I didn’t choose the gardener’s life. The gardener’s life chose me. My mother has always been an avid gardener and I suppose that is what spurred my interest. When I was a kid she would spend all day digging in the dirt, and come inside the house at the end of the long day, fingers stained by the dirt, with a look of utter exhaustion juxtaposed with pure contentment. I never really got it then, but as I get older, I feel the flowers calling to me. I’m happy to have inherited that feeling from her, and from her mother before her. It makes me feel as if I’m carrying on a tradition.
There is nothing like the feeling when the winter blanket gives way to the long-awaited spring thaw and exposes the burgeoning beauty that has been sleeping all winter. Soon those tiny buds transform into the deep green canopy that I seem to forget every winter, and remember every spring. It hits me just like the child who sees something for the first time – a joyous sense of wonderment – every single time.
I’m an engineer by day, and that job is very logical, very regimented. I suppose gardening is an outlet. In both jobs, I get to create, but there’s something about gardening that allows me to be both creative and messy at the same time. And I do love making a mess; ask my wife. Engineering demands perfection, while gardening is forgiving.
Plants existed way before us and will continue to exist until way after we’re gone. Plants don’t need our help; they know what to do. More often than not our interference is to their detriment. They come back in the spring, and die in the fall; and, in that way, they’re as constant as the stars. Gardening is a reminder to me how small we are and how insignificant our problems are in the grand scheme. It is humbling. We only rent these bodies for a short time. You’ve got to stop and smell the roses.