I’ve always brought green things into my life. My first year of university, I bought a plant so I could share my boarding house room with another living thing. I always pulled the weeds and planted annuals in the gardens of our rental houses, but it has been here in this house that gardening has become an act of creation.
Breaking it down, I would say that I garden for three reasons: beauty, to create spaces and joy. The beauty piece is self evident. It’s why we buy tulips on those grey days when winter seems in its final convulsive fits. Beauty seems like a luxury in tough times but it is also very powerful. Beauty draws us in and brings us closer. And as fleeting as it seems, it connects us with the human condition as Robert Frost once said, “Nothing gold can stay.” Wandering my yard, I have realized that what gardens do is create spaces, like small acts of architecture. As someone walks by on the sidewalk, they are invited into the space created by the ridiculously cheerful wall of Black Eyed Susans. I’ve watched the smiles come over their faces as they reach out to check if the flowers are real.
On the other side of the same garden bed, there is a completely separate space–one that is shared with the people invited into my home. It’s a view that is private and separate from that public facade.
In the backyard, the cute low fence keeps the dogs in, but still grants a view. Here the pergola gives us a place to site our deck chairs as we enjoy the coolness of the evening. With a few bird feeders, we’ve also created a space for creatures to visit. The chickadees, juncos, finches and sparrows hover and flit, filling the space with life. Our most welcomed guest is the Rufous hummingbird, who always exits the yard with an acrobatic flourish.
When we create these spaces for beauty in our lives, we can’t help but create joy. I feel it as I sit here in the early morning scribbling my words. I know it as I putter, watering my charges and pulling weeds. I indulge myself as I daydream about the plants I will add next year. The beauty of the garden is a luxury, but there are precious few things that we can do that bring us such joy.
What about you? Why do you love to garden?