What kind of gardener are you? Are you the kind that draws diagrams of your garden and plans each bed's plantings meticulously? Or, are you an impulse gardener - someone who sees a plant that you suddenly must have, buys it, and then figures out what to do with it? Do you garden to feed yourself and your family? Or do you garden to create beauty in the world and soothe the spirit? Maybe you are an eclectic who does a little bit of all of this!
The point is, there are all kinds of gardeners and all kinds of gardening philosophies and reasons to garden. There is not one that is more valid than another. Each is of value in its own way.
I can't help noticing that many of my fellow garden bloggers are true plant geeks and hortheads. Some of them aspire to have one of every kind of plant there is. Others will eschew any plant that they deem "easy" or "common". They only want plants that are a challenge to grow. I admire the passion and dedication of these people and I enjoy reading their blogs, but I could never be one of them. I'm just not that kind of gardener.
I've been thinking about what kind of gardener I am this week. Last Saturday, I attended a meet-up and plant swap with some of my fellow bloggers and came home loaded down with new plants, seeds, and cuttings. As I went about trying to find places for all of them, I had plenty of time to consider my gardening philosophy.
So, what kind of gardener am I and why do I garden?
I garden because my parents were gardeners and I guess it is in my blood. I garden to put food on the table because there is absolutely nothing that tastes better than something you have grown yourself. I garden to provide food and shelter for birds, butterflies, and other backyard critters. I garden because I want to make my little plot of the earth the most beautiful, peaceful, and productive it can be. I want it to be a sanctuary for my family and me and for all the creatures with whom we share it.
I am the kind of gardener who is perfectly happy with old, tried and true varieties of plants that are immune to ill treatment and forgetful gardeners. I'm just not that interested in trying out the newest and most challenging plant in the nursery, at least partly because I know I would probably kill it! My dirty little secret is that I'm really not that great a gardener.
But gardening feeds my soul as no other activity does. Remember the old poem that ends with the line, "One is nearer God's heart in a garden than any place else on earth"? I often feel that is true. I certainly feel closer to the real meaning of life and the source of all things in my garden than I do any place else.
All gardens and all gardeners are different, and no two days in the garden are alike. There is always something new to see and experience, some new revelation that had never occurred to me before. And that is what keeps me going out to the garden every day, looking for that new experience. Looking, most of all, for that sudden glimpse of beauty that is almost indescribable, that makes you catch your breath, and brings tears to your eyes. And puts a smile on your face for the rest of the day.
I hope your garden puts many smiles on your face in the coming week.