What a title for a post, right? It fits. People ask me all the time why I garden. It is a lot of work – especially when you garden on 2 1/2 acres. There are weeds to pull, land to till, never enough mulch and it gets darn hot in the afternoon in Indiana when you are working in full sun. No matter how much I amend my soil not every plant makes it – and most grow quite slowly. I seldom fertilize unless it is organic fertilizer. I do spread compost but not as much as I would like to or as is necessary for a garden this size. I don’t water on a regular basis either. The cost is one reason and not enough time to do everything that needs done is the other. This year health issues have also come into play.
I have learned weeds are a fact of life. I cannot keep every bush, tree or plant perfectly pruned alone. Not given the sheer number of plants I have. I have learned to relax a little and realize I can only do so much. I no longer have a fellow gardener to work with – not since Jerry passed away. Yet I am not giving up. I am just stepping back. Observing. Allowing nature to run its course. Not every plant will survive. Not every plant is meant to survive. This is life. Next year will be better. Next year I will survey the garden, make a list of what stays and what goes then begin the daunting task alone.
So why I did I start to garden and why continue? Joy – life – excitement – the ability to eat better. This is why. It is reason enough. I find great joy in watching seeds germinate. I get so excited when the seeds swell. I watch – sometimes hourly – for the tiniest sign of an emerging root. I carefully watch the root as it grows long enough to plant. I love making a tiny bed in the soil and carefully tucking the fragile root in. Then I wait and watch some more until I see the stem and leaves emerging. Then – and only then – do I know I have successfully germinated another seed. That dormant seed has just given birth to what is going to be an incredible plant that produces flowers, fruit and seeds – some are edible and some are strictly ornamental. It is exciting to know I have been a part of this life cycle.
I feel sadness when a seed or plant doesn’t make it. I think most gardeners do but we learn to deal with it. Sometimes – most of the time in fact – I try again. I want to know what I did wrong – if anything – or if I just got a bad batch of seed. I choose the plants I grow carefully. I love fragrant plants as much as I love edible ones. I choose plants that are useful in some way – to eat, to make essential oil or medicine from or simply to add something special to the garden that wasn’t there before. I love learning what plants are used for – and as the farther I delve into this, the more I find. I also grow plants to feed wildlife and insects. I welcome them into my garden and know they too are a part of the circle of life necessary for the garden to thrive. This is why I garden. Isn’t this the reason we all garden?
Please share your thoughts in the comment section below. I’d love to know why you garden! Feel free to share the story of when you began gardening and what made you choose gardening as a hobby or occupation!