Christmas is right around the corner. This is a joyful time of the year when we celebrate our blessings.
I have met the most wonderful and amazing gardeners through the years. I honestly believe that people who love gardening, as a group, are some of the nicest people around. People who find happiness working with plants are blessed in many ways.
And that brings me to my Gardeners Beatitudes. For many of us, the word “beatitude” brings to mind any of the declarations made in the Bible about the Sermon on the Mount beginning with “Blessed are.” In addition to its more religious uses, however, the word “blessed” also means happy or joyful. So, the phrase “Blessed are” used in the beatitudes can also mean “Joyful are” or “Happy are.”
In the following beatitudes, I tried to reflect on some of the aspects of gardening that bring us joy. You might think of one or two yourself.
Blessed are the gardeners, for they touch the earth with love and understanding.
One of the key elements of gardening is the intimate relationship a gardener has with the soil, natural growth cycles and nurturing life. Gardens can form a vital bridge between people and the natural world we typically push aside.
Blessed are they who plant seeds, for they believe in miracles.
Planting seeds is truly a leap of faith. To scatter small, apparently lifeless objects over the soil, and with proper care to see new life emerge right before your eyes, really is miraculous. There is no more amazing feeling than seeing the first green sprouts of new life pushing aside the earth and growing up into the light.
Blessed is the rain, whenever it comes, for the garden hose is a poor substitute.
Every gardener knows this. As we all saw in the severe drought of last summer, you can irrigate and water all you want, but the garden never responds like it does after a good rain.
Blessed are the vegetable gardeners who reap what they sow, for the harvest they gather is life.
Gardening did not start off with beautiful ornamental plants. The first gardens were utilitarian and provided food and medicines. There is still a special satisfaction that comes from producing food for your family from the garden.
Blessed are the flower gardeners for the beautiful colors and fragrances of flowers nourish our souls.
I say a silent “Thank you” every time I pass a pretty flower garden. The vibrant colors of flower gardens lift our spirits and bring us joy. We do not live by bread alone.
Blessed are they who propagate and share their plants, for they nurture the spirit of gardening.
I’ve never known a gardener not willing to share a plant if they could. Sharing plants is the “glue” of gardening friendships.
Blessed is the first ripe tomato of the summer, for it seems to take an eternity for it to turn red.
Ah, the first ripe, homegrown tomato. Need I say more?
Blessed are the gardeners who share their gardens with other creatures, for they understand that the Earth is not meant for us alone.
Today’s gardeners are far more tolerant of wildlife in the garden and have even learned to appreciate it. We commonly plant pollinator gardens to provide nectar and pollen to insects and birds. We plant native plants to serve as food sources for native wildlife. We care.
Blessed are shady gardens in the middle of the summer.
Honestly, we put up with a lot during the summer. The heat and humidity seem to go on forever. But, on a scorching summer day, there are the shady areas that, while not exactly cool, are at least tolerable.
Blessed is the compost pile, which takes the refuse of the garden and turns it into something that helps work miracles.
There is no finer soil amendment than homemade compost, and it’s free. If you are not recycling organic waste like fallen leaves (plenty now), grass clippings and other garden waste, you really should. It’s not hard.
Blessed are the gardeners that try new and different plants. Though the failures may be many, the successes are like finding a new friend.
How will we ever find wonderful new plants for our gardens unless we try out plants we have never grown before? Be prepared for disappointments, but the successes are wonderful.
Blessed are the gardeners that rest from their labors and take the time to appreciate what they have created.
Be sure to take time to simply sit and enjoy your garden. Sometimes, just meander through your landscape appreciating what each plant contributes. And relax – your garden does not always have to look like the cover of a magazine.
Blessed are you when you walk into your garden and touch a leaf or smell a flower, for you know beyond all else that you are home.
A garden does not come into being from a single act, but through continuous and dedicated effort over time. This effort creates a special bond that anchors gardeners to their gardens. They are a place where we belong and feel needed — a place like home.
Garden columnist Dan Gill answers readers’ questions each week. To send a question, email Gill at firstname.lastname@example.org.