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Why Gardening Kind Sir?

by jmarkowski

A great contribution from an official Dig The Dirt Contributor! Thank you John... keep us gardening, and laughing!


Why gardening kind sir?


It is the question I am often asked by my family, my friends and my colleagues (love that term – makes me sound much more grown-up and professional) – How did you fall so deep into this gardening thing? After taking some time to ponder and formulate an intelligent answer, my response is typically “cause it’s freakin awesome”!



My garden!

After starting a gardening blog last month, I have spent more time thinking about just this question and I think I have actually come up with some tangible answers. And aren’t you lucky reader anxious to hear those answers? Well here goes (in no particular order):


Instant gratification – I am a “scratch-off guy” and not a “buy a ticket for the Powerball guy” and that is all about instant gratification. My current job does not allow for a lot of IG opportunities, but I am able to achieve that through gardening. A bare patch of lawn can quickly be turned into a small perennial bed that immediately grabs you as you walk by it. Even weeding will give you that feeling, however fleeting it may be. There is nothing better than working out in the sun all day, showering later that afternoon (with beverage of choice) and then admiring that day’s work from all angles in the yard.


Patience is rewarded – This point is almost completely opposite of the prior one but it works well in conjunction with it. I almost exclusively buy my perennials on-line and as small as possible. Besides the obvious cost savings, it allows me to witness the entire life cycle of that plant. That education is priceless and well worth the wait when they explode in growth within a year or two. Admittedly, I have not focused on the soil as much as I should but in those instances where I did, to see the results over time reinforces the need to be patient.


Artistic expression – I cannot draw/paint/color much better than your average 7 year old. And unfortunately, I have passed that bad gene down to my son as well (even he will admit it). But, I have finally come to the realization that the artistic ability is inside of me but is expressed much differently. When I first created a simple vignette of Purple Coneflowers mixed in with a few Russian Sage, I took a step back and said “Dude that is like art or something”. Last year, I started photographing my gardens for the first time and really came to appreciate even small foliage/flower combos that are not visible to the naked eye. I am an artiste.


You can bring your wife stuff and she’ll really like you – pretty self-explanatory but this year we are kicking it up a notch with a true cutting garden … how you like me now?


You can catch people off guard with plant/landscape comments – I am a huge sports fan and almost all of my sports friends know nothing about gardening other than cutting their lawns with those really cool lines in them. Because of that, I like to comment about a shrub or flower in front of them just to get that “look”. Typical exchange:


Friend – Do you think the Mets pitching will be improved this year?

Me Of course not, but do you realize you can cut back your Catmint now and get another flush of bloom?

Friend – Who are you?


Many trees/shrubs/flowers will outlive you – This can be a hard fact to come to terms with but for me it reinforces that what I obsess over and research day and night actually can be passed on to the next generation. The permanency is comforting.   

I am sure there are other reasons I am forgetting as I type this, but just being able to stop and realize why gardening has become such a huge part of my life has been real special. I will continue down this path without ever looking back and I am excited to see where it will lead me.                                         





gardening, blogging, men in the garden


Horticulture + Humor = Total Awesomeness! I can't wait until you're with your friends watching the game and you serve the plate of buffalo wings with a lovely floral garnish from your new cutting garden. If only everyone was of your same mindset, this world would be a happier, healthier place!
pbcouchman commented on 04/02/10
Clearly you are a guy with the right attitude. As to gratification, I am a dedicated Cosmos fan. The first ones were planted by some of our wonderful Portuguese landscape workers who were just cutting the grass but noted that our garden clearly needed help and put in some seed! Love to see them: tall, bright and happy flowers.
sam spade commented on 03/24/10
I have never tried them but may give it a go in my raised bed this year.
jmarkowski replied: on 03/24/10
Not only is it fun to obsess over your own garden but I have found it fun to do so with my friends gardens. There is nothing better than to spot a plant that you don't have and to bring a piece of your friend's garden home. Everytime you go out to survey your yard, there is the joy of a friendship garden.
teetee the gardner commented on 03/24/10
I am desperately trying to get my friends and family to let me have my hands on their gardens. I think I may be making progress now that they see I may know a thing or two. Thanks for the kind words ... look forward to getting to know everyone here. Good times!
jmarkowski replied: on 03/24/10
You have inspired me to dig the dirt! Worms here I come!
Shauna Tocchet commented on 03/23/10
Great points John! Thanks for this!
SeattleAlex commented on 03/23/10
You are an artiste! I love that you find gardening completely obsessive- I totally relate. Once you start and you see the progress it is a hard thing to give up! Thanks for this article it made me laugh. And you need some gardening friends so they say, "Thank you for that great tip on the Catmint!"
FigTree commented on 03/23/10
Thanks for the words of encouragement! Love this site already and looking forward to meet many other obsessed peeps.
jmarkowski replied: on 03/24/10
let the obsession party begin!!
FigTree replied: on 03/25/10