Though it's only been in recent years that I've considered myself to be a true gardener, it's hard for me to imagine my life without gardening now. I fell for it in the spring of 2005 and unlike some other hobbies and activities I've engaged in, I'm still as enthused as ever.
Spring signals both new beginnings and an end to the ephemerals that break free of winter's grasp. This year was atypical, with warmer temperatures than normal, sooner than normal. Early springs are always welcome, even if we accept them with a bit of trepidation. Late frosts are known to cut the show short, but we roll with it because there's always something else that steps up to take center stage and the show goes on.
I've already had a couple of visitors even though my gardens aren't in prime condition and certainly not like I prefer them to be when sharing them with others. There are still leaves to be removed, dead stems and branches to be pruned, and many weeds to be pulled. But it's spring, you know, and those things are to be expected and are often overlooked in favor of the bright yellows, reds, purples, pinks, oranges, and whites of all those glorious spring flowers.
|Crocus tommasinianus blooming in our yard.|
My guests sighed as they finished up the tour and said, "This has to be so much work." I've heard this before and if I were seeing my gardens for the first time and didn't know what it takes to keep them going, I'd probably say the same thing. Sure, in spring, there are always things that need to be done, but my garden as a whole has evolved over the last seven years and maintaining them isn't nearly as labor-intensive as it appears.
|'Mars', a table grape, is one of three varieties we grow at Our Little Acre.|
As my gardening experience increased, so did my gardens. And that's why it doesn't seem like a lot of work now. I truly enjoy spending time in my gardens, whether it's weeding, pruning, planting, or simply strolling through them, taking note of what's blooming and observing the wildlife that enjoys them as much as I do. Each bit of it is relaxing to me, even though there are days when I fall into bed, exhausted. It's a good tired - trust me.
|A hummingbird moth sips nectar from Monarda.|
Usually, any activity that we do for fun has to be pretty rewarding in order for us to continue doing it. How is gardening rewarding for me? Let me count the ways:
|The cotyledons of a tomato seedling struggle|
to break free of the seedcoat.
- The miracle of seeing a seed turn into a plant that feeds me or graces the world with its beauty is reason enough, all by itself.
- It's a creative outlet, even for an artistically-challenged person like me. I can create, change, create again, change some more, and so on and so forth, and still feel a great sense of accomplishment every single time.
- I believe that God created me and all the other living things I share this world with. Gardening makes me feel like I'm a part of the greater universal whole.
- I find all the unique characteristics and habits of each plant I grow to be incredibly fascinating. I learn new facts and trivia all the time. This keeps me from getting bored.
Magnolia x loebneri 'Leonard Messel'
- There are always new challenges. I like being challenged.
- Gardening smells good. I'm a super-sniffer and the garden satisfies my olfactory sense in more ways than I can count. I even like the smell of dirt. Besides, the soil contains micro-organisms that, when inhaled while working in your garden, boost your mood. It's true.
This month (until April 30, 2012), they are offering a free gift of a seed mat containing both annual and perennial butterfly-attracting flower seeds with every $50 order. See their current email newsletter here.