Garden Lessons with Dr. Michael Blum

For Dr. Michael Blum, gardening gives back threefold: It provides healthy, nutritious fresh fruits and vegetables; it’s good exercise; and it’s a great way to relieve stress. Above all, gardening is good for the soul.

Dr. Blum and his wife, Suzanne, enjoy cooking with the fresh vegetables and fruits they grow in their half-acre garden. And Dr. Blum appreciates the workout he gets from planting, hoeing, and harvesting. But he especially relishes the parallels he finds between gardening and life. Just as seeds must be nurtured, watered, and weeded to become fruitful plants, so must children be nurtured to become responsible, well-rounded adults. And just as maintaining a garden requires a good foundation, patience, persistence, and hard work, so does raising a family.

He also finds in gardening what the Japanese call ikigai, or that which gives life a sense of purpose. “Caring for another life, whether human, animal, or plant, embodies ikigai,” he says. “By taking the attention off yourself and turning it to the well-being of others or another life form, you let go of your own worries.”

Style Idea: 
A window box adds instant character and color to a home. Choose plants that complement your home’s exterior, but don’t restrict yourself to flowers and greenery. Try adding herbs as well. When the herbs begin to grow, you can harvest them right from your window. Planting flowers and herbs right under your window will let the scents of summer in.