Why do I garden? There is no single reason that underscores why I like to grow plants, just as there is no single plant I like to grow more than the others. There are a number of reasons why i enjoy spending time in a garden.
First, I believe that people need a hobby, interest or activity, call it what you will, that takes their minds off their day to day realities.
All of us are busy and often have a number of different thoughts or things to do that are competing for our attention.
Speaking of things to do, your hobby or personal interest should not result in you developing another list of things to do. That is not helpful and may indeed take the fun out of the doing.
That does not mean that you do not make a plan, without a plan you may never get started or get started and then have no idea what to do next.
It simply means that your plan is not the law; it is not engraved in stone, and can be changed or tossed aside, in favour of another approach.
I find gardening to be the perfect activity and that is primarily why I garden. It can keep me enjoyable occupied all year round, either doing it; reading about it; ordering seeds or planning the garden and even redrawing last year’s plans.
When I sit down with a seed catalogue the day’s news and events slip from the forefront of my mind and images of what the plants will look like when they grow take over.
This leads to giving some thought to where the new plant(s) will look best and where they will most benefit in the existing garden.
Will this be the year I plant that flowering crabapple that I have been reading about or perhaps a redwood dogwood. These thoughts nudge out the concerns about the economy, the environment and all the bad news that fills the media.
An hour spent with a seed catalogue in the deep of winter refreshes my mind and awakens the hope that Spring brings when the gardening season begins anew and old friends reappear and new ones are waiting to be discovered.
I garden because I love spending time outside; feeling the wind and the sun on my face and hands.
Of course these days you need to protect yourself from any prolonged exposure to the sun’s rays but a hat works and gardening gloves serve many purposes.
I love to grow things; there is an immense satisfaction and sense of accomplishment from watching a flower come alive from a seed that you planted a few weeks prior.
Gardening offers you an opportunity to make decisions and choices. It is yoru garden. You can decide what you want to grow; how much you want to grow and what you will do with what you choose to grow.
Gardening is an activity, that by following a few basic rules, you have an array of options to choose from and you have the freedom to pick the plants that please you or meet your needs.
I often refer to the garden as a place that exist between Nature and Civilization and the gardener is responsible for maintaining the balance between the two. When you create a garden, you are opening the door to remembering the connection that exist between humans and Nature; a connection that is very real, whether we acknowledge it or not.
Gardens do not require chemicals poured over them to thrive; that is the gardener’s job to create and maintain the conditions that allow the plants to mature and reproduce.
The garden is a learning ground where you can learn about botany, biology, math, history and become acquainted first hand with the processes that make the garden grow.
You see the relationships between the various beings who work with you to make your garden grow.
Birds and butterflies, for example, bring their beauty and other services to the well-tended garden. Bees carry out the important work of pollination and you observe the connection between what the bee does and your garden’s growth.
I garden because I love to grow things and watching a plant break the surface as the seed spring into life is always a wonder and an encouraging moment. I like to have cut flowers for our house and do not want to buy them but step outside and cut them myself. That way I know that they were grown without artificial pesticides and fertilizers.
Tomatoes are a favourite food but the ones I buy at the supermarket just do not have the flavour that the ones I pluck off the vine in my own garden do.
It is only truly fresh when the farthest distance it travels is the distance from my backyard to my kitchen table.
Simply spending time sitting in a comfortable chair in the backyard after a slow stroll through my garden is one of the best ways that I know to calm my mind and relax at the end of the work day.
As I take my first step into the garden, I can feel the day’s concerns sliding off me and my eyes begin to focus on the plants, their fruits and foliage as I look to see what ahs changed and how each plant is faring.
Then when the quiet inspection is complete I sit back and watch the dance of life performed by the bees, butterflies and other small creatures who are busy at work maintaining the garden while I sit back and enjoy the view.
There are many reason to garden and each one of us may well have our own and that is another reason that gardening is a delightful way to spend our time; our gardens are our own creations; and we are free to pursue our own interest when in the garden.
Gardens, both great and small, are a refuge from the concrete and asphalt world that surrounds so many of us as we travel back and forth to work.
Anyone who wants to, can garden; it is a matter of will and design and is a wonderful opportunitty to get away from it all without ever leaving home.