Why do you garden?

I spent the morning working with a horticulture client, spreading mulch to shape new planting beds and transplanting and dividing her existing plants to fill them. We worked for two and a half hours; when we were done for the day (we had used all the cedar mulch we had on hand), we were pleasantly tired and felt like we had accomplished something special. She’s learning a new skill, and I’m practicing my craft.

But why gardening? I could have been teaching knitting or cooking or sitting at my computer writing or doing any one of several other things. We don’t have to garden. We buy our food, and no law states that we must plant ornamental plants around our houses (although when we see a house without any plantings, it looks strange). And many of us could hire people to garden for us–my client certainly could. But she wants to do it herself, and I enjoy working with her and coaching her.

So here are a few reasons why I garden. I hope you will think about it and share some of yours:

— gardening puts me in touch with nature and teaches me how to live with forces that are outside my control

— gardening helps me restore a sense of place by growing plants that used to be common here in northern New Jersey but are now missing

— gardening teaches me about how plants, animals, soil, air, and water come together to create an ecosystem

— gardening allows me to create something using my imagination and my own two hands

— gardening is great exercise

— gardening allows me to create delightful vignettes, like this red, white, and blue shot I snapped yesterday in my front border:

DSCN0329

Enough about me. Why do you garden? or want to garden?

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