Do I Have to Get My Hands Dirty?

“Here. It’s a rock.”DSCN8468

My wife held out her hands with hesitation. “Um…thanks?” She wondered what was the big deal with this dirty piece of limestone.

“Look closer” I encouraged her. When she examined the rock she found a crack along its circumference. Then she separated the two halves and discovered the crystals inside.

“Wow, it’s beautiful!” She complimented this hefty geode from Morocco.DSCN8469

If she had not looked closer and explored, it would remain just another rock.

Gardening is like that. If it is only pulling weeds and planting seeds, the average person might respond “No thanks, I’d rather watch TV.”

But if people look closer at all the pleasures of nature, they might want to get their hands dirty. Pleasures like:

  • Discovery. Cutting a vegetable in half should be a cause to pause. No one in the world has ever seen the inside of this bell pepper or this melon, until now.
    tomatoes sliced
    Marvel Stripe and Opalka Tomatoes

    And, what a treat it is to find a new-born Monarch butterfly drying its wings, next to it’s cracked chrysalis shell. How many bird’s nests do you have on your property?

  • butterflies emerge (1)
  • Sensory stimulation. Herbs are the original scratch-and-sniff plants. Smash the leaves of spearmint or peppermint or cardamom ginger for a scent thrill. The full flavor of garlic comes from home-grown bulbs: pungent and not bitter, almost sweet.
  • Fun. It might take two months from seed, but sunflowers always cause a smile, especially when you give them to a friend. You can’t buy, but you can grow your own yellow, seedless watermelon. Have you ever grown the Eyeball plant?
  • Nostalgia. What flowers or vegetables did your grandmother grow? Bring back an era gone by growing sweet peas, gladiolus, zinnias and morning glories.morning glor (2)
  • Self-improvement. You burn more calories gardening than walking. And then you have something to show for your efforts. Home grown vegetables do not contain any mysterious pesticides and are at their peak of antioxidants and vitamins.
  • Solace. Remember the movie “Avatar”? The essence of this science-fictitious blue race was their intimate relationship with insects, animals and plants. That message touched something deep in the souls of busy city-dwellers who long for more than busyness. Spending quiet time surrounded by plants reconnects us to nature.
  • Snob Appeal, AKA Bragging Rights. “Check this out.” Is usually accompanied by a sweeping hand gesture toward a new car or tool or appliance. But how about a rare plant? Everybody in this neighborhood has the same trees and shrubs, but not you! How about a dramatic bed of ‘Rose Wine’ Neoregelias? Forget about regular bougainvilleas, the ‘Surprise’ bougie has pink AND white blooms on the same vine!boug surprise 1.jpg

Gardening has so much to offer people.  The price of admission is perspiration and the rewards far exceed the cost. Just look closer.