Why do we love to garden? What is gardening? To me, I would say that gardening is essentially the artificial manipulation of plants, shrubs and trees for aesthetic or productive purposes.
So, in other words, we use plants to create an attractive, pleasing environment, or to produce food in the form of fruit and vegetables. That may be it in very literal terms, however, for me, gardening is infinitesimally so much more than that.
Gardening done well, in my opinion, is a unique blend of science and art. Science and art together? It just doesn’t seem plausible; but strangely it is, and it works. The notion of science and art seems an unlikely and unworkable partnership; but for successful gardening, they have to work, side by side, in unison. Most of us possess a brain which is apparently either right or left brain dominant; meaning if we are right brain dominant we are more likely to possess artistic abilities or characteristics ( artists, writers, designers, musicians) conversely those among us with left brain dominance are perceived to be more logical and analytical
( scientists, medics, engineers) So if we go with the presumption that we are either “artistic” or “practical”, then in gardening terms this will have useful applications in either the science side of horticulture, or the visual.
Fortunately for me, thanks to genetics, I possess a unique blend of practical and artistic attributes. My father is an ex forces man: extremely practical and resourceful ; good with numbers, and can make anything with his hands ( just don’t ask him to draw a picture) My mother on the other hand was an artist, an accomplished seamstress and crafter ( but not a great mathematician) Truthfully, I would say I have more artist than scientist in me, but I possess enough of both to make me a reasonably successful horticulturist.
Gardening for me is many things: exciting, rewarding, challenging, therapeutic, tiring, joyful, back- breaking and spiritual. I think essentially, the reason why gardening is so popular is due to the fact that it is organic; it is pure and natural. It is the complete antithesis to the technology obsessed, fast- paced, artificial lives that most of us lead.
We all get something different from gardening: I find magic in a packet of seeds; and appreciate the beauty in the tiniest, simplest of flowers. Others will nurture their vegetable plot; spending hours digging, planting, feeding and watering. Somehow, the more we toil and sweat, the sweeter the rewards.
For me there is something quite special about gardening; it goes beyond the excitement of a sprouting seed or a swathe of flowers in the sunshine. It is that moment when you feel you are connected to the earth; it is an almost indescribable sense of pure peace. The moment you sit in the sunshine, close your eyes and all you can hear are the birds and the gentle buzzing of bees. Or when you pause for a minute to take in the beautiful countryside, and feel a deep connection with the fields and hedgerows, the animals and birds. Gardening for me is spiritual ; it cleanses your mind, revives your soul and connects you to the earth. I can’t think of anything in the world I would rather do, ever.