Of course you’d expect that someone who calls herself “the garden lady” would want to encourage people to start planting. Yes, I do believe that gardening is so beneficial that frankly, you don’t have time not to garden.
Consider the many studies that show the following:
- Gardening provides a beneficial physical workout comparable to an equivalent amount of time in a gym.
- People recovering from illnesses improve more quickly when they have access to hospital gardens, and those gardens are also therapeutic for hospital staff and visitors.
- Indoor plants help to filter toxins from the air and contribute to a relaxing environment.
- People say that gardens and natural environments are the places where they feel closest to God.
- City neighborhoods with trees and gardens don’t get vandalized as frequently as those without plants.
- Whether you are in your own back yard or in a public park and garden, viewing plants and flowers reduces stress.
- Gardens increase the value of a house, and several gardens can raise the property values in an entire neighborhood.
These are just a few examples of how gardens are good for people. I could go on and on about the social, environmental, physical, spiritual and economic benefits of gardens, but that’s almost unnecessary: we seem to know instinctively that gardens are good for us.
So what is everyone waiting for? Why are more people not working in their backyards this very minute?
Maybe it’s because we’ve been seduced into thinking that easy is better. We live in an instant coffee, fast food, strike it rich culture that frequently values ease over hard work. We want to be fit and thin without watching our diet or working out, and we’d like straight A’s and advanced degrees without studying. Even the gardening world isn’t exempt from the myth that we can have something for nothing…everyone seems to want a “low-maintenance garden.”
How to convince people to get out into their yards and gardens when the truth is that a “low-maintenance garden” is like “the easy life”: an oxymoron. Life is not easy, and gardens take work. How can people be persuaded that a garden is worth the effort?
“We have to create a buzz,” another garden writer told me. We joked that she might start a rumor that OMG really means “Oh my garden!” I agreed that as people who speak and write about gardening it’s our job to get people excited about the subject we are most passionate about. But it isn’t in anyone’s interest to make gardening into something trendy, because fashions come and go. Making soil sexy today will doom it to being dirt tomorrow. What is in vogue at the moment is frequently cast aside quickly, and we can’t afford to let that happen to an activity that renews our spirits, keeps us healthy, and ties us to others throughout the world and the ages.
Tending to plants is as fundamental as family, with all the requisite work and rewards, and as such it transcends fashion. Gardening can’t be the new black…it’s far more basic and much too important.