Why I Love Gardening
When spring and summer hits, there’s no better time to get your hands dirty. Here’s why gardening may just become your favorite hobby.
Let me be perfectly transparent: I am not a good gardener. I’ve killed dozens of houseplants, and I once managed to destroy an entire herb garden. I also can’t identify plants very well, and it took me years to learn how to protect tomato plants from slugs. But I love gardening, and I think that, even if you think you might be a worse gardener than I am (doubtful), you can gain some of the joy I have from being in a garden.
One of the reasons I love gardening is that I grew up watching my parents garden. In southern California, it’s easy to grow fruit trees, so I have memories of watching my parents lovingly tend to our lemon, tangerine, and plum, and peach trees. They worked on our garden as a team, and I think that nurturing the garden together also nurtured their marriage.
Actually, that’s not just conjecture; gardening has been proven to help with mental health, which is why it’s incorporated into many therapeutic hospitals and recovery centers. Nurturing living things helps build respect for the environment and for other people.
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Since our world is inundated by noise and business, gardening has become an especially rare and powerful escape. It’s a potent form of mindfulness, and works especially well for those who have trouble meditating because it forces the mind to be in the moment. There’s no way to garden and text at the same time; you must be present and connected to the earth.
Gardening has also trained me to see the world differently, to notice the veins on leaves and the moisture of dirt. It has helped me to see details I wouldn’t care about if I hadn’t been taught that paying attention is vital for the survival of a garden. A garden depends on you to flourish; a week away, and you might find your entire backyard has been destroyed by grasshoppers.
In lean times, my family has depended on our garden to supplement our food supply. Having a garden has been vital when there was an emergency that took the majority of a paycheck, and gardening organically means your family will benefit from fruits and vegetables that have more vitamins and nutrients. And, once your garden gets big enough, leftover produce can tide you over during the winter months. There’s nothing more refreshing than opening a can of peaches to eat in January.
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Gardening is a pastime meant for the anyone. It’s healthy, beautiful, and rewarding. I love being in my garden and experiencing the silent scientific processes taking place all around me. Get started gardening by taking care of a plant—just one—and see how good it feels to keep something healthy and alive. You might find yourself planting a few fruit trees and falling just as in love with gardening as I have.