why do you garden?

A GREAT QUESTION WAS RAISED over the weekend on the Urgent Garden Question Forums: Why do you garden? Not being able to control myself, I replied with a flip one-liner. But new member Elizabeth took the question posed by Kenn seriously, and shared a more truthful reason. Why do you garden?

  1. margaret says:

    Welcome NH Nursery and Kclily, and thanks for your thoughts. I couldn’t be more enthusiastic when I say, “me, too” on all counts.

  2. susan says:

    To sooth my soul, I remember my grandparents and parents love of the soil and I have it in my blood. This year I am planting a garden from scratch. So exciting.

  3. nichole says:

    It keeps me sane, There is something very peaceful about digging, planting and weeding until my body aches! It always pays off in the end even if things don’t go as planned!

  4. margaret says:

    Welcome, Susan, and I wish you a wonderful season of gardening from scratch. Nothing quite like it…and the first experiences are unforgettable. Keep us posted!
    Nichole, I am glad to say hello to you, too, and to see you here on A Way to Garden. You hit on something very important: the part about “even if things don’t go as planned.” Maybe that’s the best part–the way the garden, and nature, seem to be forces bigger than us.

  5. ChrisND says:

    I grew up with gardening (parents, grandparents, country living, farms) so gardening makes me comforted. I also like nature and exploration both of which are very much a part of my garden practice. No matter the size of the garden or plant I am happy with my own place to relax and contemplate.

    (Oh and thanks for the visit!)

  6. margaret says:

    Welcome, Chris. Love the words “comforted” and “exploration”–just exactly right. And yes, it is a practice, isn’t it?
    Thanks so much.

  7. margaret says:

    Welcome, Janet. That Dorothy, what a smart girlie she was. And you are right, sometimes (like peak spring) I really hate the endlessness of it, but the after-effects…yum.
    The Geranium is G. phaeum ‘Samobor.’ I think Lazy S’s has it by mail, or more and more local nurseries do, too, these days. It is everywhere in the garden I see after so many years…seeding around, having fun. If you were here this moment we could just pop one out on this rainy day, great for transplanting.

  8. Janet says:

    Dorothy Parker said “I hate writing but I love having written.” I feel that way about gardening. Getting out there and doing it is difficult but once it’s “done” (never done, of course) I like looking at results. I am only two generations removed from midwestern farm stock, so something stirs in me in April and out I go to smell the damp earth and plan the season. 20+ years ago I bit off more than I can chew, or till, but still I keep at it, here in “Sissinghurst West.”

    Margaret, I saw a wonderful geranium (perennial) in your garden, something about a mourning woman, or widow? dark edged foliage, dark burgundy flower? Can you give me the proper name? Thanks.

  9. Karen T says:

    I am only two generations removed from midwestern farm stock

    This is me, too, and I do think there’s something to that.

    I garden because I can’t seem to help myself. It’s the most addictive experience I’ve ever had. Is it endorphins or seratonin? I don’t know which, but when I stand in my garden and look around, I can feel every fiber of myself relaxing, and a feeling calm settling in. I do realize how ridiculous that sounds, but it’s a true fact!

    My husband and I are just on our second garden. The first was a rental house in Napa, which made a great place to practice. I’d been gardening in my mind for at least 15 years — watching the old Martha show religiously, reading magazines, amassing pages and pages of great gardens (including yours, Margaret, which is fabulous). And yet when I started, I still had no idea how to actually DO it. People thought it was weird that we made a garden at a house that wasn’t ours, but now that we’re making one at a house that IS ours, we’re doing it knowing what we’re doing.

    You may notice I’ve gone from “I” to “we” — that’s because my husband is now every bit as addicted as I am. We take little tours together, seeing what’s developed, and we look at each other and say “plants are the coolest things.” We’ve worked ourselves silly getting this garden started and it’s been one of the best things we’ve ever done together.

    I can’t imagine life without a garden. And I’m very happy to have stumbled across this site. Sure to be another new addiction.

  10. margaret says:

    Hello to Karen T. Welcome. Yours is a beautiful story…first to I, then to We, infused with the spirit and practice of gardening. Teh practice connecting you two, each of you to it, all three of you (I think of the garden and gardener as one organism, so hey, I’m a believer!).

  11. Amanda says:

    Okay, I’m in. I say keep it. After all, you made it grow from just a baby cutting. Move it if it doesn’t work with what you are trying to accomplish in your new project, but keep it. If you lived closer to me, I’d want cuttings myself…

  12. Simon says:

    I love gardening, growing vegetables from seed to table. To see the the garden change colour as the year goes. The best hobby.

  13. joyce says:

    When I was a kid we lived in the city and had a strip of dirt in the back against a tall fence. There my dad taught me to plant beans and radishes, and my life was changed forever.

    Gardening is so like painting and sculpture, with design, color, and spacial considerations, that it is my favorite art form.

  14. Linley says:

    I garden because it tells me so much about the biology of the area I live in. I’ve gardened each place I have lived: Maryland, Colorado, Florida, Kenya, and Guam.

    Each garden has had unique challenges. In Guam it was so hot and humid that I could make soil so quickly by composting… and you had to because there was only limestone rock to begin with.

    In Kenya, much to my dismay I couldn’t garden barefoot because the acacia thorns would pierce right through my feet! Now that I’m back in MD I can garden barefoot again because I left the fire ants behind in Florida.

    There’s no quicker way to learn about an area by gardening… recognizing the weeds that pop up, the insects that visit, the diseases, the plants that thrive and those that struggle. You never really know an area until you’ve gardened there.

  15. margaret says:

    Welcome, Linley (what a familiar name, tee hee). Sounds like you have gardened in some amazing spots, against all odds. So nice to see you here!

  16. starr cunningham says:

    mine is a flower garden. im thrilled by the beauty and how the garden surprises me. i ry to atrract wildlife so to quote you “i like plants that earn their keep”. im all about the wildlife, they make me laugh. watching a stem of veronica disappear down the throat of a rabbitt or the sparrows rolling in the garden dirt in the spring or the chipmonk sitting on top of the sunflower with both cheeks ready to pop and both fists full of seeds. its fantastic and so are you. so glad the post did that article.

  17. margaret says:

    Welcome, Starr. Yes, mostly wildlife makes me laugh, too…except those times that they make me shout and stomp my feet and fists and act crazy (like when a mama skunk decided that under my back porch was a good place to raise a family, or woodchucks tunneled under an ancient lilac and uprooted it…you get the idea). I am so glad we have met, thanks to the Post, and hope to see you again very soon.

  18. Gloria Manitta says:

    I started gardening about 30 years ago when we bought a house with a very large back yard. I wanted my children,6, to learn where food came from,learn what fun it is to go out into your yard and pick your food and how delicious it is to have REALLY fresh food. At some point I decided not to ask for their help and accept help from those who wanted to be in the garden with me. After all, it was my project, not theirs. Now, at age 71, I have a very small plot but I still love to be out there, getting my hands( and feet) into the soil and picking herbs and tomatoes as needed. I still love it! Gloria

  19. Elaine says:

    I saw you on Martha this morning and was so glad to see a blog for gardening. I think I will enjoy this.

    I like to garden to relieve stress. There is just something about getting outside and weeding, planting or just mowing the lawn. My son does not understand why I would rather mow than clean house. Gardening is not a chore, it is just good therapy.

  20. margaret says:

    Welcome, Elaine, who gets that it’s therapy and not mere chores out there. You are in good company and we all hope to see you again.

    Welcome also to Gloria Manitta, with 30 years of gardening under her belt. Me, too! I am so glad to hear how much you continue to love our craft/passion/hobby/whatever. Thanks for sharing.

  21. Beverly Poag says:

    Hello Margaret, Caught you on Martha this afternoon and looked up your blog….really, really great.. feel like I’ve known you all my life….soul to soul…gardeners are like that you know! We just moved to the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains in North GA from North Fl….gardening is a whole new experience here…clay vs sand..but I’m learning..my husband and grandson built me a 16X20 (4′ porch to boot!) Potting Shed with loft (I’ll send you a pic, if that’s ok)…so now he says I’ve got to get real serious about this gardening thing..thought I was already…now that I’ve retired, maybe I can continue to do what I really love best…get dirty!! Take care!

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