12 Reasons I Love Gardening (and you will, too)

Gardening isn't all bird song and shady interludes with a glass of ice tea or something stronger. Gardening calisthenics can lead to neck strains, back problems and creaky knees. That sunny spotlight in your landscape may put the red in a growing tomato, but it can also result in sunburn and heatstroke if you aren't careful. Even the nice plot of land you have in mind for potatoes, roses, corn or kale may be so clogged with clay soil that the only difference between it and the asphalt in your driveway is the color. (Well, that is a bit of an exaggeration.)

The point I'm making is that gardening isn't a prepackaged and pristine activity. It can get messy. Here's an example: You head out for a brief weeding session wearing your garden gloves. Twenty minutes later the gloves are off (because they never quite let you get a good grip on intransigent weeds), and three minutes after that your nails look like you've been digging drainage tunnels with your bare hands.

It's a wonder anyone ever grabs a trowel to break ground outdoors -- or is it?

Gardening may not be tidy -- or easy -- or one of those activities that provides instant gratification, but it is transformative. It's as much a journey of discovery as it is an exercise in suburban horticulture.

It may be that the world just looks nicer when seen through a filigree of leaves, or that buying a plot of land doesn't make you feel like you really own it, but planting a tree there does. It could also be that the sensate delights nature offers can become so sanitized by modern living that being able to bask in the delicate fragrance of a freshly opened, dew moistened blossom is worth all the other aggravations.

A while back, I shared a fellow blogger's list of reasons to love gardening. Here are mine:

  1. You'll never wish for rain with more ardent passion (or appreciate it as much) as when you have a garden.

  2. The seasons will become much more than quarterly checkpoints on a calendar. They'll have immediacy, depth and scope.

  3. Terms like "barometric pressure" won't sound fussy and complicated. They'll sound fascinating (well, interesting).

  4. You'll begin to suss out portents in falling leaves, severe clear evenings, wind direction and cloud shapes, making the world a more interesting place to ponder and engage.

  5. Nature won't be something "out there." Nature will be everywhere.

  6. You may still pitch your banana peels (apple cores or potato peelings) in the trash, but you'll also begin to think of them as wasted opportunities to compost. Reuse, repurpose and recycle are major mantras of the green movement, and thinking green is the first step to a better world.

  7. You'll learn to love what you grow -- whether you though you'd like the taste that much or not. Pride is the best spice around, even when dealing with turnips.

  8. You'll develop a persistent fondness for the honey bee, worm, ladybug and even the praying mantis (that bloodthirsty darling).

  9. One wonderful day, you'll plant a dry, unassuming seed and realize, perhaps for the first time, that the power, complexity and downright majesty necessary to produce that very plant in that exact way was waiting to quicken in a vessel no larger than the head of a pin.

  10. On that day or another like it, you'll stand in the middle of your garden and, with a frisson of surprise, hear green things rustling and growing around you -- and won't that be grand.

  11. Because of your work in the garden, you'll reconnect with things you may not have thought about since childhood (rain festooned spider webs, firefly light shows, leaves staining the wind), only now you'll revisit them with wise old eyes and accord them the respect they deserve.

  12. And here's my favorite: After a season in the garden, you'll look out and see more in that green space than you've ever seen before -- not necessarily because the garden has changed, but because you have.


  1. Some great points you got there, You could even say gardening makes you a better person, I for one begin to care for the plants like they are children, making sure they receive what they need everyday to keep on growing!

  2. What wonderful sentiments you have written on the pleasure of gardening. I'm sitting here looking out at my Brooklyn backyard, woefully in need of a good cleaning. Sadly I'm unable to do any gardening now, due to a disability. I miss the ability to commune with nature, to worry about the weather, to look forward to the changing seasons.
    Your sentiments will stay with me, and hopefully I can get someone to take over my yard, and have the soul satisfying experience of gardening. I'll be sure to pass on your reasons to love gardening.

  3. yes. like the person above me said gardening makes you a better person. you grow to love the earth by gardening. gardening also helps relieving stress from all other works. it helps in refreshing our mind and hoping for a better tomorrow. you feel like you are 'one with nature' when you are gardening.

  4. Yes,gardening just de-stresses me. Being out in the garden and playing in the soil feels so good. We just bought a home in Woodinville, WA and I can't wait to get going.We move in in June. It's got over an acre of property. We've got so many plans to add to it, herb garden, vegi garden, greenhouse, shop for my husband (he loves to build) and also a playhouse for my 9 yr. old grand daughter, she and my husband are going to build it.

    1. Gabriele,

      Planning a new garden is such a nice treat. How wonderful for you all!



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