Wednesday, November 08, 2006

What Defines Someone as a Gardener?

By Christina VanGinkel

I had printed out a list of the various blogs I like to write for, and the different websites and print publications that I have written for in the past, or have ideas that I would like to follow up with a submission. The list was solely for my own personal reference as I have been going though a stage where I feel if I could just get a bit more organized; I would somehow discover more time in my days. By seeing what I am accomplishing, I hope it will also provide inspiration for even more articles, as I am at my happiest when I am getting the opportunity to share my thoughts and ideas with others through my words.

The list was lying by my desk where my husband had sat down to do a bit of bill paying. I saw him glancing at the list, but was unprepared when he turned to me and with all the sincerity in his voice he could muster, asked me if I wrote much for the gardening blog I had in the list.

Why would he ask me that was my response? Well, he went on to say that while we both enjoyed gardening, he was the true gardener in the family, and he could not imagine that I would have a lot to say on the subject, as I mostly just enjoyed the garden after he did the work.

I thought on this for a moment before answering, because part of what he had said was true. If I had to appoint one of the two of us as the official gardener in the house, he would win without trouble. He has a knack with plants that I have never been able to achieve. He can take a seedling that is on its last day here on Earth, and in a few days time have that seedling looking as if it were the ideal specimen to represent whatever plant family it was from. He can also tell a weed from a plant, whereas for as many years as I have been pulling weeds, I invariably still pull plants that were supposed to be in the garden!

I do love to garden, but I love even more to spend time sitting and admiring it.. Too often in the past, when I have tried to pull my fair share of the work involved with our gardens, I end up doing more damage than help. Still, I love other garden related chores, This spring, tired of a walkway design that I had created a few years ago, I ripped up all the offending parts of the design, and even carted away all the removed edging and stone. My husband liked how it turned out and the walkway is much the better for the work I did. I am also good at picking out garden art, and creating it. I have contributed birdhouses both wooden and those made of natural materials, i.e., gourds. When I reminded him of these parts of my time in the garden, he did concede that I was right (that was a first!), as far as those things were concerned. He even told me he really liked the last gourd I had painted and made into a birdhouse.

I also help keep the many bird feeders full throughout the year and when we had a problem last winter with a disease that was spreading through the smaller birds who visited the feeders, it was me who took them all down, bleached them all, and put them back out.

I might not be the proverbial green thumb contributor to our garden, but I do contribute. I also reap the rewards that come from both of our work. I enjoy the early days of spring when the green of the garden is finding its first rays of warm sun to reach out to, as much as I do the garden in its snow-covered form come the depths of winter. No, I might not be able to write about how to create a cross breed hybrid plant, or tell you how to mix just the right amount of topsoil with manure to provide a soil rich enough to grow almost anything imaginable, yet at the same time not so strong that it burns the plants instead of helps feed them, but I can still lay claim to being a gardener, and write about my trials and tribulations as one!

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