That Gardening is so Rewarding and Gratifying

I lived in suburbia all of my life but often spent weekends and summers with my my elders in the country. I grew up around farmers and people that grew plants as both a means of income and a way to feed their own families. They also grew flowering plants as a way to brighten their days.Most were plants with no value as a food or a sale crop but nonetheless, they earned their place on valuable land.

How I wish someone would have shared the joy of placing that single seed in the dirt so I could have seen what it could do and what it would become! That single seed goes through so much change in its life whether it is a short life or a long life and it completes its own circle of life. If it’s cared for and nurtured, it thrives and knows exactly what to do. Even if tossed aside or dropped on the dirt, it may still go on or it may struggle and possibly even die, but it doesn’t know that it should just give up! It was not taught to quit.

This is something I’ve tried to share with my own children. Sometimes no matter how much we care or try, things may have a sad ending. Other times, over caring for things can cause them hardship. More times than not, that little bit of time giving and nurturing, will give us back something worthwhile and maybe even something spectacular.

Although pulling weeds may not be fun, it is necessary for the life of the plants around them. Sometimes it is a burden to drag the hose across the yard in the heat of the summer but the fish in the pond, the small animals we raise and the plants we are growing, need that water to survive. Even though we have to feed and water the animals in the rain, snow, heat and dark, they give us back manure that is good for the plants. They teach us to be responsible and to take the time to say hello or give them a little nuzzle. Taking two minutes to carry coffee grounds, egg shells and vegetable waste to the compost are worthwhile because we can feed that compost back to the plants and make their lives better. That makes our life better and it makes our life easier.

Anything we do no matter how big or small, to make life better is worthwhile. And it’s rewarding!

I often think of a time a few years ago, when I was outside rooting coleus. I let the extra leaves and stems drop to the ground. My eldest daughter was fairly young and she grabbed up the little pieces and leaves, asking me why I was throwing them on the ground, almost demanding that they had the right to live. I told her those little pieces and leaves would not grow and showed her all the cuttings that I had already started and told her how they would all be likely to survive as I had chosen the best plants and the best parts of those plants for rooting. She would not give up. She got her own cell pack and her own seedling mix and planted all those cast offs I had deemed unworthy. She watered them dutifully and kept them in the shade and checked them often. I think every single one of them rooted, grew and flourished and they were her plants. I learned that day that I did not know everything and also that I didn’t give them a chance to be what they were.

While this might not be worthwhile for growing on a large scale, it did show me how awesome life can be if given a chance and not to discard things so quickly. I also came to the realization that she had her own ideas about things and that would not change just because I tried to discourage her.How neat it must be to see things through the eyes of a child and to be open to the wonders of the unknown!

Life is busy and crazy when you have children and often there is not much time to slow down and listen and enjoy the simple things. When they are interested, I try to take the time to hear them, encourage them and let them learn things on their own and help them when asked. The hardest part is not interfering when they do not want my help. I let them start their own seeds, do their own planting, choose their own crosses and I let them chose to pull weeds and water, or not. It is a wonderful way to teach them to nurture what they have and encourage them to seek out and learn about other things. They’ve learned also learned what happens when things are neglected because we were too busy or had something more important to do.

I’ve learned many things myself. Sometimes I am the teacher and sometimes I’m the student. I do not know everything. Some things cannot be learned in a book or on the internet. Kids that do not want to pull weeds should not if you want to keep plants around them. Kids love to look at catalogs and have opinions about what would or would not be good to grow and trust me, they feel very strongly about it! Mostly I’ve learned to listen to what they say as well as what they don’t say.

You have already planted the seed and it has started to flower. Raise that gardener on their terms and see just how spectacular it can be! Now is a great time to get started with all those wonderful catalogs sitting there. My children love to look at those beautiful catalogs and make thousand dollar wish lists that make me cringe. I make my own thousand dollar wish lists that make me cringe! They know and I know, we can’t possibly buy them but that is why they are called wish lists! It’s the stuff that dreams are made of and sometimes dreams come true.

Imagine all the things we could do or might have done, if no one had said it was not worthwhile!