For me, there’s something fun, exciting, and even entertaining about gardening. It is an adventure every year. I love the journey of taking a plant, any plant, and making it grow. To see a plant transformed into something that produces a crop for me to use or a flower for me to enjoy is extremely gratifying. It’s a very personal journey, because of the time you spend and the choices you make. Actively gardening appeals to the senses. I don’t want to get all sappy, but to touch, see, hear, and watch the landscape change with a little input and time from me is very fulfilling.
How do we make gardening landscaping more enjoyable? I have thought quite a bit about this question – particularly about making landscaping with native plants more appealing to the general public. What would motivate someone to spend time and energy developing a native landscape? Ultimately, it is their choice, but if it were viewed as entertainment, we couldn’t produce enough plants to meet the demand.
So let’s look at gardening as entertainment. We all want to be entertained. At least I do. So here are some ways tending a landscape can entertain you.
Changes throughout the year.
Where else can you go and get year-round beauty? If you go to the Konza Prairie near Manhattan, you can experience the natural beauty that occurs as the seasons progress. Every couple of weeks you will see something new. Subtle changes to the landscape provide surprising beauty. It is no different in our own landscapes. If you have just three to four plants in bloom during each season of the year, combined with some native grasses, you can mimic that larger landscape on a much smaller scale. Think of your landscape as a canvas with constantly changing colors, shapes, patterns and textures. Sounds very attractive, doesn’t it?
To watch a monarch butterfly flit from flower to flower is amazing. To see a hummingbird sipping the nectar from a tubular flower can be mesmerizing. Blazing stars (Liatris aspera) covered with ten different pollinators at the same time captures your attention. Just think about the many benefits of native plants. One of the most important benefits to pollinators is the symbiotic relationship plants and wildlife have with each other. If you enjoy live entertainment, watching wildlife in your garden can captivate your attention.
We are all living increasingly busy lives. We don’t have enough time to step back and unwind. Gardens give us the space to relax. Plant a garden that is manageable. If you are really busy focus, on a small area you will use the most or see the most from your home. For me, my garden is entertainment. An oasis from a hectic life. A chance to get my hands in the soil. The smell of freshly turned soil is soothing. My garden draws me away from personalities, stress, and performance and brings me back to my roots. Gardening is about touching things that are real and alive, engaging the senses, and enjoying the journey year after year.
Gardening is a choice worth making. Your landscape can touch your senses, give you a place to go and get the recovery you need and entertain you. A choice to garden and create a landscape for your enjoyment is never unwise. Embrace the journey!