Garden Love: Let Me Count The Ways

by Linda Wiggen Kraft The month of May is not only a time to be busy in the garden, but it is also a time to acknowledge all the ways there are to love a garden and gardening. After all it is National Gardening Month and the perfect time to love gardens even more.

What is there not to love about a garden? Of course there are maddening things – the weeds, the biting bugs, the plant eating bugs, the dying plants, the hard work, the dirty work, and the $64 tomato after all the costs are added up. But even with maddening frustrations, the rewards are countless. The sound of Spring Peepers announcing spring, the bird songs that fill the air year round, the first crocus to appear and the last golden leaf to fall on the ground. The smell of lilacs, the taste of honeysuckle flowers, the glory of almost year round blossoms that fill hearts with joy, the tastes of summer fruits that nourish body and soul. These are but a few ways to love a garden. How could we live without these and thousands of other garden joys? Truth is we can’t. We need to savor these joys and let our love of gardens grow.

How can a garden be loved more? Begin to think of the earth as one big garden and look into ways to nourish our planet starting where you live. Look at all your property as a garden, including the land where anything can grow. Lawn, cracks in sidewalks, side yards are all part of the garden. Can more beautiful trees, shrubs and plants grow that feed the birds, insects and people of the local eco system? Can more food be grown in your own back and front yard? Less lawn means less mowing and less pollution. Using organic, sustainable and safe methods and materials means healthier landscapes, people, pets and wildlife not only at home but also downstream when rain runs off your land. How about a rain garden, pervious pavement and patios, green roofs, more deep rooted native plants that capture and use all the rain that falls and can stay in your yard? These are all ways to love and nurture the big garden of earth.

Loving the big picture of earth as a garden has to be balanced with loving the small details of garden spaces. Each square foot holds a team of life with soil, plant, sun, water, sky and countless life forms living in that small area. Each flower, leaf and plant is a beautiful universe unto itself. Modern busy life leaves little time to stop and smell the dirt, the sky, the plants or even the roses. Take a few minutes in the busy month of May and spend time slowly and quietly in the garden looking at the small details. Open your heart to each small flower, leaf and worm. You will find endless ways to count the love for a garden.

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