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Gardening keeps me well-grounded

Every spring I vow to cut back on the flowers, shrubs and veggies I will plant, (not to mention the money I will spend), as well as the maintenance required to keep this vegetation thriving. And every year I break the promise that I make to myself.

I always have such good intentions and tell myself to be sensible. But then the visits to the greenhouses begin and the flowers look so beautiful. Plus what can another pepper plant hurt? (After all, I reason, the bugs might get the ones already planted). Suddenly all my good intentions go out the window. And before I realize it, I am loading up another tray of nursery stock into my SUV.

So maybe I should stay away from greenhouses. Ahhh! If only it were that simple. That is not the only enticement out there. Every time I drive by some lovely yards in our area and see the beautiful landscaping resplendent with pots overflowing with gorgeous flowers, I am inspired to go home and start planting more flowers.

Even distant travels have me dreaming about transforming my own space into a park-like setting. On a recent trip to Portland, Oregon, with my daughter, I was utterly captivated by the city’s Rose Garden which was in full bloom when we were there.

I immediately started to imagine how I might expand my own small rose patch. (I haven’t yet told my husband of my plan. I’m sure he will be thrilled about digging up more grass and installing more edging.) Alas, hybrid roses don’t fare very well in our harsh prairie winters, so I might have to rethink my strategy.

As I age, I have come to realize some truths about gardening and why I often get carried away. (As do so many others that I know.) There’s something cathartic and soothing about digging in the spring soil. It speaks to our optimism and hope for a productive season. Although the dirt under my nails might not be all that attractive, there is no disputing the many health benefits that come from gardening.

My horticultural endeavours also remind me of my mother and the time she spent and enjoyed in her own garden. I admit that helping her plant potatoes and weed the plants were never high on my priority list when I was a teenager, but I now know the solace and joy she felt as she tended to her vegetables and flowers. It is not unusual to find me talking to her as I labour over my plants. (Somehow I am convinced that she is listening.)

Planting, watering, weeding, watering, weeding…well, you get the idea. These all might seem mundane and boring to the outside observer. But there is nothing as rewarding as stepping out the back door and seeing the beautiful blossoms that my hard work and care have produced. And there is nothing as delicious as the first peas, cucumbers and tomatoes picked fresh from the garden.

If nothing else, gardening keeps me close to Mother Earth and my roots. That’s reward enough; the rest is all bonus.