Depending upon how you look at it, the answer to the question, “Why garden?” is both elusive and complex. Ask any gardener why they garden and you’ll get a variety of reasons.
I’ll start with myself. I garden mostly because I like the creativity it offers and the huge feeling of success when I actually eat something from it. I also garden because the garden is pretty and because it gets me outdoors. I need that connection with nature. In addition, I garden because it ties in with my husband’s cooking talent. Plus, gardening gives us a fun new joint project: composting.
Why do you garden?
Here’s a list of possible reasons from the National Garden Bureau. I bet you’ll see that your interest in gardening is rooted (pun intended) in several core reasons. For the complete article by Janis Kief, click here.
1. Garden for safe, healthy food. Reports of food-borne contamination appear regularly in the press. With your own garden, you know what you’ve treated. Or maybe you skipped pesticides entirely. Beyond that, you know veges are healthy. As the vegetables ripen, (and they all seem to be ready to harvest about the same time), the more immediate question becomes: how do you cook all of them? We recommend the website AllRecipes.com. Just type in the vegetable that you want to use (example: basil) and a bunch of recipes will pop up. Very handy.
2. Garden for exercise. Give me a garden over a gym routine any day of the week. Get a good workout even thinking about it. An hour of gardening involves stretching, bending, and weightlifting. On top of this, you’ll see the immediate results (no weeds!) in your garden.
3. Garden to add beauty and to be creative. Yes! This doesn’t have to be elaborate: it can be as simple as adding a container of colorful flowers near the front door. Think of your garden area as another room to be enjoyed. A garden’s design also reflects a personal creativity and sense of style. And there are so many styles to choose from ranging from the romantic cottage garden, the peace of a Japanese garden, or the rather random approach (like mine) where I plan with color, height, prime blooming time, and plant “companions” in mind.
4. Garden for emotional needs and spiritual connection. To me, gardens serve as a tranquil retreat from everyday life. The beauty of flowers lifts my spirit. Not to mention that pulling weeds can be a great release from stress! The sight of colorful flowers or a passing Monarch butterfly delights me. On a higher level, gardening provides a spiritual connection to life. It’s a miracle to take a tiny seed, plant and nurture it, and watch it grow into a beautiful flower or delicious food.
5. Garden to learn and to meet people. Gardeners love to talk about their gardens. They also like to share their knowledge and learn even more. There’s a variety of ways to increase your gardening know-how such as seminars or Master Gardener programs. Or (if you’re like me), just look online for YouTube gardening instruction. We found several great YouTube videos about composting that we used to get us started. Click here for one of my favorites. Gardening is also a great excuse to talk with your neighbors. Surplus tomatoes? Bet you can find a neighbor who would love them. Bug problem? A neighbor might have a good solution. You can also meet neighbors through community gardens.
6. Garden for lasting memories. Gardening is a fun activity that can be shared with children and grandchildren. Gardens also provide a beautiful way to remember a special person. My memories of my grandmother are inextricably connected to her beautiful rose garden in her back yard.
Discover your own reasons for being a gardener and share them with someone in your family. Enjoy the satisfying fun that gardening provides. Capture and preserve some of your family’s gardening stories…like our fearless Uncle Sam who battled the squirrels with his antique BB gun.
Jane Baker is the Co-Owner of Saving Memories Forever. She likes to write, garden, explore, read, meet with friends, and pat her cats. Not known for big spending, she and her husband, Harvey, like to take advantage of the free activities around St. Louis.