I must admit, I have a pretty good job.
Much of each year is spent traveling the country, visiting many of America’s most beautiful gardens for the television series I host and the articles I write. The rest of the time, I’m doing lots of projects to encourage people to start gardening—by just planting something—anything. It nearly always leads to more.
This week was a fun project like that.
On Earth Day, I teamed up with Lands’ End and their Lands Friendly campaign to encourage people to plant something and to celebrate an impressive milestone of reaching their millionth tree planted with the National Forest Foundation.
The enthusiasm from what appeared to be a large group of new gardeners took me back to a major a-ha moment a few years ago when someone asked me to recall my most memorable garden of all those I have seen in my career.
As I considered my response, I found myself gravitating to the small private gardens over those massive public or estate gardens, replete with a horticultural army to take care of them.
As I pondered my reason for feeling this way, the answer became crystal clear. It has little to do with the garden and everything to do with the gardener. The one common denominator that makes these gardens so special is pride.
The feeling a gardener experiences by seeing a plant take root and thrive through nurturing by their own hands is best understood firsthand. Yet even if you’ve never tried it, you see it and feel it when you’re around a person like that.
Best of all, it’s something we can all easily experience for ourselves.
It all starts with the first planting. It doesn’t matter what you plant. It simply matters that you plant it. But that is always the catalyst for all the great gardens that follow.
For many, it can be the start of a lifelong passion. More often than not, that first connection with the earth will never be forgotten and often leads to much more.
I write with such familiarity of these gardens and their creators since I am one as well. I see their passion and share their pride.
That is why these gardens are indeed most memorable to me. While each has a special beauty, I see beyond the garden, to the unique face and voice that created it, which started and grew from a single plant.