a woman in a sun hat is gardening in a lush green yard with her oxygen tank

Gardening for Life

One of the things that keeps me going, even with COPD, is my garden. As I am writing this article, I am gazing out onto my backyard paradise. It is a wonder that is full of nature.

A sanctuary for all

In fact, my desk looks straight out onto my back yard. In our younger years, my husband and I lovingly invested many hours into our paradise. We lugged more dirt than you could possibly imagine and moved trees and shrubs to better locations for better growth. We planted seeds and seedlings along with bushes and trees. It became a sanctuary for butterflies and birds as well as for our own solitude - it was a show stopper!

Then, when I got sick some four years ago, we stopped putting time into the yard and starting investing time in me. The only thing that mattered was my health and my getting back to some semblance of normal. Much of my time was now being spent outside of my yard and in Rehab centers. The first two years were the toughest but after that, my health gradually improved.

Restoring the plant life

Fast forward four years and the yard was a mess at the end of last year. I vowed that somehow it would be put into shape this year. I started planting seeds in early March which turned out to be a lifesaver as it gave me a reason to get out of bed every morning. I marveled at every sprout and bloom. I have plant lights that helped my babies along. It did not take long to have sunflowers, tomatoes, pepper, celery, and onions growing.

Since all my seedlings were born of kitchen scrapes it was more fun growing food from what would have been garbage. I know that none of it would be alive if it was not for my hands. Every time I look around the kitchen now, I am looking for anything that has a seed or is likely to grow. On the window sill it goes until it starts rooting. Moving them onto my south-facing porch is a triumphant moment.

A great pastime

I purchased a small greenhouse to keep my seedling safe from frost and cold weather and protect them until they are strong enough to weather the elements. It was a lifesaver during the cooler days in late May and we lovingly moved the plants in and out of the greenhouse every day.

Another item I purchased was a waist-high garden planter. This lets me maintain my plants without having to bend over, as bending down is not favorable for me, with COPD. The plants that did not fit in the planter landed in pots.

I am lucky to have a south-facing yard that is sweltering hot all summer making planting food a great pastime. Using good soil eliminates the need to keep fertilizing all summer long. It is a great way to keep up with summer heat and boredom. It forces me to exercise while watering and caring for my plants and gets me out outdoors as well.

Editor’s Note: We are extremely saddened to say that on January 7th, 2024, Barbara Moore passed away. Barbara’s advocacy efforts and writing continue to reach many. She will be deeply missed.

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