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Wednesday, June 19, 2024
Growing Together: The true beauty of a garden
"Gardens have a way of growing your patience," writes Joanne Young. "Nothing in a garden happens overnight and there are no instant results." JOANNE YOUNG

You may have picked up on it over the last few years of writing this column, but I just love to garden.

I love every part of it (though, maybe not so much the weeds). 

Every aspect from the planning of a garden, to working the soil, to planting and tending to its needs. 

To me it is more than a job or a hobby — it is a way of life. 

I grew up on a farm, where my family of eight had a very large vegetable garden that would feed us through to the following spring, when the whole process would start over again. 

From as young as I can remember, I could be found out playing in the dirt — sorry, soil … dirt is what you sweep up or what is found under your nails. Even uncovering an earthworm was like an adventure. 

I seemed to gravitate to gardening at an early age, and that love has never left me. 

I love to observe the minute details, whether it is in an intricate flower or watching the way an unassuming insect travels from plant to plant. 

There is a whole different way of life happening right under our noses. 

I can easily get lost in thought when I am in the garden.

One of my favourite garden quotes is by H. Fred Dale, author of “Fred Dale’s Garden Book”: “My green thumb came only as a result of the mistakes I made while learning to see things from the plant’s point of view.”

As much as I know about gardening, I find that the plants are always there reminding me that there is so much more to learn.

You may have one idea of what is best for the plant, but the plant knows better and isn’t shy to show you who’s boss. Most of the things I have learned have been through trial and error.

Even though the garden can be a frustrating place at times and seems like an overwhelming amount of work, hopefully you can take some time this summer to take in the beauty that surrounds you. 

Whether your garden consists of a couple pots on a balcony or an acre of property, you need to take time to soak in its beauty. 

That may involve looking closer at a flower and leaning into its perfume. It may be watching a bee as it hovers at each flower along its travels or watching a large yellow and black swallowtail butterfly float effortlessly through the blue skies. 

There is always something to observe in a garden.

Audrey Hepburn, who, alongside being an actress and humanitarian, was a lover of gardens and nature, once said, “To plant a garden is to dream of tomorrow.” It really is. 

There is something about a garden that gives you hope. It makes you look forward to tomorrow and to going out for a stroll first thing in the morning to see what has changed from the day before.  

Gardens have a way of growing your patience. Nothing in a garden happens overnight and there are no instant results. 

It takes time for a garden to start to mature and become what you once dreamed it would be. But that is the beauty of a garden; its not always about the end result, but about the process of arriving at that destination.  

Here is another quote, this time from garden writer David Hobson: “I grow plants for many reasons: to please my eye or to please my soul, to challenge the elements or to challenge my patience, for novelty or for nostalgia, but mostly for the joy in seeing them grow.”

I love to capture a garden’s beauty on with my camera. Sometimes the photos show even more details than my eyes took in and once again I am amazed by nature.

Even though the flowers in our gardens are usually planted there for our enjoyment, they all serve different purposes in nature. 

Each flower is formed in different ways to attract different insects or birds. Everything in the garden works in harmony with nature, whether we are aware of it or not. 

The garden is so much more than just a collection of plants. It is truly a place of wonderment.

In the words of poet Alfred Austin: “The glory of gardening: hands in the dirt, head in the sun, heart with nature. To nurture a garden is to feed not just the body, but the soul.”

Joanne Young is a Niagara-on-the-Lake garden expert and coach. See her website at joanneyoung.ca.

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