Tuesday, November 24, 2009

ABC Wednesday: "Why I Garden"

Ideas for today's S post have been floating around in my mind for several weeks. Then I read about the contest at Idaho Gardener for essays on "Why I Garden." The two ideas seemed to mesh, so if you will bear with me, I have combined these two ideas in today's post. Many of the photos have been used here before, but they are some of my favorite scenes from my garden.

My kids think I am a little obsessed. One son finds it "morbid" that I plant flowers on the grave of my late dog Roco and his buddy, Max the cat. My daughter accused me once of "spending her inheritance" as she saw me unloading yet another trunkload of flats of annuals one spring. A non-gardening blogging friend once commented here that he admired my flowers, but they did seem like "a lot of work," implying--in a very tactful way, of course--why do you waste so much time on gardening? Yes, it's hard to explain to non-gardeners just what it is that motivates us to spend so many hours in the hot sun pulling out weeds while fighting off mosquitoes and getting our fingernails permanently caked with dirt. Until a few years ago, I would have been one of these people questioning the sanity of someone braving the cold winds of November just to get a few last tulip bulbs planted. But over the last few years, as I have spent more time in the garden, gardening has become so much more to me than just a way to dress up the outer appearance of my home with a few pretty flowers.

The garden for me is a place to find Serenity. Spending time admiring the beauties of nature creates a feeling of peace and tranquillity that I rarely find anywhere else.

The garden is also a place where I can enjoy Solitude. I am alone with my thoughts, free from the noises of the city or the blare of the television inside. I listen only to the music of the songbirds as they perch above me.

Of course, I am not always alone. But my companions are the kind who make no demands on me but simply enjoy my company.

For many people, the garden is a place to find Solace. My best friend remembers her daughter as she walks through the garden, her spirits uplifted by the appearance of dragonflies and the fluttering of angel wings.

I have been very blessed that my family has not experienced such tragedy, but I understand the healing power of the garden. A small plot with cheery blooms helps me ensure that a faithful companion will not be forgotten.

The garden is also a reminder of Thoreau's exhortations for Simplicity. There is joy to be found in the simplest of creatures.

I can pause in my work to delight in a butterfly flitting from blossom to blossom or the antics of a bee frolicking in pollen.

Even weeding has its benefits. Working in the garden is one of the best Stress-relievers I know. There is nothing quite like hoeing or pulling out nasty weeds to get rid of one's anger or frustrations.

On the other hand, growing vegetables is not as enjoyable to me as growing flowers--it's more like real work. But it gives me a great deal of Satisfaction to harvest what I have sown, not to mention being able to have the freshest vegetables available to serve my family. Crunchy green beans and red, ripe tomatoes from the garden far excel anything you can purchase in the store.

There is satisfaction, too, in seeing flowers blossom from the seeds I have sown. Sometimes the resulting combinations are pure Serendipity.

Spending time in the garden makes one even more aware of the changing of the Seasons. As much as I complain sometimes about the weather, I thoroughly enjoy living in an area where there are four distinct seasons. From the emergence of blossoms and leaves in the Spring . . .

. . . to the Snow-laden branches of winter, I marvel at the beauty of Mother Nature.

Over the last two years, in particular, I have matured as a gardener. No longer dazzled by just the blooms of flowers, I have come to appreciate much more the changing Shape and Structure of the garden. I can see the beauty in yellowing foliage or dried seedheads, or the change over time from this blossom . . .

. . . to this Swirling Shape.

While my children do not share my passion, at least two of my grandchildren are eager to spend time with me in the garden. Whether we are watering newly planted seedlings or counting caterpillars in the fennel, the garden gives me a chance to Share some memorable time with my grandchildren.

Keeping up with the garden is work, to be sure, but it doesn't feel like work. And not all my time is spent looking downward to the soil; I have ample time to look Skyward and enjoy the brilliant blue skies of a Sunny day.

Not everyone shares the same interests, and not everyone enjoys gardening. I do understand. But for me, gardening has become so much more than planting flowers and waiting for them to bloom. Very simply, the garden has become my Sanctuary.

"Come forth into the light of things, let nature be your teacher."

--William Wordsworth

I hope you will check out Mary Ann's gardening contest, and do visit other entries in this week's ABC posts on the letter S.

I am posting a day early this week, because by this time tomorrow I will be like many of you, up to my elbows in pie dough and turkey innards--hopefully not at the same time:) I hope that all of you enjoy this holiday weekend with family, friends, and good food.

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!


  1. Rose girl ..I could not have worded an explanation of why we are such passionate gardeners.
    You have expressed that driving, comforting and life affirming force within us with your words, pictures and quotes .. they were beautiful : )
    Well done and you pasted a big smile on my face this morning !
    Joy ... see ? : )

  2. Rose, You've written a wonderful essay and expressed beautifully why we all garden. You've shown several of my favorite of your favorite photos~~the snow covered trees, coneflowers and your sweet grandson. I am so glad you found gardening and even gladder that you found blogging.

  3. Rose, you were so eloquent with this question of Why I garden. The only thing you seemed to have forgotten to mention is that there is a wonderful community of gardeners that blog and it is a blessing to be able to meet them even if only through their blogs. I have felt it a privilege to get to know you through gardening.

  4. This is a winner for sure. Such a beautiful post and so well illustrated and introduced.

  5. Oh Rose I enjoyed your summary of why you garden so much :) Hope that you enjoy your Thanksgiving celebrations. I think that we miss out on this side of the pond !

  6. Hi Rose, what a beautiful post (of course all the photos are lovely but my fav is Tarzan). I agree with all your S reasons... to me, I garden because I am. There are lots of hobbies that seem like a lot of work (cooking, woodworking) or pointless (golf), depending on one's perspective. Even the notion of what's work varies... to me cooking is work, but gardening is not! Happy T'giving!

  7. I wholeheartedly agree with your post! These are the intangibles that non-gardeners don't understand, which is unfortunate for them. Like you, I also love the change of seasons, despite any whining I may do throughout the cold months. I feel very disconnected in places that don't experience the full variety of Mother Nature's moods!

  8. Prairie Rose, this is one of your best posts ever. And you even mentioned that humble tool, the hoe.

    Posts like this are why I read garden blogs, to find kindred spirits who understand gardening and gardeners

  9. Hey Rose, this is a wonderful and lovely post. I enjoyed all the photos regardless of when they were taken.

    I think one reason I garden is to see how creative I can be. It's always fun trying to come up with something new.

    I hope you and your family have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

  10. The next time my non gardening husband is urging me to cut back on my garden "chores" I will show him this post. Beautifully expressed!

  11. Your garden essay could not be any better. Beautiful photos too.

  12. Brava! I think this is the best post you've written, so heartfelt and beautiful. Your photos are lovely too. I'm so happy for you that you can share gardening with your grandchildren, leaving them with the best kind of legacy and warm, loving memories.

  13. Oh Prairie Rose, that is so beautiful! The photos are lovely, I am touched that you took the time to put such a heartfelt response together. I am gathering up the prizes to be awarded: Cash, art and garden stuff! Stay tuned.


  14. Joy, If today's letter had been a J, I could have added Joy to my feelings about gardening! Thank you.

    Gail, Thank you! I have to give credit to all my garden blogging friends for encouraging me and helping me to grow as a gardener.

    Lisa, You're right; I should have found a way to incorporate blogging into this post. You know, of course, that it was your blog that started me on this whole journey--thank you!

    Tina, Thanks! I've learned so much from you over this past year and a half.

    Anna, I'm glad you enjoyed it. Even if you don't celebrate the holiday, I wish you a happy Thanksgiving, too! It's one of my favorite holidays.

    Monica, You're one of the few who has actually seen my garden. It's not big, and it's not spectacular. But if you were to see all the other things I've tried--like the first scarf I just knitted, complete with holes from dropped stitches--you would understand even more why gardening has become so important to me. It's very forgiving of mistakes and inexperience:)

    Rose, I have learned to stop talking at times when I start rambling on about gardening with a non-gardener. They just don't understand. I will have to go back and re-read this when the snow flies:) But I think those of us who endure such winters appreciate spring much more than those that don't.

    Carol, Thank you so much. I didn't even think about the fact I'd mentioned a hoe:) You are so right about the reasons for reading blogs--it's a community that I can share with, not to mention all the things I've learned from all of you.

    Susie, I agree! I'm not artistic, so the garden is my canvas to experiment with.

    Kathi, Thank you for such a sweet comment and for visiting!

    Sweet Bay, Thanks! It was something I really enjoyed writing.

    MMD, Thank you for the nice compliment! I love spending time with the grandkids in the garden, and I do hope it's something they will always remember.

    Mary Ann, Thank you! And thanks for sponsoring this. Frankly, though, I didn't do this for the prizes...I really enjoyed thinking about this topic. It actually was kind of an eye-opener to me to realize how I've grown as a gardener.

  15. Dear Rose,
    Happy Thanksgiving.
    I enjoyed walking in your gardens and reading the story of how the garden feeds your Spirit. Your gardens are safe havens for bugs and birds.
    Happy ABC Wednesday....

  16. What a wonderful collection of photos of a gorgeous garden! And a beautifully worded post for the S day. It is easy to understand why you and so many others find such pleasure in gardening!

    Thanks for sharing the beauty1


  17. This is a powerful essay Prairie Rose. You should win the contest hands down. The choice of words and photos for each is fabulous.
    Have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

  18. Beautiful flowers. You must be proud of your garden. I'm glad to see these wonderful flowers and read your wonderful essay.

  19. SENSATIONAL descriptions!

    WV: hades - the antithesis of your post.

  20. Your garden is very beautiful, and so are your photos. Thank you for sharing such lovely pictures and such a thoughtful view of 'gardening' - it does grow on one!

  21. Superb post. You've given words to a special feeling that comes from growing and gratitude. Superb!

  22. Beautiful words and pictures on gardening, and I'm a big fan of Thoreau. Sadly, my own gardening is not so good, but I certainly try.

  23. You have such a gorgeous garden! I wouldn't mind spending some relaxing moments there too.

  24. Rose, this is a beautifully written post! Your words could have been mine. I too have matured as a gardener, from appreciating the fresh and lovely blooms to the shapes and contour of the garden itself.

    Your macro pics are gorgeous. Actually all your pics are lovely! I am glad your grandchildren are taking an interest in your gardens. You will share a bond with them and hopefully a legacy.
    Happy Thanksgiving and have a wonderful week.

  25. Over the top, this is! Amen and bravo(a)! Nothing could be more true! Someday your children will 'get it'! Gardening and art do seem to go hand in hand. Along with cooking.

  26. Rose, every word and every photo in this post was lovely. Enjoyed it very much.

    Your reference to your friend finding solace in the garden and the mention of dragon flys and fluttering angel wings was beautiful.

    Oh, and your little grandson working in the garden....he's so cute and looks so serious about his watering chore.

  27. Well said Rose, beautifully enhanced by your glorious garden. You have captured the spirit of being in the garden.

  28. Absolutely fabulous post! What beautiful photos. I loved it.

  29. Your prose and photos are soothing to me too, Rose. Your gardening skill is impressive and I know you consider yourself sort of a novice. Your S words are spot on for me as well. The garden is truly a place to loosen the bind of the cares of daily living. Do enjoy your family time and remember to warm those hands under tepid water occasionally to bring them back to normal temperature! :-)


  30. Beaytiful set of photos! My favourite is the one with the little boy watering the plants. I have some photos of my grandson, watering my geraniums, when he was a toddler. He is now seventeen and only interested in the computer and all kind of games.

  31. Rose, I whole heartedly agree taht this is the best post you have written! I think you have expressed what most of us gardeners feel when we garden. Beautifully illustrated with delightful photos that show your talent and passion for gardening.

    Have a wonderful Thanksgiving and enjoy your company!

  32. What a beautiful post! Thank you and HAPPY THANKSGIVING to you xx

  33. We could not agree with you more. We have a beautiful garden on the Cape Cod, but we spend more time in Taiwan now, we sure miss our garden.

  34. My dear Rose.....we now walk the same path. It is wonderful for me to read of your journey with the garden and the changes it is making to your life.

    I love the photograph of the snow on the trees....so beautiful....so memorable.....

    Hope your little helpers will continue with their interest in the garden.....we need young people to carry on this very individual and special art form.......
    I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving with your family.......

  35. What a wonderful post, Rose. You have very succinctly used perfect "S" words to described the wonderful aspects of gardening. I've watched other people post about the ABC's too, and I think perhaps this would be a good thing for me to try! (Maybe in December? or January?)

    Have a wonderful weekend. :-)

  36. Well, I have completely missed out on this contest but I love your response--and the gorgeous images, some of the nicest I have seen on this blog. Yeah, that "lot of work" comment. I've gotten it, along with the implied "waste of time!"

  37. The picture of flower looks awesome on your blog. there is nothing better than a fresh flower when you want to admire beauty.

  38. Hi Rose, Your words are lovely, flowing like a river of verses...and should be published on something other than a blog! The images (both in photograph, and those you create for our imaginations) are beautiful! I was going to enter this and write a post, but not sure if I will at this point. Your post is definitely a winner, in my eyes...and probably everyone else's, too!

  39. Hi Rose, I'm going to leave just one more little comment. Would you please visit me tomorrow (Sunday) afternoon? I have a little something I want you to read... :-)

  40. What a fantastic post, rose!

    Really beautiful words accompanied by gorgeous photos.

    It's lovely to think of flowers growing above long-gone pets. Husband always says that Toby the Cat was the reason we had such good courgettes!

  41. Well put! I'm impressed by how well you describe your pleasure in gardening using only "s" words. This is one of my favorite posts. I love that snow photo - you have me looking forward to winter.

  42. A Superb Soliloquy, indeed. I'll add another S, Sanity: gardening is what keeps mine relatively intact!

  43. Dear Readers,

    Thanks to each and everyone for your kind comments. This post started as just a way to incorporate some "S" words for ABC Wednesday, but I found myself doing some real soul-searching here and realized how much gardening has come to mean to me. Writing this became somewhat a labor of love, you might say.

    Pardon me for not replying to each of you individually, but it's been a busy week with Thanksgiving and Older Daughter home from Arizona. Instead of individual replies, I'm trying to catch up on blog reading and visiting each of you in return.

  44. Rose, that was absolutely the best post... would not know how to even begin developing another. As I read I felt you were speaking for me. Thank you for sharing such a beautiful piece, straight from your heart. Diana

  45. What a beautiful, heartfelt, inspired and inspiring post Rose - both the photos and the prose.

    I'm know you had a lovely time with Older Daughter visiting. It sure was lovely having the Middle One here.

    Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving!

  46. A simply post, Rose. I feel the same ... all 's' words a perfect description of why gardeners love gardening and ... your photo journal, stunning!

  47. Hi Rose, I thought I had posted a comment but don't see it. Only another gardener knows what goes on in the hearts and minds of their fellow gardeners. You expressed it perfectly.

  48. Rose, I'm so glad to have caught up to your post. It's really beautiful and heartfelt. You've given voice to what many of us feel while gardening. Thank you.

  49. One of the best posts on why we garden I've ever had the delight to read. Just awesome. Nothing obsessive or morbid about our planting habit, either.

  50. Wow, Rose, this was an awesome post! Not only did you do a wonderful job expressing your love of gardening, but you incorporated great photos and lots of "S" words! I didn't see any other posts for that contest. I'll have to check to see other entries. I wouldn't be surprised if this one wins. Oh, maybe it did. I remembered you won one of Nan's books. I'll have to see if that's why you won it. I bought a copy of that recently, and when I finish the book I'm currently reading, plan to read hers. It looks to be really good.

    While blogging, I've been watching HGTV. A family bought a house on an acre with a huge back yard with not much besides grass. They weren't sure if they wanted that one at first, because of all the work it would be. I was mentally filling it up with huge flower beds. They plan to put in a pool.


Thanks for stopping by. I love to hear from you, so please leave a comment. I'll try to reply here, but I'll definitely return the visit.