Sunday, July 20, 2008

Why do you garden?

Canada lily at our farm pond

Margaret Roach over at A Way to Garden asked this intriguing question last week.

I have to admit that there are plenty of times when I wonder why I garden, especially on this scale. (In answer, my husband will say: "What else would you do?")

The question comes up most often in these hot, humid dog days of summer, which I just find to be an endurance test; give me cool fall temperatures over sweltering heat any time.

So why do I garden? In one word, transformation. By creating a garden, you can turn the humdrum, ordinary or even ugly property into something beautiful. Not being able to afford already-gorgeous houses when we were younger meant that we got into the habit of buying properties that needed lots of TLC, in other words, fixer-uppers. (This place is our third, and possibly last, big transformation project: the first was an older house and yard in the city - where I created my starter garden - and the second, a lakeside cottage up north that we sold a number of years ago.)

The transformation part of gardening is exciting and challenging, but I have to admit that the day-to-day maintenance isn't as thrilling. However, the on-going tweaking - weeding, pruning, mulching, dividing, ripping out what isn't doing well - is crucial because once you've done the planting, gardening really consists of controlling and shaping growth, and responding to change.

Since I started taking photography seriously, another reason I garden is to have great stuff to photograph whenever I walk out the door, like the Canada lily above.

So why do you garden?

© Yvonne Cunnington, Country Gardener

3 comments:

  1. Hello Yvonne!
    I started out vegetable gardening and the trill of putting seeds in the ground and watching them transform into something delicious was amazing. Something I helped create. It was very satisfying. Then of course to flower gardening…where else was there to go!! I feel the way you do about the weeding process but when things are just right and you’ve created perfection on the ground and in a photograph it’s all worth the effort!!
    I have a number of new lilies this year and cant wait to see them in bloom!!!
    Cheers!!

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  2. Hi Yvonne,

    I think a person's reasons for gardening can change with time and circumstance. I started gardening when my husband and I bought a house. Initially, I simply wanted to improve the appearance of the yard. It turned out to be something I truly enjoyed and wasn't half bad at. Circumstances changed and I ended up gardening to earn a living - helping others with their gardens. I still loved gardening, but it was also a necessity. At that same time, I began to realize how therapeutic gardening could be. Weeding may not be everyone's favorite cup of tea, but when your mind is otherwise occupied, you need to be performing a somewhat 'mindless' task. After a change in marital status and a change of address, I still do gardening for others and enjoy the therapeutic benefits. Now, however I also garden because it gives me a feeling of accomplishment. Making a gardening plan for myself or someone else and then bringing that plan to life by digging, sculpting and planting is very personally satisfying.

    Cathy

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  3. I garden so that other of the earths creatures will be able to stay in the neighborhood.
    A lawn is a very quiet place,a garden is vibrant.

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Thanks so much for visiting this site. I have a new country garden blog and I will no longer be publishing comments at this blog. If you have a question or comment about the topic here, please use the contact form at my new blog to get in touch with me.

-Yvonne, aka Country Gardener