Garden it forward

Snow on a viburnum
Gardeners, please raise your right hand and repeat after me,

"This year I promise, as a gardener, to garden it forward."

Thank you.

How do you garden it forward, now that you've promised to do that?

Here are five ways:

Pass along extra plants, seeds, and produce to those who can use them.

Encourage anyone who shows even a slight interest in gardening to give it a try.

Answer questions about gardening and plants as though it is the first time you've ever heard those questions.

Show others how to garden, even if their garden is a paper cup filled with potting soil.

Be happy in your own garden, no matter what.

There are many other ways to garden it forward. Go forth and do it, and report back on how it is going.

Garden it forward.

(I did, by the way, fall into a bit of a rabbit hole while searching for "garden it foward" on the Internet. I discovered that a somewhat forgotten southern writer, Lily Hardy Hammond is credited with first writing the phrase "pay it forward". She wrote about it in a book she wrote in 1916 - In the Garden of Delights, which really isn't about gardening but is more of a memoir. She wrote in that book, on page 209, "You don't pay love back, you pay it forward."

Love, gardening, it's all the same, right? Well, not really, but the point is, you don't pay another gardener back for helping you learn to garden. You must garden it forward by helping someone else become a gardener, too.)


  1. I, Michael Tervo of Little Patch of Heaven, hereby pledge that "This year I promise, as a gardener, to garden it forward."

    I will do my best to follow the guidelines as stated above, and to Garden It Forward in any way possible, and shall, if I come up with any new ways, report back on my progress.

  2. The perfect thought to begin a new year it forward.

  3. A noble goal to strive towards, Carol, and thanks for the tidbit about Ms. Hammond. Gardeners can help enrich their fellow humans and make the world a better place at the same time.


  4. I promise to do my best to "Garden it Forward"

  5. I can fully embrace this post! I am out educating children about gardening and nature every week in the hopes that one of them will become a gardener. But I admit that there is nothing more thrilling than getting some seeds or a pass-along plant from a friend. It does fill your heart with joy. I hope we will all encourage at least one person to pursue gardening or at least become a better steward of mother nature this year!

  6. Lovely phrase that I truly believe in. A beautiful perspective to live by. Thanks for highlighting it! And thank you for telling us about your rabbit hole experience... I'm going to jump in myself and read more about it.

  7. I will continue to garden it forward this year and hopefully for many to come!

    I think you need that book, Carol.

  8. I think it's all the same. Life began in a garden after all, and life is all about love. Great idea. I didn't know who came up with the phrase.~~Dee

  9. Wonderful advice, Carol, whether it's gardening or life in general, we should all "pay it forward."

  10. Love your thoughts on what a gardener can do for the new year. your post gave me some ideas. thanks. gardening is ever new.

  11. Yes, I will garden it forward. But that's a good quote about love, too.

  12. Carol, happy belated new year!

    Already gardening it forward...the kids gave seed packets from our garden at Christmas time. Think we may have some okra still if you're interested!

  13. It took me over half a year after you posted it to see this post, and I couldn't agree more! Thank you for posting that worthy sentiment - I solemnly swear to keep gardening it forward. I truly believe that if everyone was a gardener, this would be a far better world. Check out this wonderful TED talk for more inspiration - I just happened upon ti the other day. Sooo wonderful...!


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