. Here it is in January. I recently transplanted it and it's even bigger. Keeping alive her plants, and adding more to my collection, has made me feel like I'm keeping a part of her legacy going.


4. This life-changing gift:

Photo by Matt Montgomery on Unsplash

My sophomore year of college was really hard emotionally. All the people around me were really toxic and it brought my depression and anxiety to levels I'd never experienced before. It got to the point where I would starve myself to distract myself from my environment and found it so hard to get out of bed every day. My mom (a botanist) suspected my troubles and soon was at my door with a pot of basil (my favorite herb) and rosemary (her favorite).

The plants were the best thing she could have given me. It gave me a reason to get out of bed every morning. The plants couldn't take care of themselves; they needed me. It became a routine, waking up every morning and immediately checking to see if they needed watering or clipping. Watching them sprout and grow little by little every day brought me back to the real world. To this day, though I always have a few plants around, I always, always make sure to have a basil and a rosemary.


5. These incredible benefits:

Photo by Benjamin Combs on Unsplash

Gardening makes you patient and humble. It insists that you observe seasons and weather, putting you in sync with the natural word. It permits you to get unapologetically dirty. It’s most satisfying to grow from seed — you feel like a minor deity that creates and sustains life. Gardening makes you groovy.


6. This perfect way to remember:

For my wedding I had a succulent bouquet and planted cuttings from it afterwards. A year later, not only have my husband and I grown in our relationship but so has the plant. It’s been a great reminder that no matter how brutal the world is, life keeps growing.


7. This excuse to get outside when you need to the most:

Photo by Sergey Shmidt on Unsplash

This past summer I was unbelievably depressed to the point of having suicidal thoughts, even though I had no intention of acting on them. I felt like I was trapped in this living hell that was my mind and one of the things that helped me get through it was, you guessed it: plants. Something about needing to take care and cherish these little living things even when I wasn’t able to take care of myself really helped me get through the worst of it. Every time I would slip into a particularly dark or anxious episode, I would go outside and garden. Whether it be planting something new or replanting a plant I already had, being outside, with my plants, and my chickens “helping” me, really gave me the escape I needed.


8. This touching way to honor a loved one:

I began gardening as a way to honor my mother, who passed away two years ago. She was an avid succulent fan. It’s helped me feel reconnected to her, especially because I take care of a few of her original plant pots. I learned to love it and it’s now a passion of mine. I’ve even turned it into a small business and feel that my mom would be proud of what I’m doing.


9. This act of TLC:

Photo by Robb Leahy on Unsplash

Gardening is the greatest natural relief for my anxiety and depression. I am happiest when I am up to my elbows in dirt, rearranging one of my gardens, pulling up rocks and landscaping, or even weeding. Nothing makes me happier than the clearance plants at Lowe’s. All of my gardens are practically made up of only half-dead plants I got for a few bucks. All they needed was a little love and attention to bloom...kinda like people!


10. This inspiring sense of accomplishment:

Photo by Aleksandr Eremin on Unsplash

It gives you a sense of wonder. To grow plants is to give life. It keeps you busy with a purpose, shows you how to care, be gentle. and wait. It reminds you to be one with the earth, to give back what you take. It is an amazing feeling of accomplishment. Seeing sunflowers grow to be six to eight feet tall and notice how bees do their work is AWESOME!


11. This self-care routine:

Photo by Martin Kníže on Unsplash

I’ve had panic attacks and fairly severe anxiety since I was 16, but I find the process of repotting, planting, and pruning the plants on my patio to be extremely relaxing. I’m not sure if it’s the level of concentration it takes, the act of focusing on something, or the satisfaction of sitting on my patio in the warm sun surround by plants that I’ve cultivated, but it’s become a huge part of my self-care routine.


12. This important coping mechanism:

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

Not me personally, but my pop. He was diagnosed with a terminal lung disease about four years ago and for a while he couldn’t do anything without us having to call an ambulance. But once his treatment started to help, he needed something to keep him active and he started gardening. He is still super sick but he’s learnt how to cope and where his limits are, all because of his little vegetable patch.


13. This parenthood practice round:

Photo by Daniel Hjalmarsson on Unsplash

I took up gardening when we were trying to get pregnant. I wanted to be a mom but I was also freaked out by the concept of keeping a fragile baby alive when I killed every plant I ever had. It started with a potted weeping maple tree; as it grew I felt more confident. Then I started growing other plants, and by the time I had my son I had a whole green room.


14. This simple but incredible mantra:

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

I was in a toxic relationship for years. I've always wanted a little garden of my own but my partner at time thought it was a waste of time and money. I have since been on my own and started a garden. I don't have a green thumb, but I've got 15 plants of my own so far. Gaining your own independence and confidence back again after a tumultuous relationship with a garden may seem silly, but "to plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow." I believe that dearly.


15. This surprising new job:

Photo by Eco Warrior Princess on Unsplash

Last year I quit my job in a horrible dysfunctional office that left me drained and depressed. A friend got me a landscaping job and it really saved me. Going from sitting all day in a windowless office to sweating all day every day in the dirt and grime made me so happy. Planting and watering trees and plants, having sunshine on my face, and being connected to nature again was so important. It was one of the best jobs I’ve ever had.


16. This proof that giving to others is always a good call:

Photo by Natalie Walters on Unsplash

I’ve never taken the time to really learn to garden, but a year ago I got sick and had to quit my job and move in with my parents. The only thing I had energy to do was plant and water some tomato seeds someone gave me. I had zero expectations, but they just kept growing and I ended up with over 100 tomatoes. I was able to make tons of salsa and give to friends and neighbors. It was so good to feel like had accomplished something and had something to give to others at a time when I was at my worst. I’m still sick this year and I’m trying my hand at a few other vegetables. Gardening has brought me joy and meaning when I’m lacking it in most other areas of my life.


17. This unexpected source of creativity:

I find gardening super creative. Picking the right plant for the right spot, mixing colors, and making sure there is interest for every season really is a skill and a challenge. I love learning about new plants, especially natives. There’s just so much to learn and so much to express!


18. This restorative habit:

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

I have struggled with an eating disorder for years. In order to recover I had to change my relationship with food. Growing my own helped me feel less guilty about eating. Amongst other plants, I grew several different varieties of tomatoes. Purple ones, yellow, green, and even striped ones. I like to say that tomatoes saved my life!


19. This gentle reminder that you'll keep growing:

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

Besides the obvious benefit of a harvest, gardening is a way for me to quiet my mind, process my thoughts, solve problems in my life, and provides a way for me to nurture something and be creative. The flowers I bought after the violent end of an abusive relationship remind me that maybe someday I will grow into something beautiful again.


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