Gardening…differently (Part 1)

Concombre épineux © Jardin botanique de Montréal (Gilles Murray)
Gardening…differently (Part 1)

In a fast-paced world where we’re all short on time, gardening can easily become a chore. To avoid this, it’s necessary, according to Felder Rushing, author of Slow Gardening: A No-Stress Philosophy for All Senses and Seasons, to create a garden in our own personal style, that we can actually enjoy taking care of.

Focus on fun

Every year I flip through supply catalogues, I let myself be tempted by new varieties of vegetables, I plant the seeds and I marvel at the life that flourishes as time passes. In fact, I have just as much fun growing my tomatoes and cucumbers as I have eating them. For gardening to be a pleasant experience, it has to be made into a time for relaxing, during which one can live fully in the moment, with the understanding, of course, that the process is as important as the result. Rushing advises us to not try to accomplish everything at once, to not hesitate to get our hands dirty, and to share our knowledge as well as the fruits of our labor with others. In fact, Slow Gardening® draws heavily on the Slow Food movement born in Italy in the 1980s: both movements promote the consumption of local products, the use of sustainable practices and the strengthening of social ties through sharing.

A garden to live in

Owing to a lack of time, many people hire landscapers to maintain their gardens. Gardening then becomes more of a consumer activity, depriving the owners of an extraordinary experience. Gardening is not just a series of chores. It’s also an opportunity to observe a butterfly gathering pollen, to create a combination of plants that is pleasant to contemplate, and to become fully aware of the multiple relationships that fauna and flora have with each other. Personally, I often walk around my garden when I come home from work for the simple pleasure of connecting with nature. I also want to inspect the plants. Not all the surprises are bad... I recently discovered that my variegated weigela had produced a shoot of golden yellow leaves, which I quickly propagated with cuttings. If this characteristic continues, I’ll have a new cultivar!

A garden to create connections

The act of sharing promotes interconnection. Giving a daylily plant to a colleague, helping a friend plant a tree, expressing wonder to a neighbor at the flowering of a magnolia can fulfill some of our social needs. All the “slow” movements value activities that create relationships with family, friends, in the community, with our environments, but also with what we feel – in other words, with ourselves. Taking the time to prepare and enjoy a meal with family (prepared with produce from your garden!) is a very different experience from ordering a pizza and bolting it down alone, glued to an electronic tablet. So – living and gardening differently is possible! If you want to know more about gardening without stress or pressure, watch for my next blog...

Read part 2

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