Why do you garden?

OHS Garden Tour 2009 220

With winter creeping this way, have you considered why you garden?  Winter is a time of rest, renewal and review.  Why do we shovel load after load of manure and leaf mold?  Why do we keep trying to grow a particular plant even when it would be much easier to throw in the trowel?  After all, much of the world’s population never even sticks its hands into the local dirt, while others garden no matter where they live.  Think of balcony container gardens, green walls and green roofs.  Even city life can’t keep true gardeners down.

While you’re thinking on this, my friend, Mary Ann of Idaho Gardener fame, is holding a little contest over at her place on why you garden.  She assures me the prizes are splendid, so why not join in the fun?

Why do I garden?

The question brings a smile to my face.  You might as well ask me why I breathe.  Growing things is as much a part of me as eating, sleeping and writing, and I don’t know how I could live without any of these.  A long standing joke with my best friend, Aimee, is about my worst nightmare.  When I am old and grizzled, and no longer able to turn a spade full of the good earth (God forbid), the nursing home staff will wheel me into the rec room and plant me in front of the TV.   The only thing playing will either be a real estate show (think Flip this House), or one of those horrid, HGTV remodel specials.  HH and I spent six years of our lives expanding our house and remodeling (doing most of the work ourselves).  ‘Nuff said.

However, if I’m very lucky, instead, there will be reruns of A Gardener’s Diary with Erica Glasener looking as beautiful as she does here.  As my teenagers say, with that I could “deal.”

Erica Glasener and me in Raleigh at GWA.  It was great to meet this fellow nature lover.
Erica Glasener and me in Raleigh at GWA. It was great to meet this fellow nature lover.

All kidding aside, winter is on its way, and even in Oklahoma, gray trees and brown grass seem a bit like one long rerun.  That’s why I have five different Amaryllis going right now:  ‘Red Lion‘, ‘Royal Velvet‘, ‘Charisma‘, ‘White Christmas‘ and ‘Elvas’ are just starting to show a bit of green.  If you decide to plant some Amaryllis of your own, remember to plant them shallow in their containers.  They don’t need much soil because their energy is stored up in the bulb.  Don’t cover more than half of the bulb with potting mix, and water very little, or they might rot.  Otherwise, amaryllis are foolproof and offer a lot of bang for the buck.  I found all of mine locally at TLC nursery, Lowe’s and Precure nursery.  In the garage refrigerator, I also have double hyacinths and some daffodils doing the big chill.  They need at least six to eight weeks of cool weather to trick them into bloom, and in Oklahoma’s crazy weather, the garage may not be cool enough.  I started a bit late on these, but I figure they will be pretty once the amaryllis have faded.  I’m planning on putting them on top of rocks for forcing or using a beautiful, cobalt, blue, bulb-forcing vase I bought on ebay.

Amaryllis, probably 'Red Lion'
Amaryllis, probably 'Red Lion'

This is how I make it through the winter when the days are cloudy with a chance of rain, and with color like this, I only dream sweet, sweet tidings of spring.


  1. Jean says:

    So true, Dee, so true. Gardening is a part of me I can’t deny, and it always will be. Last night I dreamed I was at this weird garden center where there was a sign for half price bulbs but I couldn’t find where they put them, ha! So I also tend to eat, breathe, and literally sleep it. One of my first memories is playing with my grandmother’s potting soil and trowel. And then I majored in Biology in college, taking mostly Botany courses. So I think gardening is here to stay for me.

    I love your amaryllis. I wish I had a good place for them in the house.

    Have I told you lately how much I love your blog? 🙂
    .-= Jean´s last blog ..Non-native and Invasive =-.

  2. carolyngail says:

    Ours is not to reason why, ours is but to do or die 🙂

    To quote the great Francis Bacon ” A garden is the purest of human pleasures. It is the greatest refreshment to the spirits of man, without which buildings and palaces are but grass handiworks. ”

    Gardening is joy and tranquility, a place of refuge. It is a work of art created by the gardener’s hands. It is a source of health and knowledge, teaching one patience and perseverance.

    I have been gardening since I was ten . Not for pleasure , for I found it nothing more than a serious responsibility to tend to the vegetable garden that fed our family . Only after I left it did I miss gardening and re-discovered it in the big concrete jungle of the city.

    As I grow older I also grow more passionate about my garden. I aspire to be like the strong , healthy sisters of my Irish mother who maintained gardens into their 90’s. And I hope to cultivate the sense of humor I found so endearing in them. When I visited my favorite Aunt Nell on her 90th birthday we were all predicting that she’d live to be a hundred. ” She had outlived 4 husbands . ” Well, ” she said, ” I might just live that long to aggravate Viriginia some more. ” Cousin Virginia was 70 , had never gardened or from the looks of her exercised at all . Obese and in poor health she lived with Aunt Nell who took care of her.

    Old gardeners never die, Dee, they just spade away 🙂 Thanks for asking .
    .-= carolyngail´s last blog ..NOVEMBER BLOOMS AT SWEET GARDEN CHICAGO =-.

  3. Cinj says:

    I was actually thinking about making hubby’s grandpa a raised planting area so he could get some gardening done. He’s 91 and living with MIL who also has trouble getting up and down already at 65. I can’t imagine. Gardening is like breathing, I can’t live anywhere without planting something, it just wouldn’t be right!

    Cinj, that’s a great idea. I would keep it small and reachable across without much bending. You could put the bed on stilts.~~Dee

  4. Kaitlyn says:

    As a relative newbie to the whole gardening thing, I don’t know how I did without it before. After little over a year of planting and watching things grow, I just can’t imagine what satisfaction my non-gardening friends could possibly get from….well…I’m not really sure what they “do”.
    .-= Kaitlyn´s last blog ..Picture Post: A Literary Mind =-.

  5. Brenda Kula says:

    Dee, I have so much I want to tell you! I shall email you. When you’re old and stuck in a wheelchair, make them give you some pots and soil to have a window garden at the very least. That’s what I plan to do! When I’m not gardening in some capacity, I will be dead!
    .-= Brenda Kula´s last blog ..Windows Live Writer Tutorial =-.

  6. I’m so jealous you got to meet Erica Glasener. I’m such a fan of hers. I’ve already pickeed out the retirement/nursing facility I want to end up in; I saw it on a garden tour. There are several areas of in the ground gardens and container gardens for the residents to plant as they choose. I’m going to keep gardening as long as I can. I garden because I have to
    .-= Mr. McGregor’s Daughter´s last blog ..A Gardener’s Wish List =-.

  7. Hey Dee,

    Very nice perspective Dee. H.
    .-= Helen Yoest @ Gardening With Confidence´s last blog ..A New Native Fall Blooming Dogwood? =-.

  8. Lou says:

    “Throw in the trowel” FUNNY! Love your blog, and love knowing that you’re a fellow member of Garden Writers Association. I’m a fairly new member (first year) and really enjoyed the Raleigh conference. I’m also brand new to blogging, so I hope you’ll stop by my plot for a peek. As for why I garden, it’s because I must. I’m inwardly driven to till the soil and bring forth new life. If I can eat it, all the better.
    .-= Lou´s last blog ..Best of Monterey in photographs =-.

  9. Rose says:

    I love this post, Dee! I wonder, too, what I will do when the day comes I can no longer get on my knees to plant flowers. Maybe I’ll have a house full of African violets and ivy instead. I certainly won’t be watching HGTV’s shows anymore–they might as well take out the “Garden” in their name! Thanks for the tips on the amaryllis; I still have mine from last winter and am hoping I can get it to bloom this year. Lord knows I’m going to need something colorful in January and February!
    .-= Rose´s last blog ..ABC Wednesday: Raining Leaves =-.

  10. Joy says:

    Dee girl .. I missed the train for some time and haven’t been here in a while.
    I love the new look (to me right now ?) of your blog .. it is beautiful and the header picture is awesome !
    Doug and I share similar views about winter dormancy .. although our season can be rather short .. it is INTENSE and it does wear me out.
    BUT .. the thought of “not” gardening ? I can’t even perceive that idea !
    It is totally innate within me .. I moved so many times, the army life being that of a gypsy ? .. that once we did indeed settle down .. I was finally able to put my garden roots in this soil and truly come alive … there are no words that can express it.
    When I have to leave this earth finally, I hope it is a quiet moment in the garden when I topple over ? LOL
    .-= Joy´s last blog ..An Almost Desperation Post ?? =-.

  11. Doug Green says:

    I garden because…. well, because…. well, because it feels good. But I don’t garden in the winter. I, like my northern plants, go dormant. No overwintering annuals, no houseplants, no watering or fussing. Dormancy. Rest. I could wax poetic about this (and have in the past) but the reality is that I garden better when I take a break. When I think about my garden and relax into it rather than trying to make it “better”. It’s that relaxation – that zen of gardening if you will – that brings my garden and me alive.
    .-= Doug Green´s last blog ..Not Your Basic Bird House =-.

  12. Gail says:

    Dee, It’s a very good question and one that I am pondering…If we ever have to move to a retirement community there has to be a little bit of ground for me. gail
    .-= Gail´s last blog ..Fairegarden Style =-.

  13. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    It is most difficult to say why one gardens. Just because we have to.

  14. Yes, we need our plants to get through the winter and through our lives.
    .-= Carol, May Dreams Gardens´s last blog ..The Accidental Terrarium =-.

  15. Oh Dee, love how you have written this and you were meant for gardening that’s for sure. I’m coming by also to thank you for participating in Operation Christmas Child. Thank you so much. With your help, we raised $800 and made 20 boxes for the little kids.
    .-= Anna/Flowergardengirl´s last blog ..Motoring right along won’t you join me =-.

  16. deb says:

    as you said, “It is what I do.” cannot imagine this life without growing something.

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