Why do I Garden?

I’ve been asked that question many times in the 40 plus years that I’ve been gardening. Non gardeners don’t seem to understand what it is that attracts us to play in the soil and grow “things”. 
Why do I garden? I garden because there’s nothing better than being in the garden as the morning sun creeps over the horizon, the dew is on the leaves, and a lone cardinal calls out to its mate. 

A red-tailed hawk lands on a fence inches away from me, surveying the garden for its next meal. 

It’s about as close to nature as you can get. The only sound heard are the sounds of nature. 

Why do I garden? There’s nothing better than spotting the first ripe tomato of the season, picking it off the vine, wiping it on your sleeve and biting into it? it’s almost heaven. 

Why do I garden? What can beat picking a beautiful rose from your garden, putting it in a vase and delivering it to an elderly friend or neighbor? The smile on their face is priceless. 

Why do I garden? Watching the amazement on the faces of a room full of second graders as the seeds they planted begin to germinate. Seeing the wonder in their eyes as they peer into a worm bin where they’ve deposited their apple cores and orange peels and seeing the dark brown compost that the red worms have created. 

Why do I garden? I garden because there’s nothing more rewarding than shaking the hand of a disadvantaged inner-city resident who is thanking me for helping them create a community garden on a vacant lot in their neighborhood. A garden which will supply them with fresh produce which otherwise they wouldn’t be able to afford. 

Why do I garden? I garden because of the pride I feel as a couple out for an evening stroll stops to admire my rose garden and telling me how beautiful it is. 

Why do I garden? I garden because of the satisfaction that I feel when a cutting I’ve started begins to develop roots–especially after the 20 previous cuttings didn’t root. 

Why do I garden? Borrowing from Will Rogers, “I never met a gardener I didn’t like” garden clubs, plant exchanges, master gardener groups. Whether they are doctors, lawyers, judges or factory workers, where gardeners gather there is giving and friendship. Gardeners are always willing to share their plants with you or to offer advice for a problem that you are having. Gardeners are a great bunch of people. 

Why do I garden? With all the drugs out there today being touted a stress relievers, the garden is the safest most effective stress reliever there is. After a stressful day at work dive into the garden for an hour or two. Pull some weeds, deadhead some flowers. Within a short time your problems of the day will be forgotten. 

These are some of the reasons that I like to create and nuture gardens. 

How about you, why do YOU garden?

By Paul Rodman