Tanya Ruckstuhl Valenti, LICSW

Self-Care and Emotional Well-Being

“Self-Care and Emotional Well-being”
By Tanya Ruckstuhl-Valenti LICSW, MSW

When we bought our house I delighted in the garden the former owner had created. Over the first year I watched crocuses spring up in February, tulips and daffodils appeared like magic in March, sprouting between rocks and brightening up the landscape. Over the summer I beheld roses where ugly thorny bushes had been, and lovely scented lavender!

The first year I just watched, but by the next summer I wanted to actually learn how to take care of my yard. The garden wasn’t looking as good as it had. In fact, it was growing wild. I invited a green-thumbed friend over to tell me about my yard.

“Uh-oh,” she said right away, pointing to something green.

“What? What is it?” I asked.

“That,” she said, “is an invasive weed and it’s taking over your flower bed.”

“Taking over? Is it allowed to do that?” I said.

“Are you weeding?” She asked

“Not really. The last time I weeded I pulled out a bunch of rare poppies and so I decided I shouldn’t risk it.”

“Your plants look droopy. Are you watering?”

“I thought the rain took care of that.” I said.

“And look” she said, plucking a brown spotted leaf, “You’re not using organic fertilizer, are you?” She asked.


I didn’t know how to take care of my garden and as a result, it was suffering. It took a few more years and many mistakes before I understood not to plant full-sun flowers underneath a tree, or that acid-loving perennials need different soil amendments than grass.

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