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Last week one of the callers to GardenLine mentioned that she walked through her garden every Saturday morning so that she’d know what to call in about that morning. Since callers make the radio show really live, I’m thrilled that she was looking for reasons to call, but I was also taken with the wisdom of a ritual walk though the garden.

It’s a good idea to make a habit of walking outdoors, and a weekly walk through the garden is part of good gardening practices. IGM (Integrated Garden Management…a term I like better than IPM which puts the emphasis on pests not the overall landscape) depends on regular monitoring so that any problems can be caught early on. It is far easier to handpick a few insects, for example, than it is a few hundred, and pulling out a couple of weeds is easier than removing all the offspring that will take root once those two go to seed.

The success of a weekly walk through the garden ultimately depends on paying attention. If your mind is elsewhere, you might as well be strolling through your living room because you won’t be seeing the landscape at all. If I’m thinking about my next deadline or the conversation I just had with my mother, I am likely to overlook those weeds, and if my mind is chattering about something else, I will miss the miracles that are growing right in front of me.

In and out of the garden, keeping our eyes open and really being present is a challenge for most of us. Perhaps the biggest benefit from a weekly walk in the garden doesn’t have anything to do with IGM at all, but has more to do with the practice of paying attention and really being right here right now.

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