So You Think You're Cut Out for Gardening... April 19 2016

Here’s a simple test that I thought was appropriate as our spring weather finally starts to take hold. The purpose is to discover if you are cut out for gardening. There are only 3 questions and they're all pretty simple.

  1. Do you enjoy being outdoors?
  2. Do you enjoy drinking a tall glass of ice tea or your favorite cold beer?
  3. Do you dislike working out at a gym, lifting weights, squats and rowing?

    If you answered yes to even one of those questions, it turns out, you may be cut out for gardening.

    And do I have a proposal for you!

    OK, stay with me. A garden is any cultivated plot of soil where herbs, flowers, fruits and vegetables are in the ground. Gardening is the act of working, cultivating, tending to, and developing this plot of land into a true garden.

    With that established, let’s talk gardening – Blackscape-style!

    I bought most of my gardening tools at the Goodwill, or yard sales. I had a home with a BIG YARD and a small flower bed that had a little path where I could walk, and tend to the flowers. If a section of the flowerbed had only yellow and oranges flowers, I’d go out and buy blues and violets; if a section had all tall plants, I’d go buy medium and short plants.

    This continued for a few seasons. I’d stand back take a look at the flowerbed and was pretty happy and pleased with what I saw, but realized I had run out of space.

    Once those flowers were in and doing well I wanted to kick the space up a notch, so I started looking for stuff to decorate my flower bed with some ornamental elements, like stepping stones, fountains or the like.

    I could find nothing that really spoke to me, which turned out to be the first step on my journey to founding Blackscape. But that’s another story for another time.






    Soon, my flower bed bloomed into a very colorful and pretty space.

    So I started working on the shrubs and vines outside the house. One day after spending an entire weekend working on the shrubs and vines, and pulling weeds out of the rocks, I decided that this sort of drudgery was not what I had in mind when I conceived of my garden.

    I experienced a moment of clarity then, that what I wanted to do was “yard beautification,” as opposed to “lawn maintenance.” My drive and goal was to make things around the outside of my home look pretty and colorful. So I hired someone one else to do yard maintenance.

    After that I turned my focus two small plots of soil (not dirt a friend once told me), and I started to plant flowers there and got the place looking pretty darned good. Not only was the outside of my home looking better, so was I. I physically felt the best i had in years, and even saw a little sculpting in my upper arms, yes really!

    I realized that walking around and looking for the right plants, digging in the soil, reaching for flowers to plant, bending, stretching, and lifting soil and water hose, things I enjoy doing, was a full upper and lower body workout, outside in the fresh air and sunshine (getting my Vitamin D!).

    It didn’t feel like work to me, but a form of pleasure. While gardening I was relaxed and destressed. Plus it cost me next to nothing. It was much better than getting up early to workout before work, or going late after work.

    The key and beauty of gardening Blackscape-style is that it’s all in moderation.

    I’m not into the farm type of gardening – acres of land, raising food for the year and so forth. I garden for the enjoyment of putting a seed in the ground and getting green beans for my troubles, or putting a 4” plant in the ground, and getting hundreds of cherry tomatoes. Or just sitting on my porch and looking at a colorful flowerbed.

    One of the reasons I chose my current home is that the places to plant were minimal, but adequate. Just enough ground to have fun and to see the results of my playfulness.

    Because I hired a person for yard maintenance, I know have the time a couple of weekends a month, or on a warm evening after work, to sit on my garden bench (yes we have garden seats), or to get real and get on my knees and tend to my flowers or vegetables. After a few hours of playing in the soil, I take a cool shower and tilt back my head for a tall glass of cold, sun brewed tea.

    So does this sound amazing to you? Do you think you are cut out for gardening?
    Of course you are. If you don’t have any tools, just head on down to the dollar store to pick up a few hand tools, gloves and a hat. They may even have a knee pad to make it all more comfortable. Get a few inexpensive plants and top soil, and you are on your way. Have some fun and a glass of ice tea.

    And congratulate yourself. You’ve taken the first step into a world of beauty, fun, health, and living outdoor art!