EDITOR’S NOTE: Thanks Terri Maragos for sharing this essay from John Benson that was shared with the Nehalem Bay Garden Club in January of 2018. As gardening has become a top activity during “Stay Home/Stay Healthy”, this gives great insight into why I also LOVE gardeners.
By John Benson, Nehalem Bay Garden Club, January 2018
Gardeners come in many colors and varieties, but I love almost all of them. Why?
Some gardeners remind me of God. They touch a finger to the brown earth; and behold: green and every other color of the rainbow sprout forth. (We should all be so lucky.)
Most gardeners remind me of the Mother God energy. They are loving plant midwives. They tenderly and patiently nurture and train their offspring. They channel the creator spirit.
Admittedly, many of us from time to time show a less angelic side which may be illustrated by impatience: “Grow, dammit!” And when their offspring do grow we are proud and boastful. Or we may come to hate some of God’s wondrous creations such as deer, chipmunks, or slugs: “I shall smite thee, thou cursed slug!” I am willing to forgive these imperfections in myself and others because gardeners are so much more.
Most gardeners are generous to a fault:
Admire a plant and they are likely to grab a shovel to give you a start, or the whole thing.
They love to share their bounty. They don’t give because they planted too much, they plant too much so they can give.
They will share more advise than you may want. They can be great mentors in any endeavor.
Have you ever pulled to the curb and told someone how much you love her/his garden? This is how lifetime friendships can be formed.
Gardeners tend not to be perfectionists. They learn quickly that there are limits to their manipulation of nature. They learn to forgive their gardens for their imperfections, and this attitude seems to shape their relationships with people as well.
Gardeners tend to be more at peace with their place in the world. They understand the concept of environmental stewardship. They form deep roots in the world.
Gardeners are never bored. There are always weeds to pull, plants to nurture, plans to be made, books to read, catalogs to peruse.
Gardeners are interesting. Each one you meet will have different knowledge and perspective.
Gardeners are persistent optimists. Those tomatoes have never produced much before, but this time they just might. They have high expectations. They are tenacious. They look for solutions and ways to get around obstacles. Some can even be passionate optimists.
Gardeners tend to be patient and have a sense of time that non-gardeners do not. Most gardeners face failures with a sense of humor. They forgive nature for its failures and ask “How can I do it better next time?”
Most gardeners are just pleasant to be around.
The art of gardening draws the best people, but gardening will make any person better.