Thursday, June 14, 2012

There’s something special about people who garden

I recently saw a short article called Bumper Crops about a Brooklyn, NY man named Ian Cheney who decided to plant tomatoes, peppers and other produce in the back of a 1986 Dodge pickup truck. This wasn’t  a parked pickup truck, mind you. But a truck that he continued to drive around New York.

He took photos of the progress of his Truck Farm and made a time-lapse movie which became a hit documentary, and also inspired a “movement of mobile gardeners” who take their gardens on the road to raise both fresh veggies and eco-awareness. Watching the little trailer of the video online left me with just one thought: I love gardeners.

I know that is a pretty broad statement, but I’ve met a lot of gardeners in my life and I honestly can’t think of many times that I didn’t feel an almost immediate affinity with them. Maybe I’ve just been lucky. But the majority of the gardeners I’ve met in my life are generous, kind, calm and creative. They share, not only what they grow, and what they learn while they are growing, but through their gardens, they also share both beauty and benefits to the environment.

Many of them are sentimental, struggling with the tough decisions of what plants must be sacrificed in order to let others thrive. Some get so attached to particular plants that they almost mourn their passing, staring at the blank spot in their yard that once held fragrance, flowers or special memories.

Two years ago, on June 17, 2010, I wrote my first post for this blog. It was entitled The psychology of "green" gardening – is taking care of the planet good for the soul?

The post is about studies carried out by Richard Ryan, PhD, Professor of Psychology, Psychiatry and Education at the University of Rochester, who determined that: “spending time in nature not only makes people feel more energized but also leads them to be nicer, value their relationships more and to be more generous – definitely evidence that nature is good for the soul.”

With a little prodding, I got professor Ryan to admit that: “Peter Rabbit’s experience aside, gardeners are probably nicer people”. That phrase and that sentiment have certainly rang true over the past two years on this blog. 

Since then, I have read reports about similar studies, some indicating that digging in the dirt helps to raise levels of our bodies natural anti-depressants.

So perhaps there is a scientific reason behind the kindness of gardeners. All I know is that the gardeners I have met, both online and in person, add as much wonder and beauty to my life as my gardens do….probably more.

So thanks to all of you for being my garden friends, sharing your garden stories with me…..and for allowing me to share mine.

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