Gardening Is Not About “Getting It Done”

The second half of my post on Friday talked about how you can’t just expect to plant a perennial garden in a Saturday afternoon and expect it to be “done.”

Back in the day when I worked in retail garden, there were three types of customers–the type that thoughtfully took their time, made a plan, and planted a garden. This type would be back often through the season to ask questions and to maybe add plants to the garden.

The second type was the “get it done” type. They never had enough time for anything–and it was always our fault for that. They would ask for all sorts of things, and then when we attempted to provide the requested services, they would say, “I can’t do this now. I have to go____” But at least they didn’t take calls on their cell phones while they were asking for things as my retail customers at the box stores did.

The third type was the type that could never make up their minds about anything. In the spring, it was the geraniums. They would agonize for hours–literally–over 6 geraniums, trying to choose the 6 that were exactly the same color out of thousands. Or trying to decide whether such and such a color would match their house color.

Once the mums came in in the fall, they were back, with the same agonizing choices. Or occasionally, it was over pansies.

I don’t tell you any of this to “shame” customers. I tell you this because “this” is not what gardening is about. And if you see yourself as the second or third type of customer, go home and find a new hobby.

Gardening is supposed to be relaxing. It is supposed to be a release of stress. Now granted, there are plenty of times, especially in the spring, when I get a little frustrated at all the things that have to get done in my garden and wish I had more time to do them. And that’s when I take a deep breath and tell myself that that isn’t what gardening is all about.

When the garden no longer is “fun,” or a source or relaxation or a source of peace, that’s when it’s time to find something else to do. It’s not something to rush through to get out onto the golf course. It’s not something to rush through so you can go to the beach. Why put yourself through that? Life is too short. Rip up the garden and just enjoy golf or the beach or whatever.

So if you don’t get an adrenaline rush at the garden center–or the box store–or even when you see that huge display of plants out in front of the supermarket–then maybe gardening isn’t your thing. We can’t all like the same thing, nor should we try.

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