I read somewhere that gardening is a kind of parenting for plants.
It involves nurturing a life from tiny seed , or graft, or cutting. A perennial, shrub, or tree needs a careful eye to maintain shape, watch for insects, prune out dead or diseased bits , cutting back when necessary.
Depending on where you live, temperatures, humidity, rainfall, soil conditions, etc., will necessitate unique grooming practices and tried and true habits that reflect the those zones or ideals of what a garden "should" look like or include.
In our area, there is a shift to low maintenance, drought resistant, instant and constant colour bloom and growth .
Most people don't have the time , knowledge, or inclination to garden, grow flowers, vegetables, fruits, or otherwise.
When I worked at a garden centre recently, many customers preferred their purchases to be foolproof, weather notwithstanding, and to provide a decorating element to their yards and outdoor spaces along the same lines as the necessary evils of fencing, and to decorate much the same way as their patio table decisions.
The staff was aware of this "dumbing down" of gardeners , and the move to predesigned, plunk it down and forget it marketing that seemed inevitable.
Yet I was encouraged more and more by genuine interest .
Young couples that shared their stories about wanting to recreate the sweeping lily beds at their family cottage. Newly married first time homeowners honest about their lack of knowledge but eager and excited to embrace sustainable green spaces and avoid mass annual plantings that seemed wasteful and boring. They wanted perennials, the latest cultivars , the better developed shrubs and trees that would complement their spaces , co-ordinate with their homes, with appreciation for texture, colour , flow, and curb appeal.
Time and again I was surprised by the earnest cheer of young adults helping their parents redo a garden, aiding a grandparent begin anew on a smaller property. By children keen to learn about hens and chicks, and tomato plants, urging parents to buy sunflowers, iris, lilac, watering cans, seeds, and rakes.
We prompted most of these customers to buy mulch... a true lifesaver on busy hot summer weed thriving days, and to plant far enough apart , and dig large enough holes , to augment their soil and so on.
I pointed to the plant labels and suggested they keep them in a safe place, urged them to call or visit the store , or it's website for support and to ask questions, and to continue the journey of gardening.
I warned them with a smile and touch of an arm that they were beginning a lifestyle.
A cycle of life and death that would have them in union with the greater cycles of birth and life and death, seasons, changes, mistakes, disappointments, rewards, pride, accomplishment.
I was met back with joy in the eyes of these on the threshold dreamers.
I told them that gardening meant getting dirty, sweaty, soaked through, bug bitten, sunburnt, sore, and scratched up sometimes too.
That it was about putting in wholesome commitment and getting on your knees service to grow, uphold, sustain, maximize and never leave unchecked hope and gratefulness in beauty and life.
I was met back with joy in the eyes of those on the threshold dreamers and it changed me , and has rejuvenated my mudpie maker heart.
We should all find promise and optimism and a trusting peace in those that follow along just there in our left off conversations. Hope for the future that they've read in the books, and listened in our lectures and laments and fears. If we see with their blossoming eyes, we may look upon a rose coloured flourishing future.
If you have any encouraging stories of budding gardeners, please share. I will be starting a section on kids and gardening soon, so look for that prompt too!