The Dryden Observer

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FEATURE: Why we garden

Chris Marchand

Chris Marchand served as editor of the Dryden Observer from August 2009 to April 2018.
Photo by Samantha Hawkins

By Samantha Hawkins

The desire for fresh, healthy food is innate and one that resonates in most of us. The need to get one’s hands dirty and give back to the earth gets us through even the harshest of winter days spent dreaming about soaking up that vitamin D and planning ones garden.

When I posed the question “Why do you garden?” to our readers I got a number of responses, some very enlightening. I would like to share a few now and maybe inspire you to start your own garden. Even the smallest plot, pot or patch of lawn can be turned into something beautiful and delicious with a little elbow grease and a lot of love. Enjoy!

“Gardening is my “happy place”. It’s something that only an optimistic person can do.  Around here, there are deer, caterpillars and rabbits ready to gobble up plants, and late frosts and hailstorms waiting to wipe out the garden, and putting any plant or seed into the ground (or even a flower pot) is a supreme act of faith.  I try to make my space as beautiful as I can, and I want to leave my little corner of the world in better shape than it was when I got here.  It’s also my excuse for not doing housework during the summer. I’ve been gardening for 42 years, in 7 different locations, and 3 different provinces.” – Colleen Kennedy

“The main reason we garden is it’s fresh food (no GMO’s), free food in our own yard and a great reason to get outside! We have been gardening now for three years and already have tomato plants and asparagus coming up nicely!”Joanne Woods

“I garden because it is part of my meditation and centering process.  It helps me feel at one with nature and the food and flowers I grow make me and my family and friends feel healthy!”Renee Gould

“We have been gardening for 40 years. It is always great to have fresh vegetables that we have made the effort to grow ourselves.”Judy Malyk

“The miracle of a little seed containing so much life, beauty and sustenance has me hooked on gardening. The sanctuary created by the flourishing plants that welcome sun, rain, birds, butterflies and bees gives me a sense of peace and a sense of satisfaction.  I hope I may have contributed to one little corner of the world to keep our ecosystem healthy.”Mardi Plomp

“My gardening experience has grown over the years, from a small veggie patch to a large one, and from a few annuals to several perennial gardens. Here are a few of my reasons why I garden: 1. To experience a miracle—those little brown seeds changing into something beautiful. 2. To be rewarded by all that beauty at a step’s distance. 3.  To eat healthy and really local!  4. To enjoy the gentle company of flora and fauna. 5.  To continue learning from my mistakes!! When I asked your question to my husband, Gordon, at breakfast, his reply was swift and to the point.  ‘To help my wife who needs unpaid staff!’” – Alison Robinson

“Every hobby has at its root creating something out of nothing, or adding value where there is little.  Gardening is an excellent hobby, when I worked at a real job, the best relaxation at the end of the day was spending an hour in the garden, and fresh picked is always much better!” – Mel Fisher

“Gardening provides one with the opportunity to do something out of doors that provides exercise, mental stimulation and enjoyment. There are endless opportunities to explore and learn.  The path through gardening can take you in many directions.  Currently I am learning more about the birds and the bees by learning about habitat requirements such as the types of flowers most likely to help them identify potential habitat, identification, and the growing area of citizen scientists.  Then there is the whole area of beneficial insects and so much more!”– Anne Sikkema

“I have been a gardener since 1976 when we acquired our first home. I learned to love gardening in England from my father who was an avid gardener. There is an enormous satisfaction out of being able to grow, harvest, store and preserve fruit and vegetables which one has grown. It is even better when one can continue to enjoy the “fruits of one’s labour” throughout the winter. I have become increasingly more conscious of growing and eating organic produce. As a result I practice pesticide and fertilizer free gardening preferring instead to use compost, weed frequently and to encourage natural pollinators. However, this does present a problem as my garden is not picture perfect because to keep it weed-free requires a lot of work but the satisfaction of eating healthy produce outweighs everything else.”  – Alison Dove


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