Cambrian: Opinion

Social aspect of gardening produces many benefits

The Cambria Garden Club’s annual spring trip: Exiting the San Francisco Flower Show are, from left, Lana Cochrun, Jeanette Wolff, JanAnn Windburn, Holly McCain and Kathi Rippe.
The Cambria Garden Club’s annual spring trip: Exiting the San Francisco Flower Show are, from left, Lana Cochrun, Jeanette Wolff, JanAnn Windburn, Holly McCain and Kathi Rippe.

With the lovely winter rains, gardens in Cambria have burst into color, and gardeners are ecstatic. We’re planting seeds, trimmimg back Mediterranean plants that bloomed in the winter, and putting in plants to replace those that were lost during the drought. It’s such a pleasure to see folks wandering through nurseries and filling their wagons with the latest horticultural shipment.

According to Psychology Today, tending a garden is good for our mental health. Caring and nurturing plants provides a sense of responsibility and an appreciation for nature and other living things. It helps us to relax and “let go.” When we bend and stretch and dig and lift, our bodies release serotonin and dopamine, hormones that make us feel good. Cortisol, a hormone associated with stress, is lowered.

Spending time with friends a leading contributor to a healthy life. Time spent outdoors with friends is particularly satisfying. Social groups organized around gardening allow for sharing and camaraderie.

The Cambria Garden Club sponsors an annual trip for Cambria gardeners, both members and nonmembers. This year, the overnight tour took 47 women to The San Francisco Flower Show, the fabulous Filoli Gardens in San Mateo, and to nurseries in the Northern California coastal region. They visited a coastal winery for a bit of tasting and toured the coastal town of Half Moon Bay, with an overnight there.

Sharing experiences around gardening is always a joyful experience. There are many types of gardeners here in Cambria, so it’s easy to find those that share particular interests.

Some gardeners love the “science” of gardening. They graft, they test the soil, they research, looking for the perfect conditions for each and every plant. There are those who have an artistic esthetic. They arrange plantings in artistic patterns and gather cuttings for indoor displays. There are those who photograph or paint landscapes and horticultural wonders. Some simply appreciate private and public gardens, and have visited them around the world.

Socializing with others brings spiritual depth and color to our lives. Staying active keeps us healthy. Gardens and friends just seem to go together.

Lee Oliphant’s column is special to The Cambrian.

Tip of the Month

Petals and Palletes, a unique exhibit of flower arrangements and fine paintings, returns to the Cambria Center for the Arts in May.

The Cambria Center for the Arts and The Cambria Garden Club will once again present a show that will delight the public and appeal to lovers of both art and nature. The “Petals and Palettes” event has a history of well over 50 years. Formerly held in the vets hall for a weekend each year, the event was extended when Cambria Allied Arts moved to the Old Grammar School and is now open to the public for the entire month of May.

With the abundance of local blooms this spring, the event called “Art in Bloom” is expected to be spectacular. There will be an additional exhibit in the entrance area of the Art Center.

When: Opening reception 5:30 to 7 p.m., Friday, May 5, with live music, refreshments, and wine for purchase. Exhibit runs through Monday, May 28 (Memorial Day) during regular hours: 1 to 4 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays; 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays.

Where: The Cambria Center for the Arts, 1350 Main St., Cambria

Admission: Free