I once had a sparrow alight upon my shoulder for a moment, while I was hoeing in a village garden, and I felt that I was more distinguished by that circumstance that I should have been by any epaulet I could have worn." Henry David Thoreau
When I see a new kind of bird in my garden, I feel as though it has paid me and my garden a great compliment with its presence. It chose my garden! I must have done something right in my choice of trees and shrubs, in adding bird feeders and bird baths.
When I spot a toad hiding in the damp shade beneath the hosta leaves, I feel honored that he (or she) has chosen my garden to make a home.
When I see a praying mantis, sitting on the edge of a leaf, I feel like it is nodding at me, affirming that I am doing the right thing in my garden by not spraying pesticides at the first sign of an aphid.
The bees buzz their compliments as well on my choice of flowers.
When a tomato ripens, a flower blooms, or the tree leaves change to their autumn colors, I feel as though each has given me its own reward for the time I spend laboring in my garden.
When the rabbits dart out from the strawberry bed.. well, let's not carry this rewards from nature analogy too far...
Like Henry David Thoreau, most of us truly delight in nature being in our gardens. The presence of all the creatures makes us secretly, or perhaps overtly, proud of our gardens, happy to have spent the hours working in it, often in solitude, to make it a place where all of them, birds, toads, bees, spider, insects, and yes, even rabbits, voles, snakes, and squirrels, delight in being.
If we were to wait for someone to come by and present us an award for our gardens, most of us would wait forever. Awards are few and far between, and subject to the rules and intepretations of others.
But when we plant a garden, a good garden, we've already received our award, a hundred times over, from all, both flora and fauna, who chose to dwell within it.
Many thanks to all who voted for me this fall for Blotanical awards and last spring for Mouse & Trowel awards. I am honored to receive them.
Without discrediting these awards, for they, too, have their place, I confess I am more honored by the comments and emails I receive on a daily basis in response to what I write about gardening.
Just like the birds, toads, bees, and even rabbits that become a part of my garden, your thoughts shared in the comments become a part of my blog, extend the conversations, and provide me with the true reward of blogging.