Someone recently asked me why I’m a gardener. For a little while I couldn’t answer, but as I rambled on, searching my poor brain for the right words, it came to me: I’m a gardener because gardens are amazing places and they are so very, very important and so it follows then that gardening is important and therefore, I am important. ‘Important’ is far too small a word – I’m talking noble; I’m talking heroic! I always wanted to be a hero.
I’m not exaggerating. What do we do in our gardens? Relax (we need to do more of that), enjoy playing with our kids, laugh with our friends (quality time – a precious commodity), delight in the scent, colour and shapes of flowers, gasp in awe at the power of that tiny seed that is now a tomato in our salad, gaze in admiration as birds, bees, butterflies and all sorts of critters manage their daily feat of survival. Amazing stuff, yes?
We often read or hear that gardens help us connect with nature – this is true and also very important, but for me what is even more powerful is the way that in our own garden we can connect with and express our authentic and creative selves. In a world where we spend so much of our time acting in roles where we often experience huge cognitive dissonance or simply have to suppress our most important needs, at odds with the world and ourselves, gardening in our own space; just being in our own living, breathing, buzzing, and fluttering space, re-wires our brain and re-connects us with who we are and what is important.
I’ve been gardening for a living for nearly fifteen years but gardens have always been a meaningful part of my life; ever since I was a small child aged six who dragged her poor Nan around her garden asking the names of all the flowers. Those flowers are in bloom in my garden now – my inevitable favourites; a tribute to my dear old Nan who was so patient and tried so hard to answer the searching questions of an inquisitive six year old.
I’m picturing my Nan now and I’m transported back to childhood and those summer days in the garden – treasured memories. I’m sure you all will have experienced this and felt the touch, heard the words and seen the face in your mind’s eye of a lost loved one through garden memories; a special kind of re-connection. As I said, amazing stuff.
So, you see, when you do gardening – in your own garden or in someone else’s - you are actively engaging in a process of connection that is hugely powerful. Put very simply, gardens are places where we can connect (or re-connect), with what is important and meaningful to us; within us; deeply within us.
What’s more, if we garden with wildlife and the planet uppermost in our thoughts and actions, we also help reverse the damage that our 21st century lifestyles and economic systems are inflicting on the planet. We can create valuable habitats and feed bees, butterflies and ourselves. We can heal the planet.
Our gardens, then, are places of connection, healing and nourishment. To actively nurture such a place through the activity of gardening, I would say is truly noble, even heroic.
This is why I am a gardener.
Until next time…..enjoy and love your garden.
What does your garden give to you? I would love to hear your thoughts and stories. Just drop me a line by posting a comment below.
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