Ah … it’s my favorite time of the year. We all have different tastes, different reasons why one season floats our boat and others we might dread. Spring promises new hope, new growth and the promise of flowers and food. As Mother Nature closes the curtain on ice and cold, she opens the window to cleansing rain, blue skies, milder temperatures and fragrances that bring back memories of our childhoods.
Growing up in central Illinois, I enjoyed the greening of the pastures, the flow of the creek and planting of our spring garden. My mom planted by seed a large vegetable garden with tomatoes, sweet corn, peppers, carrots, radish, peas, onions, and potatoes. Perennials like rhubarb, horseradish, strawberries and asparagus would appear like magic from the earth.
The surrounding vines produced grapes, canes of raspberries, and we had trees of peach, plum, apple, apricot and cherries. Our neighbor’s trees produced amazing pears.
Patio GardeningI think back about those incredible crops and the bounty they provided us, supplementing a large grocery bill for five kids. Mom sure knew her gardening and how to massage the land to benefit our cupboards.
Today, I think a lot of people don’t realize where our food comes from, how it is grown, the care and expertise it takes to cultivate a crop from farm to table. Or from seed to flower to vase.
Gardens come in a lot of different forms — from the traditional country vegetable garden that I grew up with to the French formal gardens at Versailles, and so many other types and configurations in between.
Almost every ethnic group has a type of garden; there are Chinese gardens, Dutch gardens, English gardens, American colonial gardens, Japanese-style gardens, Spanish and Italian gardens just to name a few.
Then there are gardens that have distinct purposes like herb gardens, cut-flower gardens, butterfly and bee gardens, and perennial gardens.
Trends in today’s gardening world are community and communal gardens, sharing a row for the hungry or food shares.
Container gardening that requires little space, reduced watering and labor, but produces great results. There are sacred gardens, hanging gardens, rose gardens, and even Biblical gardens.
Some gardens are just for shade, some tolerate the baking sun. There are gardens that are made up of cactus, hedges, low walls and fences, yet others that are terraced in mountainous regions.
Many gardens can feed a village while others are just to sprout some mint for a Mojito in a window box garden.
The role of the garden is ever changing. Their essence touches all of our senses, sight, smell, taste, touch and even sound, as the water trickles into a water garden filled with lily pads and croaking frogs.
Even the Zen rock garden with minimal bonsai evergreens gives us a place to reflect and enjoy nature.
Gardening is therapeutic. When you’re on your knees with your hands in the dirt, you don’t get much closer to nature than that.
So, I encourage you to find your inner gardener and enjoy the feeling of connecting with Mother Earth and all she has to offer. Just plant something and enjoy how your garden grows.