Great Experiences of Gardening

It seems fitting that on the last day of my gardening holiday, the lilacs should bloom. As I worked around the yard, carrying newly purchased plants from the front porch to the back patio, I made it a point to walk on the side of the house where the lilacs bloom so I could smell them over and over again.

This has been an outstanding year for lilac blooms, one of the best that I can remember.

I think lilacs are one of the great experiences of gardening where the winters get cold enough for them to live. In a way, it is a reason for living where there are cold winters.

So what are great experiences of gardening? They are those events that make even a busy gardener, one who moves about the garden purposely and quickly trying to get everything done, stop for a moment to enjoy the experience.

Here's what makes me stop and enjoy the experience. I wish all gardeners (and other people, too) could experience these things:

1.The taste of a home-grown tomato, still warm from the sun, eaten while standing in the garden.

2. The sweetness of an ear of sweet corn, grown in your own garden and cooked within minutes of being picked.

3, Fresh peas from the garden.

4. Fresh anything from you own garden.

5. The smell of lilacs in the spring.

6. Living and staying someplace long enough to sit in the shade of a tree you planted yourself.

7. Watching a night-blooming cereus bloom on a hot summer night.

8. The silence of a garden completely blanketed in snow.

9. Seeing a flower bloom in the snow.

10. Getting a special passalong plant from a friend or family member, a plant that has a history of being passed along and isn’t one of those invasive, ‘take all you want’ kind of plants.

What experiences would you add to this list?


  1. Looking around my garden when I was feeling down and realizing I'd created someplace beautiful that could make me feel better about the world and myself.

  2. Laying a garden path then seeing the smile on a friends face as they walk toward you to sit in the garden and visit.

  3. Picking a great big bouque of flowers from your garden and placing them in a big ol' vase in the middle of the dining room table


    Watching the butterflies dance about the garden ;)

  4. Wonderful post.

    Seeing a hummingbird flit around a garden filled with flowers you've lovingly tended.

    Smelling any freshly blooming flowers growing in the garden. Especially roses and peonies.

  5. I can never look at your lilac picture without thinking its some sort of photoshopped catalog plant. Are there actually plants in the world that look like that. Amazing! It's enough to make me move to a more temperate climate. (I have to go look at your winter photos again to calm myself down.)

    In my garden, there are three things I live for each year: the Tulipa clusiana, the oxblood lilies, and the rose 'Souvenir de la Malmaison'.

    I hope, however, to expand that list with more experience.

  6. That is some lilac hedge. Even though I do go on and on about lilies, this time of year is one I really love here. The tulips, the viburnum, and yes, the lilacs.

  7. The first days of spring when the wildflowers begin to emerge and April when the Phlox pilosa begins her parade through the gardens.


  8. I love the 'garden surprises'! There are so many of them in May when the buds break into full bloom on an unusually warm afternoon. Also the birds and the butterflies and the bees, of course. Tranquility will come in June when the work is done!

  9. I think my greatest joy is dreaming a dream and watching it slowly come to a form different from your original dream, because it is even more wonderful than you could have imagined.

    Gardening is full of surprises.

  10. I would add sitting back and watching my children enjoy the flowers, bugs, and just generally mucking about in the dirt. Seeing the garden through their eyes is as close as I can get to reliving the joy I felt in the garden when I was a child.

  11. My personal favorite is munching on green beans fresh from the vine. You are right, Carol. There is nothing like enjoying the fruits of your labor straight from the garden. One of the things I love the most this time of year are the daily surprises. Each day something new blossoms and it's always a wondrous occasion.

  12. Catching a wiff of the Crabapple & Magnolia stellata in full bloom, watching an Egret or Heron fish, the first Hellebore bloom, running my fingers through the Dutchman's Breeches foliage, watching a Bumblebee trying to get nectar from a Shooting Star, smelling the fruity flowers of Calycanthus 'Athens,' & smelling the grape scent of Actea 'Black Negligee.'

  13. You're right the Lilacs seem to be having a great year. Mine have really out done themselves.

    My greatest experience / thrill when it comes to gardening is getting a free pass on creativity. It's not work when you get to do something you love. Even if it's shoveling yards of soil or hauling tons of rock. And it's getting even better - I get other's asking me to do my own thing in their yards now :)

  14. Really beautiful!
    Excellent garden.
    have a nice week

  15. For me it was seeing the very first perennials that I had ever planted (last year) come back this spring. It was such a miracle to see them develop over the last month.

  16. Since I don't have a vegetable garden, the thrill for me is watching the fabulous pollinators find their way to the flowers. Seeing perennials come back another year and watching seeds sprout are thrilling too.

  17. Having fresh figs from your own garden would be nice I guess. Add your plant or vegetable collection would be nice too.

  18. Carol, Those lilacs might make me give up year round tropical lushness and move to Indiana. WOW- I am imagining they scent up your whole garden!

    I would add the pleasure of sitting in the middle of my garden underneath the oak trees (that I planted) with the gentle breezes cooling the evening (or morning) air. AND enjoying a meal with family on the back patio overlooking all the pretty flowers, shrubs, butterflies and bird activity.
    Meems @Hoe&Shovel

  19. This is lovely post! Getting enough peppers for peppers-and-eggs is pretty special, and it's a lovely experience when anything fragrant opens, but the special pleasure of mid-May is that the leaves have expanded on the trees and shrubs in the back, hiding the neighbors' houses and marking the welcome return of my Green Screen.

    Carol, I hope that link to the Stapelia post means the rooted cutting made it?

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose

  20. I would add cutting flowers for the vase. With a gorgeous lilac hedge like that you can afford a few blooms for inside. As you know I grow many scented plants and love cutting the flowers to put into vases all over the house so I can experience their wonderful scent indoors too.

    Another thing I'd like to add would be: being in my greenhouse potting up plants while a soft May drizzle falls on the roof.

    And the most important thing of all: just being in the garden, enjoying it all!

    Fun post Carol!

  21. I like sitting on my back deck and looking at the green jungle of my backyard. When I get discouraged at how slowly things are filling in and start noticing awkward areas, I just remind myself that 2 years ago, there was the world's ugliest above-ground pool where the trees are, and a stinky cinderblock goldfish pond where there are roses currently blooming. Then I wallow in smugness until I get distracted by the invincible army of aphids trying to eat all of the blooms off my guara. ;)

  22. I love picking up a shovel full of dirt and seeing rich, rich soil. Not clay, but rich, rich soil.

  23. All.. thanks for all the great comments! There are so many great experiences of gardening. No way could a gardener ever get bored!

    Carol, May Dreams Gardens

  24. great post! I will add, using fresh herbs from the garden, watching the roses bloom, watching everything first come up in the spring and seeing what survived the winter, discovering new garden creatures with my daughter, watching my compost turn into something wonderful and usable for the garden.


Post a Comment

Comments are to a blog what flowers are to a garden. Sow your thoughts here and may all your comments multiply as blooms in your garden.

Though there is never enough time to respond to each comment individually these days, please know that I do read and love each one and will try to reciprocate on your blog.

By the way, if you are leaving a comment just so you can include a link to your business site, the garden fairies will find it and compost it!