I have nothing new to tell you about gardening, especially nothing you will not find on your own garden path. After beginning this love letter I stumbled upon Allen Lacey’s The Inviting Garden, in which he says “gardening is a love affair.” The man says everything that needs to be said, and he says it right. I could never compete with a philosopher or a poet. He states in his introduction that his book is intended as “a seduction” to bring you into his way of thinking about gardening as a calling. Boy, you are preaching to the choir. He captures the spirit that impelled me to begin writing. I would stop right now and say just go read his book, but I can’t. There have to be new voices and more voices, even if they say the same thing. The message is too important. Plagiarize all you want so the message does not sink into oblivion. The message is:
Gardening will save your life
I’m just going to run with this idea. And before you say pshaw and click away, don’t worry, it’s okay with me if you don’t become a gardener, as long as you love a gardener. Would you be alive without gardeners? Plants convert chemicals into breathable oxygen. Plants are the basis of all our food. Plant life distinguishes this planet from all other planets we know of. Without gardeners, you would be living on Mars and you would die. So there.
Okay, I hear you saying: but plants survive on their own-haven’t you ever seen a forest or an empty lot? And yes, you are correct that plants will grow despite human intervention and sometimes in spite of it. But humans are everywhere on this planet, and if the population of humans did not include a nice round percentage of people who tend the plants, who cultivate and nurture them and save heirloom seeds in defiance of Monsanto, the plants which sustain us all might go the way of the dinosaurs. The earth needs its stewards, even if stewardship means doing nothing and letting a field in the back of your lot return to meadow.
Gardening is a calling; somehow you start digging and fall in love with the dirt.
If you personally do not love dirt as I do, so be it. Please find something you are passionate about, please ignore anyone else’s judgement about how unimportant it may seem, and if it is calling you, listen. Listen and follow, and we will all be better because you did this.