Why do we garden?

I started the gardens at Valley View in 2005. Each year I add and I subtract. I visit other gardens and watch gardening shows. During quiet moments one question persists – Why do I garden? Why do I spend countless hours creating a vista that may disappear tomorrow?

Ajuga and ragwort garden
Ajuga and ragwort garden 2017
Fallen trees
The garden is on the right under the fallen log








I really don’t have an answer but I have looked backward to see where I’ve been. 



When I was 14 part of my parent’s property was taken by local government for a flood control project.  Bulldozers came in widened the creek and left behind a mud pit.  My mother and father were devastated. Their garden was gone.  The following year willow trees fell and more damage was done to their space.  I spent countless hours cutting tree branches and raking ground to bring life back because I wanted them to be happy.  Fast forward to age 49.  My husband and I bought that house and created gardens that made me smile.  Then one morning it all disappeared in a flash flood. Oh the irony!

September 18, 2004 flood

September 18, 2004 flood

Photos from the post

Gardens Do Not Happen in Isolation




Now I garden at Valley View. First it was to take control of overgrown areas and create spaces where I could sit and enjoy what surrounded me.

Everything was done on the cheap. There was very little money for plants, let alone hardscaping. The bricks and patio block below are what you see in the above photos.

North garden from upstairs window 2007

The next step in the evolution of the gardens was to make them wildlife friendly.  I added plants specifically for native creatures. 

female scarlet tanager on sumac September 2018

I then began to remove invasive plants, which I continue to do to this day.  After my desire to invite native wildlife, I wanted to create sacred spaces.  A labyrinth and bowling ball pyramid were added. 

Maddie viewing the labyrinth

Bowling Ball pyramid with hostas

I then learned about pollinators and wanted to add plantings to encourage their health. So back to natives.

Native bee on white cone flower
Native bee on our native Echinacea

I found myself ping ponging between trying to recreate what I saw or learned at that time. It has taken me awhile to understand that my garden should be for me and should reflect my inner being. 

Now, I’m still not sure what that is.  But I should not be ashamed of liking non-native hostas and wild unkempt pollinator gardens.   I am fortunate to have the space for both.


Pollinator garden July, 2018
Pollinator garden July, 2018
hostas by rain barrel
Hostas August Moon and Gold Standard by rain barrel

Reflecting on my past involvements with gardens,  I venture to say I have always been trying to recreate something I’ve seen rather than create something of my own. It’s time for me to take pleasure in my own creative endeavors.  For once again, I’ve learned it might not be there tomorrow.

The meditative garden
The meditative garden June, 2018

8 thoughts on “Why do we garden?

  1. I think gardening really reconnects us to nature and that’s why we keep coming back. I just like growing all kinds of plants and won’t win any design awards, but each successfully grown plants brings me much pleasure.

    1. Aww thank you! I may be having a gardening meltdown. This morning I resolved not to worry about the non-natives I already have and to embrace them but to only add natives as I move forward lol!

  2. I briefly considered buying only native plants but when investigating that option realized what an enormous task that would be. So,like yourself, i do my best just avoiding invasive varieties. Friends give me plants and I simply cannot bring myself not to love every one.
    I always admire your various gardens and really love the labrynth, something i could never have. Your creativity shows in all you do.

    1. I so appreciated your comment. It helps to know I’m not the only one agonizing over garden design. Just this morning I told my husband my goal is to from now on to buy only natives except for hostas which I love! This afternoon I walked down my road and dug out moss and ferns along the roadside. Plan to use them in my new stumpery.

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