Many people state openly that they garden for relaxation, stress reduction, and improved health. Some even call it therapy. But I submit to you that many are passionate gardeners without even knowing it. We will explore the traits of a passionate gardener while also listing the habits that bond all gardeners together into a brotherhood of strange and wonderful people.
East coast, mid-west, or west coast, it doesn’t really matter where you are from or what socio economic background you are from. You can be highly educated or unable to speak a single word, but you can appreciate the beauty of plants, plants such as fields of beautiful flowers, vegetables to nourish your body and soul, or stately trees that provide shelter for you and the neighborhood song bird. Regardless of your like or dislikes, you will always agree that you marvel at a miniscule seed which sprouts forth life, or the cutting that matures into a full grown plant. You feel a kinship with the plant, a witness to a small miracle of life.
Gardens are like laboratories, ever year is an experiment in earth, wind, air, and water. The selection of plant and seed is a dance or balance of science and chance, known only to God above, but not to us mere mortals. You pour over zone charts, the farmer’s almanac for the coming year, the lunar calendar for planting, and the latest catalogs with new and exciting offerings. You speak to your brothers in arms, the Master Gardeners and farmers, as if they have knowledge that no one else has access to. They share ideas freely while sipping coffee and eating a pastry from the local bakery, speaking of things to come and days gone by. You listen intently, adjusting their speech to fit your situation. Too cold, too dry, that must be it. You will be better prepared this coming year, convincing yourself that it is that simple, when really sending a rocket to the moon could almost be easier. You see, we control very little if anything except for the love of the plant, the wonderful feeling of being outdoors and being one with nature.
You fight weeds, the misplaced guardians of the soil which watch over the very life of our plant. The soil is a collection of minerals and nutrients that sustain us, our families, and our hope for the coming generations. Read the weeds; understand what they tell you about your soil. They know more than we give them credit for.
Because of our love, or passion, we learn a foreign language that many agree should be dead. The botanical names beginning with genus and ending in specific epithet are revered, but common names are still shared around small groups. You mulch and water, watching over the plants as a proud parent would. Carefully you examine for signs of stress or insects, ready to spring into action with a myriad of cures. No matter how much time you have spent in planning and execution, you always have new plans for next year. Have you ever been accused of smuggling plants into the yard without your spouse’s knowledge, if so you would be a passionate gardener? And lastly you could be a passionate gardener if you suffer from C.H.A.D. disease, compulsive horticulture acquisition disorder.
You see I make light of the gardeners and gardening in general, but I also claim to be a passionate gardener. You might suffer from one or many of the items I have listed here, but the truth is we just love what gardening does for us and the one around us. Share you passion with another close to you; pass on the legacy to future generations.
With personal and professional regards – Vince