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A carer’s winter garden

Are you into gardening? Do you enjoy looking at gardens and sitting in them?

TV gurus tell us winter is a wonderful time for the garden. At first glance, this may not seem right: bare branches, rotting leaves, autumn colour gone and straggly plants.
Sometimes being a carer – supporting family or friends who are frail and ageing, who have a mental health or chronic illness, a disability, or in palliative care – can leave you feeling like a winter garden: spent and colourless. Or maybe not; perhaps you’re blooming like a cheery red pelargonium! If so, keep up the good work!

But if you feel dull and bedraggled, take heart from gardening gurus:

  • Winter is best for stepping back and taking stock.
    What’s worked well and flourished? What fussy bits need replacement? What about reshaping a garden bed?
  • Carers also need opportunity to reflect.
    What’s working well in your life? What gives joy and peace of mind? If you committed 15-minutes a day to your own wellbeing, what would you do?
  • Winter is when action happens underground.
    Bulbs planted earlier begin their ascent above-ground; worms munch autumn rejects to build better soil.
    For carers, yearnings and dreams may bubble away under the surface; the inner life can be quietly preparing for a more colourful phase.
  • The occasional flash of winter colour can bring so much pleasure.
    The winter heath looks fresh with jewel blooms and a whiff of daphne can transport us.
    For carers, moments of fun and small achievements can be savoured over a pot of tea with a friend.

Who supports the carer as they tend to the winter garden of the soul?
Carers Victoria recognises the value of your caring role and offers support in several ways. Speak to a friendly, qualified worker on 1800 242 636.

©Jennifer Daddow, Education Services, Carers Victoria

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