by Julie Carpenter
and Jarad Johnson
Julie and Jarad are predictably talking about gardening again. Just fyi, the next time you're taking a walk outside and you see a squirrel, just know they're cussing you out. You're welcome.
Jarad asked if I would like to add to his piece on enjoying a garden. I have to agree that for the most part, I find myself piddling when I go outside, deadheading roses, pulling up basil, weeding or planting. While I enjoy sitting calmly in a garden, I don’t often find myself in that position. I think that active gardening is what I love as well.
The only thing I can really add is that I also love - when no one is around to report me – talking to the plants, cats, birds, squirrels and occasionally garden statuary. This is why I really and truly need a fence. My neighbors don’t really need to know exactly what kind of crazy woman lives next door. They say that the real problem comes in when the monologue becomes a dialogue. It’s when things start to talk back that you know you’ve gone round the twist. (Let me add you might end up living with a snarky, skeletal visitor who never leaves.)
I suppose I wouldn’t say the plants talk back, but plants do tell you things in their own way. And I defy any one of you to tell me that squirrels don’t cuss. So I guess that’s it. Working in the garden helps me relax and so does having a little conversation with nature. (Except for squabbling with belligerent squirrels over the blueberries.)
Why does anyone garden? That's the question that one of my friends asked me. It's a question I've been asked more than once in fact, by people who don't enjoy being outdoors or working a garden bed. When do you have time to enjoy it? They say. In saying this, they misunderstand how a gardener enjoys their garden.
Personally, I am happiest when I am working in my garden beds, whether that be weeding, planting, troubleshooting a dramatic plant or some other project. This means my to do list is always full, which is something I enjoy and that I find fulfilling. I don't enjoy just looking at my flowers as much as I enjoy working on a new project or designing an area of my garden. Working in it is the enjoyable part for me.
Of course, it's nice to see the result of my efforts, but I'm someone who can only sit still for so long, so its onto the next project, the next season. I find myself looking at my flowerbeds, and thinking what could be improved or tweaked. Add a little color here, fill in a gap here or there.
But, even more fundamentally, I enjoy the gardening process as a whole. I have found that I need only go and pick a few tomatoes and I am much calmer. The garden is a stress reliever, in that sense. I think that's why many people enjoy it.
So when I'm asked how I enjoy a garden, I find myself wanting to say that the act of gardening is what I find most pleasurable. Most people would think that looking at the flowers and seeing the butterflies and bees is the best part, but removing grass, working the soil, planting seeds and watching them grow into mature plants is just as equally enjoyable.