Ha! I know what you were thinking when you read Getting Ready for the Garden. You thought new gloves, cleaning up handtools, preparing the Earth, raking, bringing out the lawn mower and all the requisite steps we each are required to do for a successful season. But actually, I was talking about getting YOU ready for the garden. Really. Because having certain things in place, ready for the wear and tear of gardening, happens to be a very good idea. So I’m going to depart from my usual practice of rarely mentioning products, etc. and actually share with you some of the products I’ve come to rely on for balancing and healing from the rigors of gardening–especially at this time of year, when after the long days of winter we are eager to get our hands dirty, to spring into action and transform our winter gardens into summer loveliness. It’s part of what we live for, isn’t it? And with good reason.
I will preface this information with a reminder first and foremost to urge you to pace yourselves as you launch headlong into garden activities. I myself have been very good to myself this year, consciously holding back just a bit, and increasing my activities just a little each day. I know we all have the experience of getting in the zone and losing track of time and before we know it we’ve been out there at the garden for hours at a time, to the chagrin of our backs and necks and hands and knees. So what might we turn to in that case? I honestly could not imagine my life without arnica balm, arnica salve, arnica gel or arnica pellets (homeopathic)!
I first learned about using arnica when I was running a Spanish program for 1st through 8th graders at a Rudolf Steiner School when my daughter was still in school. The teachers reached for it when a child had a bump or bang in the playground. Arnica is excellent for bruises. (Not cuts; bruises.) It’s also an amazing assistant to healing sore backs and muscles. And if I’ve really “done it” I will reach for the homeopathic version as well. Ask for assistance in your local health food store. I’d recommend Boiron.
Another product I use regularly on big bumps and sore back muscles is Tiger Balm. I put it on half an hour after a warm bath or shower. This ensures pores are properly restored, not wide open, in applying. There are two versions. The stronger of the two will stain whatever you have on, so put on a t-shirt that’s not important to you. It’s worth it, though! I have healed so many out of sorts muscle aches with Tiger Balm! Sometimes it takes a bit of time, but I’d far rather take my time, combine with the needed rest and not resort to heavy medicines.
Now, a word about bath salts. If you only take showers I highly recommend you schedule a bath with yourself and have bath salts on hand, especially after heavy duty activities in the garden. There are many to choose from, though my preferences are Himalayan or any from Israel. I personally would not “try to save money” and buy salts from China. Sorry. Use Epsom Salts if you want to budget. Soaking in hot water with added bath salts is another luxurious way to soften the blow of hard garden work.
Now say you do your utmost to care for yourself but you find you have fallen. Or stung by a bee. Or pounded yourself with a hammer. Anything that hurts. I would reach for the Rescue Remedy. Bach Flower Remedies, which I was fortunate to take a class on, in Europe, are an ever so good thing to have on hand for balancing out any experience you find as discomforting or upsetting. It will not relieve pain, per se, but it will help you come to terms internally, with any kind of shock to your body or emotions. So easy to use–simply put a couple of drops under your tongue. Done. They are not hard to come by and we have used them for decades. Oh, and they make one for dogs now, and I highly recommend you keep it out of your medicine cabinet as the bottles are very similar and I must confess I have twice taken the one that bears a small paw, which I must have missed midst my upset. (No harm done. I didn’t woof or anything.)
Now what about your hands? I hope you are learning to wear gloves, as cumbersome as they might feel, but in spite of glove protection your hands are still going to suffer, right? They dry out, get cut and poked and dirty and all manner of abuses abound. (Don’t we just love it anyway? We do!) The absolute best thing I’ve found to heal my hands the fastest is Burt’s Bees Almond Milk Beeswax Hand Cream. Instant fix!
Now a word on allergies. I have found a homeopathic remedy that relieves me of my allergy symptoms. Really. Skeptic that I was it worked. I recommend you see if you are one of the ones this will also help. Ask your local health food store for guidance. Let me know, will you?
Now go out into your gardens, dear readers, and enjoy yourselves!
Love and spring blessings,