I am more intrigued by commonalities than by differences. Walk around a neighborhood anywhere in the world and you will see green plants, intentional and unintentional. Some plants arrive wind or animal-borne. These we often call weeds, but what is a weed besides a perception of desirability? Other plants we intentionally introduce to our yards and homes as sources of beauty or nutrition.
Yesterday my mom and I visited Bergeson’s Nursery in rural Norman County, Minnesota, where we always purchase our plants. Now an urbanite, each spring I make a pilgrimage to Bergeson’s. They sell vibrant stock and offer free homemade donuts of the highest quality. Both body and soul receive a treat.
A home without intentional outdoor greenery causes me to imagine trouble indoors. Can one equate enjoyment of plants with health? You may say that there are people who are physically unable to garden. Fair enough. On a walk this afternoon, an unscientific survey of 60 nearby homes showed that 90% have outdoor plantings.
The pleasure I take in gardening feels deep and old. I remember being out in the vegetable garden with my step-grandpa. I tasted my first radish and the burning taste made me cry. I remember the lush pink peonies grown by one grandma, and the fragrant sweet peas grown by the other. I remember my mom and dad planting a vegetable garden in the spring and each year adding new plants to the backyard flower garden. Both of my grown children enjoy gardening, and my 2-1/2 year old granddaughter has her own set of garden tools and pair of gardening gloves.
There can also be great pleasure found in observing the plants which happen to grow in a patch of bare soil. Leave a corner of your garden unplanted and “unweeded”. Over the course of a season see what appears. Explore an empty lot and note the variety of life inhabiting the space. Or go rogue! Plow up your lawn and let it grow wild. Your neighbors may come after you with hoes and pitchforks, but you will doing doing a favor to creatures of many sorts.
People can be bound together by hatred or love, by ugliness or beauty, by death or life. In an increasingly dark world, let’s acknowledge and celebrate the universal healing power of plants.
Go forth and grow!