Friday, March 20, 2009

Garden, Gardeners and Garden Shows Oh My!

"It's a beautiful day in this neighborhood, a beautiful day for a neighbor, would you be mine? Could you be mine?"

Of course you can! If there is one thing I know about gardeners, it is this: no matter where you live or what what your zone (even if it's the twilight zone!), no matter how far away it is, no matter the gender or style . . . we are all kindred neighbors. There is something about getting dirty in the soil that brings us all together. The earth is a bonding place.

This has been a Garden Circus Week for me and while I could go on for hours and literary miles, I will try to contain myself :) Let me elaborate.

The promise of spring brings with it a bevy of garden shows around the country. Here in Arkansas, there is the "large" one in Little Rock (I use the term large VERY loosely) and even smaller county shows usually put on by local master gardeners which enjoy a very active and healthy following in my state. Last year I attended Philly and was disappointed in it's lack of practicality, monotony in repetition and ridiculous vendors. The presentations were wonderful, I must admit (Joe the Gardener was there and you must SEE him if you haven't already!). I was offered the opportunity to attend the Chicago show this year but the price I would have had to pay in order to attend was too high. So, this year I've had to live vicariously through other's experiences and their blogs, which indeed, I have been doing. I will say though, that although there are some shows I clearly did not appreciate in their entirety, I am able to take away something to inspire me in some way.

For me, the creme de la creme comes this next week. Sunday, I leave for the International Master Gardener's Conference. It is an every other year event held in different locations and I look forward to see what the desert hosts show us! Master gardeners tend to be focused on plants, sharing and the down-and-dirty nuts and bolts of gardening. THAT is what I LOVE! This will be an ENTIRE resort filled with no one but gardeners!

Which brings me to gardeners. A gardener of recent acquaintance, Garden Wise Guy, posted a YouTube link on his blog to show what is involved in physically putting together a garden show such as the one in San Francisco. The video was provided by Jayme Jenkins. If it weren't for the ingenuity of these fine people, the second-hand experience would be beyond my reach. I thank them for not leaving me stranded in the horticultural wasteland in find myself in out here on the delta.

The internet has given me the opportunity to meet some amazing gardener friends! GK, Cynthia, Hoodsie, Amanda, Michelle, Scott, Ian, and countless others. Again, if I expounded on each of them, well you know, the literary miles thing. Some friendships have even transcended the internet. I count myself lucky to have gotten to know them. All of us can learn from one another regardless of the level of gardening knowledge we feel we do or do not possess. Man! It is exciting to learn from each other!!!! I get soooooooo JAZZED about this part of my life!! Just give me some dirt and plants and I am SET!

Discovering the web site "Twitter" has allowed me to meet some fascinating people, mostly gardeners and some photographers, who have blessed me in the short time I've come to "know" them. Their garden advice, their compassionate thoughts, and funny life-advice have enriched my life in a short time. As I mentioned above, there is something about our love of the earth and growing things that bonds us together. Ahhhhhh, there is NOTHING like a fellow gardener! Certainly, I have learned that if we band together we can even help influence the gardening policies of the White House! There is nothing we cannot do. Now that there will be a garden at the National Residence, let us gardeners move on to helping our government take care of this recession thing :)

Gardens. For all we are about, for all we converse about gardening, it would all be just words if we did not apply our hand to the proverbial plow, so to speak, and create gardens. The culmination, the manifestation of our green madness: our gardens. No matter how big, 15+ acres, or how small, a container on our balcony, we grow gardens. We take pride in them, we enjoy them, we work them. In doing so, we grow, we heal, we pleasure in them and we share with each other. Across the fence, across the street, across the internet, across the miles.

I thank gardens for bringing us together. Sometimes I wonder, if everyone did gardening of some kind, if the world would be a less bitter and angry place? Would it culitvate peace and peas? Flowers and friends, instead of discord and enemies?

There is a garden I am growing on the corner at my business. It is at the third busiest intersection in our county and therefore highly visable, as am I when I am tending it (note: wear highway orange for safety, not my usual uniform!). It has furnished much enjoyment for the community and inspired others to created spots of green of their own along the highway. There is no end to the stream of people who stop in to comment on the garden or ask questions about the plants. This garden is raising awareness. A small garden can have big and far-reaching results. Even the number of cigarette butts being tossed out the car windows at the stop-light there have decreased significantly!

It doesn't take much to create a starting place for change in this world, in our communities, in our sphere of influence, does it?

But then, we gardeners already knew that :)


Garden Chick said...

Cynthia Crawley, my dear sweet friend, wrote this to me at my Facebook so eloquently that I asked her permission to post it here:

"I loved both of the blogs!

I guess people that don't garden...will never understand it. They will never understand that it isn't all about having a pretty yard, though that is for sure a nice benefit. I cannot begin to describe the successes or failures that I have experinced...the anticipation of wondering if a plant is going to survive the winter and the joy felt when it pokes through the ground. You cannot begin to count the number of problems that are solved, conversations with the Lord that have been had or the ideas that are hatched while pulling weeds. It is more about personal growth than plant growth."

Christina Salwitz said...

Beautifully written and so eloquently speaks for many of us gardeners. Thank you!