Celebrating National Garden Meditation Day, May 3! 

National Garden Meditation Day is May 3, and there is no better way to cultivate inner stillness than in a peaceful garden setting.

Gardening and meditating have a long history of going hand-in-hand. 

Many avid gardeners will tell you that working in the soil to care for their plants and watch them grow simply is meditation for them.

Reciprocally, many avid meditators use gardens to practice sacred mindfulness because gardens are beautiful, peaceful, and naturally conducive to meditation.  

This article will discuss all aspects of the semi-novel National Garden Meditation Day (NGMD), including:

  • It’s simple history
  • The tradition of meditation gardens
  • How you can observe NGMD from wherever you are

Get ready to breathe, relax, and smell the roses as we learn about National Garden Meditation Day, celebrated every May 3! 

The History of National Garden Meditation Day

There isn’t much to the history of NGMD, but luckily, there isn’t much we need to know. 

The pairing of nature’s beauty with peaceful reflection is pretty intuitive and requires little explanation.

While the origins of this day are not concrete, we often attribute it to C. L. Fornari, aka “The Garden Lady,” a gardening expert, author, and podcast host. 

Fornari is known for offering valuable insights and advice and for her capacity to help gardeners of all levels feel confident in their abilities. 

With over 30 years of experience in the horticulture industry, she is a well-respected figure in the garden world and has contributed many books and articles on the topic. 

A few of my favorite C. L. Fornari books include The Cocktail Hour Garden: Creating Evening Landscapes for Relaxation and Entertaining and Gardening with Confidence: 50 Ways to Add Style for Personal Creativity.

Fornari openly discusses her belief that gardening helps us to connect with ourselves.

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She feels that caring for plants, planting seeds, and simply to plants gives us a deeper understanding of our true nature and what our minds and bodies need to feel their best. 

C. L. Fornari has inspired countless people to get to know themselves by getting their hands dirty building the gardens of their dreams. 

Check out her Saturday morning radio show GardenLine, or her podcast, Plantrama, where she shares her expertise and practical advice for all your gardening needs.

The Tradition of Meditation Gardens

The love story between gardens and meditators has existed for hundreds of years. 

People have used meditation gardens for centuries in different cultures for quiet reflection and contemplation. 

The earliest examples of meditation gardens are traced to ancient Japan, where Zen Buddhist monks created rock gardens, or “karesansui,” as part of their meditation practice. 

They found them to be the perfect space for quiet reflection.

These gardens usually featured a small area filled with carefully arranged rocks and gravel, often with a few thoughtfully placed plants or shrubs. 

The monks would use these gardens to contemplate the nature of existence and the impermanence of all things.

Meditation gardens around the world

Over time, meditation gardens evolved and took different forms in various places around the world. 

For example, the courtyard garden became a popular meditation garden in the Islamic world, often featuring a central fountain or pool surrounded by trees and other plants. 

In India, meditation gardens typically contain a central statue or shrine surrounded by flowers, where people practice meditation and other forms of yoga.

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Regardless of location, meditation gardens are always designed to provide a peaceful and serene environment that encourages inner reflection and spiritual practice.

Many famous meditation gardens worldwide are also known for their beauty and spiritual significance. 

For instance, the Ryoan-ji Temple Garden in Kyoto, Japan, is one of the world’s most famous Zen rock gardens. 

It features a modest rectangular space filled with perfectly manicured gravel, within which a few small circular areas house larger stones that sit atop moss beds. 

Even if you don’t appreciate minimalism, the simplistic beauty of Ryōan-ji is deeply impactful.

Another space of profound beauty and contemplation is The Garden of Cosmic Speculation in South West Scotland. 

This garden is known for its otherworldly design, designed by landscape architect Charles Jencks. 

It boasts several unique and surreal features, including one where “A water cascade of steps recounts the story of the universe.”

Finally, The Garden of Reflection, in Lower Makefield Township, Pennsylvania, offers many peaceful spaces for quiet contemplation. 

Although the garden was created to memorialize the victims of September 11th, its design includes a meditation labyrinth and a series of contemplative pools.

There, one can sit with nature and practice inner stillness. 

If you’re looking for a spot to free your cluttered mind, check out this article on 7 Japanese Zen Gardens in the US, it has some excellent references for finding a meditation garden near you. 

How to Observe NGMD Yourself 

Finding stillness in natural surroundings doesn’t have to be complicated.

Anyone can participate in this ancient tradition of peaceful contemplation with or without a garden.  

If you are lucky enough to have your own garden in a backyard or on a balcony, simply take a comfy cushion outside and choose a spot near your greenery that speaks to you. 

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You are good to go. 

If you do not have a garden at the ready, perhaps someone you know does, and they would let you steal an hour in their beautiful space. 

Or, you can find a community garden where anyone can walk amongst the blooms. 

You can also visit a local park and find a shady spot under a lovely tree. 

Flowers, butterflies, and buzzing bees aren’t mandatory.

Any outdoor space will work fine for clearing your mind and connecting to yourself through nature.  

And If getting outside is simply not an option for you, fear not.

Your inner garden awaits 

Find a quiet spot in your home and put on some natural garden sounds, like chirping birds or a flowing fountain.

Let the sounds transport you to an outdoor oasis of peace and harmony. 

Then, visualize a garden.

Close your eyes and picture yourself walking through a beautiful garden, enjoying sights, sounds, and smells. 

See your garden in detail. 

What color are the flowers you notice first? 

What scent is the strongest?

Visualization is powerful and will undoubtedly help you achieve a realistic garden meditation.

We wish you a beautiful and blissful NGMD 2023!

Finally, no matter where you are for your National Garden Meditation Day meditation, do the following: 

  • close your eyes
  • relax your shoulders
  • observe your breath 
  • live in the present moment

Do you have a favorite garden or outdoor space for meditating? 

Tell us in the comment section!

And if you enjoyed this article, share it on social media so others can enjoy it too! 

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