Sunday, January 27, 2008

Why do you love to garden?

I know, I know... my next post was supposed to be the sequel to my "information management for gardeners" series. I'm working on that one, really. Today, though, I was practicing some information management, scanning articles from some old garden magazines, when I ran across a gem: "Why We Love to Garden", from a 1992 issue of Garden Ideas & Outdoor Living. The editors asked people to write in, explaining why they love to garden, and the magazine published some of the letters. Here are some quotes from the letters:

I love the seasons and am excited by the wonderful surprises that each one brings, especially in the spring when the first crocuses peek out"--Kate Gutierrez, New Jersey

My garden is my place. My peace. My nourishment." -- Janice Zimarik, California

Even in the dead of winter, my garden is a continual reminder that life renews itself. It's a magical place where I can rub fingers and toes into the warm earth, coaxing each plant to reach its potential promise--a gentle communication passing between us"--Beverly Beaty, Idaho

I love to garden because it brings me in touch with a miracle--every plant I touch, every seed I hold, every flower I caress--Kathy Thompson, Maryland

(Why we love to garden. Garden Ideas & Outdoor Living, Spring 1992, p. 54-56.)

I don't have time to compose an essay on why I love to garden, so I'll share a few random thoughts. For me, gardening is a creative activity. I'm not very artistic--I can't even draw a decent-looking stick figure, and I could never compose a beautiful flower bed like the ones in garden magazines. But I can take a pack of seeds and some dirt, and in a few months I have something beautiful. I can stick some cuttings in rooting hormone and vermiculite, and in a few weeks, I have a new plant. I can take stinky rotting produce from the bowels of my refrigerator, mix it with some pulled weeds and fall leaves, and in a few months I have compost. Nowhere else in my life can I be part of creation on that scale (unless I decide to have more children, and I'm too old for that). Gardening is dirty, messy, and exhausting, but it's also almost spiritual--I can lend my hands, literally, to God's miracle of creation. Not too bad for a hobby, huh?

Why do you love to garden? Leave me a comment and let me know. I need all the inspiration I can get on these dark, cold days.

1 comment:

Meg said...

I love to garden because it's the perfect excuse to keep playing in the dirt once you're a grown up! :)

I also get MAJOR thrills from gardening. Crazy, major, serious, insane thrills. I still remember when I planted peas for the first time -- a great thing to try if you're a beginner like I was/am, by the way. A month or two after I planted them, I went out to see how they were doing, and, holy cow! Oh my stars! They were COVERED WITH PEAS! I started yelling, "I MADE PEAS! I MADE PEAS! *I* *MADE* *PEAS!*" and doing this very silly little dance around the yard. I could hear the neighbor chuckling through the fence. He still makes fun of me for it (in the early summer, he'll periodically stick his head over the fence when we're both outside and say, "So, didja, you know, MAKE ANY PEAS yet?"). Hee.

And yet, the other great thing about gardening? When things go badly (which, for me, is far more often than not), I'm almost never disappointed so much as inspired to try again the next year, doing something different, to see if that works instead.

I feel like gardening is infinitely DOABLE, and that means I'm never tempted to just throw in the towel on something. I love that feeling. I love the solitude of gardening, the satisfaction of making pretty or tasty things in my own yard, AND, of course, getting to learn learn learn from awesome people like Janet!

Yay, gardening! Bring it on, Spring! I am so ready this year! (Except, Janet, not to apply any pressure or anything, but I am still hoping you'll put up a post that makes some recommendations on your favorite seed catalogs/online shopping sources?)