I think you either love gardening or you hate it. There isn’t much of an in between.
Gardening people, and you know who you are, understand each other. We are always thinking about what we want to get next for our garden, and what we’ll do differently next year.
We find excuses to go to the garden centers and can wander around looking at plants for hours.
We get excited about new garden tools, gloves, watering cans and bird feeders.
We don’t love the heat of July and August any more than non-gardeners, but we appreciate the sun and rain because we know they are the perfect recipe for what we are growing.
We check our gardens every day, even when we know nothing is ready.
We know it is easier to stop off at a vegetable stand (and we do that too) than to grow your own, but it’s not a chore to us. It gives us great satisfaction. Planting is simply something we must do.
Most of my friends and family members are not gardening people. We invited some good friends over for dinner recently. Before eating, I asked if they wanted to see our garden.
We walked outside on a particularly steamy evening and took them down to see the garden at the back of our yard.
We excitedly told them about how our neighbor had cut down a bunch of trees. Though at first that seemed bad for us, it turned out to mean that we have a lot more full sunlight.
That meant we could expand our little raised bed garden to several more.
We showed our friends which plants we had to move because they weren’t getting enough nutrients due to the tomatoes, so we found another little cucumber plot.
I was excited to show them my rose bushes that we moved when they were in full bloom (all serious gardeners know where this is going) and they wilted and looked completely dead. But we pruned them and now they are blooming again.
We talked and talked until I noticed my friend’s glazed over expression as she swatted mosquitoes and wiped away her perspiration. I suggested we go inside and they practically sprinted toward the house.
That same friend called me last weekend and asked if I wanted to go shopping. I told her I had to can cucumbers, tomatoes and squash all day. She was silent.
“How can you possibly enjoy doing that?” she asked. But I truly do.
There is something so magical to me that a tiny seed can produce a plant that gives me vegetables for months.
And that I can spend a few days in the kitchen and we will not only have pickles and other things all year, but also unique gifts to give away.
Another friend asked me where I possibly learned how to can, since she knew my mother and knew that’s not something she would have taught me.
I am still not an expert canner, but I can tell you it’s not at all difficult. I learned how last summer when our cucumber plants went crazy and we had an entire kitchen table full of them.
We were getting ready to go out of town and knew the cucumbers would go bad before we got back. So I called my friend Lenore Buice and asked if she would teach me the art of canning.
She invited me to her home and a few hours later, I was ready to try it solo.
Some things I have canned are better than others, but my favorite is hot and spicy pickles. Salty and a little hot from some jalapeno rings, I can eat a jar of these in one sitting.
Another feature I love about our garden is the art I collect from thrift stores and garage sales (or my mother’s basement, which is sort of like a museum).
I love finding unique containers or artifacts that are someone else’s garbage, but to me have character and are perfect in a garden.
I love when the weather is bearable and we can sit in the Adirondack chairs and admire the beautiful plants and talk about what we will plant next.
Some of you are probably scratching your heads thinking how strange us garden-lovers are, but I know many others are nodding their heads and getting ready to head outside to check their gardens.
Adlen Robinson is author of “Home Matters: The Guide to Organizing Your Life and Home.” E-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.