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Monday, October 11, 2010

Happiest Moments in a Garden

We gardeners must look strange to those looking at us from the other side of the fence.

There we are, sweat dripping down our dirt streaked faces and errant leaves and twigs stuck in our hair. Our hands are dirty and so are our clothes. We barely notice others watching us over the fence because we are completely engrossed in whatever we are doing in the garden at that moment.

But we are smiling. Why? Not because we think it will make others suspicious of our sanity, even though it might.

We are smiling because we are happiest in a garden.

I asked several other garden bloggers to tell me about their happiest/fondest moment in the garden.

Dee of Red Dirt Ramblings wrote me and said “My happiest moment in my garden was when I made the Sunflower house with my oldest two children who were four and two at the time. I'd read Sharon Lovejoy’s book, and I wanted to plant a sunflower house for the two of them. We dug a small trench in the yard in a semi-circle. Then, we carefully planted sunflower seeds and hollyhocks outside the doorway. Morning glories were planted to clamber up the tall sunflowers and lace across them. We enjoyed that house until the winter winds took it down. It remains my fondest memory.”

Leslie of Growing a Garden in Davis recalled a special time in the garden with her granddaughter, “Gardening with my granddaughter who now looks at other people's gardens when we go for a walk and chooses things we should get and who says "Come on Nonna...let's garden!" every time we go outside.”

Jo Ellen, the Hoosier Gardener, replied that one of her happiest moments was last spring. “One of my fondest was recently, when I returned from the Netherlands in April. As I pulled into the driveway, spring was in bloom, filling the garden with the incredible fragrance of viburnums, bluebells and daffodils. The color was spectacular, too. In fall, it's the fragrance again, the rich, crusty smell of spent leaves and grass.”

For Gail of Clay and Limestone, it was a similar fond moment, when it all comes together, “There have been many and they all have one thing in common. I am completely in the moment. All my senses are engaged; I'm not worrying about unfinished projects, about how the garden looks or about what others might think. I am there drinking it all in and it is delicious.”

Kathy from Cold Climate Gardening sent me several happy moments, one of them being “I’m also happy to see the first anything in my garden: the first snowdrop, the first daffodil, the first rose... And I'm pretty happy after a couple of hours weeding in nice, moist earth, the sun shining but not too hot, and a gentle breeze blowing, with the song of birds or the sound of children playing happily in the background.”

Barbara of Mr. McGregor’s Daughter wrote, “My happiest moment in the garden happens every year, when I find the first snowdrop in bloom. Even though my fingers and toes are cold, my heart is warmed by the proof that winter will end soon. That little bloom is the promise of spring, the spark of hope, and the rebirth of garden for another year.”

And Frances of Fairegarden wrote, “While I have many, many happy moments, especially with family members, the sighting of the hummingbird in the waterfall may be the most wonderful.”

There are common threads in these responses.

We are happy when others, especially children, join us in the garden.

We are happy in those special moments when everything seems to come together in the garden and we can just enjoy it.

And we are happy when we can enjoy those firsts of each season, no matter how many times we experience them.

Knowing these moments are there in the garden, waiting to be discovered and enjoyed, makes all the sweat, dirt, and even tears worthwhile.

And my happiest, fondest moment in a garden?

When a bloom, a scent or a simple act of gardening - like hoeing, planting a tree or sowing a row of seeds - triggers a forgotten memory of all those who gardened before me and with me.

And what is yours?

20 comments:

islandgal246 said...

When I plant from a seed, nurture it and watch it grow, when the first bud appears or the morning I see a flower for the first time. It is excitement I cannot keep to myself. I scream with excitement like someone demented or someone who got hurt(my husband's description). I hurry back to the house to call anyone I can get to show this wondrous discovery.

TerryD said...

Gardeners are merely strange? What an odd notion. I thought we were all complete nut-cases!

I'd like to encourage all gardeners to experiment with a little hybridisation because if you get so much pleasure from creating, working in and observing your gardens, just imagine the shear joy of seeing new forms of your favourite plants - that you made.

There's generally a whole season's (at least) anticipation and then, if you're really lucky, one of the seedlings you raise will be a stunner. Try it. I did. It hooked me.

fairegarden said...

Dear Carol, all moments in the garden are happy ones, including taxing physical labor. When such work is being done, I do not hear, see or think about other people, even if they are standing there speaking to me! I am in the zone, the happy zone! Thanks for the linkage and sharing with all this happiness! :-)
Frances

~fer said...

I have so many happy moments in the garden.
Some of my favorites are. Getting a fruit from a plant you have been taking care all season.
Seeing the new sprouts on a plant after it almost die for whatever reason.
Seeing new sprouts come out after sowing some seeds.

And of course just being at the garden, admiring and having a nice relaxing time surrounded by what one have grown

Gail said...

Dear Carol, I am almost always happy in the garden~Even when frustrated by a garden problem~It's still so much fun! I can't imagine ever not gardening! It's the most healing place for me to go if I need to mull over a problem. Thank you for the link! xogail

Mr. McGregor's Daughter said...

Thanks for the linky and sharing my experience. It was difficult to choose just one moment, as there are so many. It seems I'm happiest in the garden.

Helen Yoest @ Gardening With Confidence said...

Happy moments such as these is why gardening is so important. We may not always realize it while we're garden, but everyday in the garden is a day for a new happy memory. H.

EAL said...

Sorry I did not contribute to this! But I am sure you could have guessed that I am happiest just sitting in the garden on a summer day, listening to the cicadas and inhaling the scents. If weather permits, however, I plan on having a good time over the coming days potting up bulbs outside.

Leslie said...

It's true that there are innumerable happy moments in the garden...I guess gardening is the the drug of choice for most of us! Thanks for the link!

Ginny said...

It was so nice to start a Monday morning off reading this post!

gardenwalkgardentalk.com said...

What a nice question to ask your friends. Family and friends seems to be the most popular answer, and rightly so. Gardens are happy places whether you are by yourself or surrounded by a gang of friends. Gardens just bring smiles.

Connie said...

My happiest moments are when the work is done, and the garden is stunning, and my trust 35 mm camera goes to work capturing what we've grown. My hubby loves the work, and I love the photography. Together, it's like creating a masterpiece of our own.

Msrobin said...

My happiest garden moments invariably happen at sunset, with the hose in my hand, smelling the rose fragrance in the air, the breeze blowing my hair, with bees, birds and butterflies surrounding me, and a golden sunset in the sky. Now that's heaven on earth!

Marianne Peters said...

My favorite moments are the times I've made discoveries along with my daughters. Swallowtail caterpillars on the parsley. Ladybugs chomping on aphids (yea!). Baby mice chirping for their mom, and then hearing her respond (from somewhere under my foundation -- ack!). Picking green beans, then surprising a nest of baby rabbits right under our feet. Having the girls dispose of those juicy tomato hornworms (then adopt one and feed it tomato leaves!). Pulling weeds as a family, watching the sunset, and talking about our day. Great memories!

Janet/Plantaliscious said...

I regularly chat to neighbours whilst wishing they would go away so that I could get on with the gardening, only to discover I had yet again pushed by glasses up my nose with muddy fingers and therefore looked like an urchin... There are so many things I love about gardening, but two favourites are picking a cherry tomato and chomping it as I try to decide what do tackle next, and the perennial excitement of spotting that seeds had germinated.

Sharon Lovejoy said...

Oh this is so WONDERFUL...and to see that Dee mentions my first book Sunflower Houses makes me feel like a zillion trillion wildflowers in bloom.

My happiest moment is always first thing in the morning when I walk outdoors in my nightgown and greet the new day in the garden. Here is a snippet from my favorite 16th century poem, "I like to go out on a walk and with each plant and flower talk."

Garden joys to you,

Sharon Lovejoy Writes from Sunflower House and a Little Green Island

Lisa at Greenbow said...

It is difficult to describe on particular happy moment. I must say the garden awaiting my arrival every morning makes me happy. It is always there needing my love and attention. Giving me so much more than I give it in flowers, greenery, wildlife. Such a happy place.

Kathy said...

It was a good question to ask, and a difficult one to answer. When are we not happy in our gardens?

Rose said...

A lovely post, Carol! I can relate to every comment made here from seeing the first tulips and daffodils in the spring to having a hummingbird come in close for a visit to gardening with a grandchild. I've had so many happy moments in the garden that it makes me wonder ... what did I do before I started gardening??

Melissa King said...

I absolutely love this blog post! I am smiling over and over again as I read all the responses. Must be we are all in tune with each other because every comment resonated with me. I am happiest when I watch each tiny new seedling emerge from the soil to say, "Here I am, watch me grow!" Just like children, each new plant is a blessing that reminds us how special life truly is.

I am getting double joy now when I take my one-year-old grandson into the garden. He observes everything with "new" eyes and delights in every sight, touch, sound, and smell. The sparkle in his eyes tells me that he appreciates Mother Nature more than words can say.

Thank you for offering this delicious dialogue!