Gardening as a Hobby

Gardening is a great hobby for all sorts of reasons. It gets you outside and into nature. If you own even a postage stamp-sized plot of land, gardening gets you “in tune” with nature and makes you a willing participant in the ongoing creation of Earth. The same can also hold true even if you are an apartment- or condominium- dweller. Indoor gardening gets you a taste of the outside, but only inside.

If you are of the spiritual sort, gardening helps you become more a part of the natural world. Too often nowadays we seem to be “at odds” with nature. It is as if we humans are not viewed as being a part of the natural processes of the Earth, that we are somehow “artificial,” or parasites, even. Gardening helps to straighten out this disordered thinking. Gardening, by uniting ourselves more fully with the Creation around us, helps us to become more aware of its needs and how we fit into it. Our consciousness is more integrated into nature. Rather than being opposed to- or at odds- with the natural world about us, we see better as to how we fit into it. Gardening helps us to be more responsible for the world, for we see ourselves as being within it, rather than being observers or exploiters.

Another part of the spiritual aspect of gardening is that we are more conscious of time, but in a more natural and patient way. Rather than seeing time as being broken up into whatever periods that is our shift at work, or in tiny periods such as the time that we have off, like the time at home or the “weekend”, we see it from a more long-term view.We learn to roll with the seasons. We gradually learn to negotiate the ebb and flow of the seasons, from the time things start to grow and bud and bloom, to the times when things die and decay or become dormant. We learn that time is an evolutionary thing, there are patterns and shapes to it and we learn to move with it. If you are very much into gardening, then the comings and goings of things do not come as that much of a shock. These things happen, they are a natural part of life. Too often in our artificial worlds of air-conditioned, sealed off homes and offices, we forget the natural world and it timeliness, or is it timelessness? Modern life and its complexity has disconnected us from natural time. Gardening reintroduces us to it and reintegrates us into its rhythms.

There is also a “mental health” component to gardening. Have troubles? Are you consumed with doubt and despair, troubles at work or with the state of the world? Gardening forces you to “get outside” of yourself. You “go outside” to “get outside” of where your problems dwell, and that is within you. Gardening helps you to connect to a greater whole. The natural world helps you to put things into proper perspective. In gardening, you learn that good things take time, that anything worthwhile doing is worth spending good quality time at. And in doing so you learn that while “stuff” still happens, “this too, shall pass,” just like the weeds that you pull up and toss aside, the vegetables and herbs you harvest and store for later eating. Things come, and things go. Just like good stuff in the garden happens, and then goes away with the seasons, so to, does bad stuff.

Another “mental health” component to gardening is that you learn to cope with failure. Every gardener has bad seasons, and can “tell you stories.” This is just experience talking. Experience is just the things that you learn from the failures you have. Gardeners fail. From pests and diseases and bad weather, or just certain plants that “just don’t want to grow for me,” every gardener is an accomplished failure. And from those failures are successes achieved. True gardeners are undaunted by these and keep coming back for more because they love getting dirty in the soil. If they pay attention, ask other gardeners questions and observe things, they will earn from these failures and succeed. Gardeners are successes, too. Every gardener, after a time, learns what they are good at and what they like to do.

So that is it. Gardening is a great hobby. And more importantly, perhaps, it can become a great lifestyle.