Sometimes, I feel like being a gardener is much like being an artist. The more I think about it, the more similarities I see between the two.
Like an artist, a gardener must try to mentally visualize their work in completion long before the work has even begun.
Like an artist, the gardener must draw from the knowledge and inspiration inside them. Some of which are learned, some of which are discovered through the practice of the art.
Like an artist, the gardener must be prepared with any necessary tools needed to perform the task.
Finally, the gardener must be a constant student, so they are continually developing and not left behind. Every day new techniques and tools are emerging. Members of the gardening community, as well as the artistic, are always doing innovative new things.
Before I plant my garden, I like to lay it out on paper and visualize it in my head. I try to stick directly to the plan, but unexpected variables almost always pop up. An unwanted storm with 45 mph winds, or an unyielding attack from pests; almost anything can happen.
So, like an artist, the gardener must be prepared to improvise. As your garden grows, each new leaf, flower, or even bug is another brush stroke on the canvas. As the season progresses, the more diligent your work becomes, the more it will bring you closer to creating a masterpiece.
I wrote that top part on a picturesque Midwestern summer day nearly eight years ago. According to the original file date, it was just a day before my birthday in 2012.
I love gardening; it has always offered me a way to escape the doldrums of the daily grind, to reconnect with the energy of the natural world, and to reflect on life itself quietly.
I’ve always found the beauty of nurturing a seedling as it progresses through its own life to be exceptionally cathartic; enjoying the delicious bounties harvested is just the cherry on top.
Being lucky enough to create a brand new garden every year is something I never take for granted, and I dread the day I will no longer be able to do so.
In these uncertain and weary times, amidst the rise and spread of the coronavirus, there is no better opportunity to leave the restrictive confines of our homes and create beautiful gardens of our own.
We can all benefit greatly from the calming, tranquil act of cultivating our own gardens right now. We must give our minds an escape from negative and heavy news headlines, and remind ourselves that there is still so much beauty in the world around us.
So pull out some old clothes and shoes (or go barefoot as I prefer) and get outside to create some magnificent art.
Please support your locally-owned greenhouses, nurseries, and garden centers at this time. They need our help!