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?