Gardeners are (usually) nice people and often make good neighbors. How does one identify a gardener? Gardeners have no particular uniform or identification badge. Some prefer designer clothes, matching outfits, expensive shoes or goofy hats. Others wear whatever, grab any hat, and get to the gardening. Some prefer kneeling among the plants while others bend over in the clover. Gloves are a matter of personal preference and many plant lovers relish dirt under the fingernails as proof of a worthwhile gardening session.
Though gardeners may appear normal in other environments their bents become obvious once they encounter plants. Love overflows. Obsession takes charge. Some talk to their plants (or to themselves) while they garden and seem perfectly contented with the conversation.
Gardeners lose track of time and will invest hours with plants. Tending the garden is joy, not drudging work. Visitors are welcome to stop by for a “howdy do,” but please, don’t stay all afternoon and burn away the daylight. The gardener has beds to weed, transplants to nurse, and compost to stir. Be warned that a gardener lives to share the mystery and amazingness of plants with others. She may drag the unprepared visitor from plant to plant while unloading reams of botanical information.
Gardeners by nature are nurturers. Serious aficionados of the role can be found browsing the yellow-tagged bargain plant racks at the big box store. Those discards with their pale leaves and scraggly stems stir a determination deep in the gardener’s soul, “I can make a difference for this plant. Let me take it home and get to work.” A tender-hearted gardener relocates a lackadaisical plant many times and gives countless chances before the specimen is banished to the compost bin.
Hard work does not frighten a gardener. The job demands faithfulness no matter the weather, and gardeners put their all into the garden. With the confidence she has learned preparing soil, tending plants, watering and weeding in the heat or cold, the gardener stands ready to help others during times of adversity.
Hope and optimism bubble out as the gardener holds to the belief that next year’s garden will be better than this year’s. The gardener invests today for something that may (or may not) bring benefit tomorrow. Results take time and patience must mark actions in the garden. Failure with one plant pushes the gardener to note the lessons learned and try another experiment. Success gives seedlings and starts to pass to others, harvests that benefit many tables, and an opportunity to share the bounty.
Gardeners garden because they must. Fame, recognition and praise are not primary motivators although any gardener beams when someone expresses admiration for the display. Gardeners garden because as good stewards they grasp the bigger picture. The earth is only borrowed from future generations, and gardeners want to preserve and protect the land until the time comes to pass it on.
In His perfect creation God placed Adam and Eve in Eden with instructions to cultivate and keep the garden (Genesis 2:15). The first couple gained the blessing of having a purpose, of belonging to something bigger than the individual. Their responsibility in the garden brought meaning to their days as they obeyed God’s commands and fellowshipped with Him (for a while anyway).
Outlooks and attitudes formed in the garden apply directly to most any other aspect of life. A skilled gardener usually has all of her petunias in a row both in the garden as well as in day to day happenings.
Do you have a gardening friend? Have you met a real gardener?
Gardeners often make good neighbors.