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Are You a Gardener?

Kate, a friend and reader in North Carolina, wrote to me last week and entitled her email “Are you a gardener?”

She wrote the following:

My youngest daughter hired a landscape designer to draw up plans for her new little house and acre down the street from us.  So I came by for the ‘big reveal’.  I had lots of questions, and the lady was delightful.  After about 30 minutes or so, she turned to me and said ‘are you a gardener?’  And I fell silent.  “Well”, I finally said, “I have a number of gardens, and I spend a lot of time in them, but no, I would not call myself a gardener.  I am a person who gardens.”

Made me think about what it will take before I think of myself as “a gardener” – and wondered how other people thought of themselves in those terms.

Evidently this is one of those words whose meaning is subject to individual interpretation .

If you go by a dictionary definition, you are a gardener if you are employed to cultivate or care for a garden or if you do it for a pastime.

I thought it would be interesting to see how YOU felt about it and how you think of yourself in terms of gardening.

I’ll go first:

  • Yes, I am a gardener. And the garden is so much a part of me that I would never want to exist without it.

I’m really looking forward to your comments!

PS
While I have your attention: If you want to see a few of my favorite things in my borders this spring, scroll down in the new post I just put up on TMG’s sister site, flowerborders.info.  Here’s the link: How to use Iris —
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16 comments to Are You a Gardener?

  • Beppy

    I love to dig in the dirt and plant flowers and vegetables so I consider myself a Gardener. Of course there are different levels of experience and education but I don’t think that defines a gardener-it’s the love.

  • RAY KENT

    I MUST BE A GARDENER. I SPENT MY WHOLE LIFE SOLVING CHALLENGES AND NEVER HAD A HOBBY. A NUMBER OF YEARS AGO I FOUND HERITAGE VEGGIES AND THEY BECAME A HOBBY; THE FIRST ONE I EVER HAD. NOW I SPEND THE WINTER PLANNING AND THE SUMMER IN THE GARDEN. MY NEED FOR A CHALLENGE IS SATISFIED, MY TIME IS FILLED AND I’M ENJOYING LIFE FULL TIME. NOW I JUST HAVE TO BECOME SUCCESSFUL AS WELL.

    RAY

  • Virginia Gardner

    I am a gardener. I grew up with a gardener (my mother)… her gardens were her greatest joy. My gardens are very different from my mother’s gardens… I, like so many, love the music of a cottage garden, and that is my primary floral garden. I also have shrubbery gardens and borders that blend trees with shrubbery and perennials. There is a vegetable garden in which food and floral enjoy company. Then there is what I call my Fifth Garden… 1100 square feet of deck, which today has many more pots with perennials than in the early years, but plenty of railing planters and other pots that require annual planting. I am a gardener. I am also a Realtor, so in recent years, as our gardens have evolved, I have found someone who can help me the the weeding, pruning, and mulching. I have no problem calling myself a gardener. It’s the adjective before the word with which I have a problem. I am gardener. Am I a good gardener? Not so much. I am a competent gardener. By the way… your husband will relate to this… I am also an artist (virginiamosaics.com). That was the hardest label ever to accept, but I have, My husband brought home a magnet for the fridge that I read every day… it says, “Never apologize for your art.” Gardeners are artists, their canvas is their environment.

  • Don Rutherford

    Theresa

    Whether or not I am a gardener depends on who is asking the question and why?, like many other things that get asked.

    If she is planning the home and acre, it might change how she does it, both the house and the landscape. I know, it is your daughter’s home,(Kate’s daughter’s home) but your influence may make a difference, like where she puts the doors, maybe an entryway that has a place for muddy boots etc. and the layout of her yard. I know you (Theresa) don’t use water, but maybe even where water spigots are located.

    In other words, I’d ask myself why she wants to know. If murders asked my wife, “Where’s your husband, I wouldn’t want her to say “He’s hiding under the bed.”

  • Sandra

    It’s exactly the same with many people who do things well, but don’t do it professionally (or get paid to do it). I think we often have the idea that if we don’t have recognition from some outside institution – we are not the real deal. I feel exactly the same about running. I do it almost every day, but because I have never won a race, and I’m not fast – I always hesitate to call myself, “a runner”. I’m glad that you have such a strong sense of who you are Theresa, that you unhesitatingly say yes. We are all better off because of it.

  • YahuahsHomeMaker

    Yes. Though I am new to gardening, I have found that I love being out in it. I think about it. I am planning for it. I worry in the middle of the night when I hear it raining. I find myself frustrated when my household chores require my attention and all I want to do is be outside looking, watching and planning for the garden. Even in moments when I feel frustrated and want to give up, I go outside and see something new. I hope to one day encourage others to garden and to see that gardening is for all.

  • I am a gardener because I have built the intention to garden into my life. Life circumstances have effected the scale that I garden over recent years. However items such as scale, experience, and knowledge I’m not factoring in. The reason is because I believe that Grace covers these at any and all levels of learning. God has made nature such a wonderful teacher and so forgiving for both the beginner and the expert. There is no limit to learning and experiencing! Therefore, the very intention and heart to garden is why I am a gardener. Also, it is a basic work which is required by our bodies to survive. Seems we have the genetic capacity to garden simply via need. There’s not enough time to relish in the gift of gardening and the seasons get in the way! 🙂

  • Connie

    I never tell people I am a gardener–I tell them that I love to garden. Most of my life I didn’t have the opportunity to actually garden, but most of those years I was nurturing plants in pots. Only in the past few years was I able to establish what I call a garden. I am a gardener because I get up in the morning to visit my garden. Even on workdays it is nothing to spend an hour out there before heading off to work, and then another 2 or 3 in the evening. Once the garden is going there isn’t really that much to do but I manage to stay busy pulling a few weeds, watering, evaluating progress, and planning the next garden. The binder where I keep my diagrams, notes, and other important info is labeled “I Love My Garden.” No matter what is going on in the world it is the one place I can go and consistently find something right and good. The peaceful quality that exists in a garden is essential to my well-being. Many times when I’m out there working, and I get in the way of the bees, I think they must tolerate me because they understand my role as a caretaker. I am a gardener, not because of what I know but because of what I need. Yes, I get precious food from my garden, but it is the feeling of oneness with nature that I need even more to thrive.

  • Toni Brock

    Well Theresa,

    I immediately got ready to answer the question “Are you a gardener” and read through each post first. I can’t believe each response was so amazing! If I were a writer all of the above is what I would have responded with. All of the above responses ring so true to my feelings!
    You have collected wonderful people in your cyber garden Theresa! Thank you for sharing yourself and your community.

  • Alicia

    I would say I like to dabble with gardening. I am not always successful and I know I dont put all of the time into it that I maybe should, but I enjoy dabbling and seeing what makes it. So far everything is looking pretty good with all of the rain, so Im tickled to be off to a running start. Thanks for all of the fun articles!

  • Kevin

    Yes, I am a gardener because I love to garden. The peaceful tranquility of just being in the garden makes it worth the time I spend there. The anticipation of the first flowers blooming or the first ripe tomato is something to look forward to. Every season brings something new and different. Do I garden exactly like my friends? No, but that makes it more interesting because we can all share different experiences. Success and failure is part of life and the garden. I wouldn’t change it if I could. The garden is a beautiful place to be.

  • Alice

    Am I a gardener? OMGosh……I have never thought about it. All I know is that beginning in my early days I recall walking with my grandmother in her flower garden and she proudly showing me a beautiful rose that was almost black in color. She also had a cactus garden in her sun porch with cacti of all shapes and sizes. Then in my Girl Scout days I earned a scouting badge for growing squash in the front yard after digging a “hill” and planting 3 seeds. That was the start of many happy years of gardening. Not all of the years were happy for me, but putting seeds in soil, be it in the ground or a container on a apartment patio has always been a joy to behold. At age 74 I continue to be amazed at the rewards gardening brings, It outweighs the disappointments and casualties. Walking the garden each morning is how I start my day (weather permitting of course) Today is one of those days I am on the inside looking out because the winds are blowing at 22 mph and it is 81 degrees (welcome to Northern Nevada).

  • Theresa

    Beppy hit it right away! It’s the love (for gardening) that makes us gardeners. And all of you have expressed that love!
    As Virginia noted – it’s the adjective before the word (gardener) that give folks pause.

    And Toni, I agree, all the responses were wonderful. And yes, I think TMG has wonderful people in this cyber garden. All of you are definitely a notch above the crowd!

    No wonder I enjoy writing TMG so much!

    And by the way, Kate, you’re definitely a gardener. 🙂

    Theresa

  • Pat

    I have been pondering this question for a day or so…. I garden, that is a fact. And I do it on a regular basis. And I know things about gardening. But the reason I enjoy gardening so much is that I am first and foremost an observer of nature. I often find myself distracted from my gardening chores by my observations of bugs, birds, volunteer plants, and even the weeds that abide with the planted things. It is an adventure every day!
    😀

  • Stephanie

    I just dug through e-mail and found this post and took time to read it as they are always wonderful! Yes! We are gardeners. “We” you may ask….well, our children have a garden and are learning the joy that is found in being a gardener and the discipline and time it takes. They help us as well. A gardener can enjoy gardening from a very young age up to an old age….it is one of those things that can last a lifetime on any level. Thanks for helping me find a part of my identity! A gardener….Wonderful!

  • Theresa

    So glad your kids are enjoying the garden with you Stephanie! I think teaching kids to garden is an important contribution to their future. Sure glad you took time to post. Thanks.
    Theresa

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