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Master Gardener Column: Why garden? The National Garden Bureau’s top 10 reasons

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Gail Haynes

Master Gardener

Garden for safe, healthy food. Growing concerns about pesticides in our food supply have led to an increased interest in organic gardening and availability of organic produce. 

Processed foods contain additives and preservatives that many consumers want to avoid. It’s estimated during WWII, 20 million homeowners had Victory Gardens that produced close to 40 percent of the fresh vegetables consumed in the United States. 

Garden for Exercise. Studies show that an hour of moderate gardening can burn up to 300 calories for women, almost 400 calories for men.

Mowing the grass is like taking a vigorous walk, bending and stretching to plant a garden compares to an exercise class, while hauling plants and soil is similar to weightlifting. 

Garden to add beauty. A house with a nice yard is a pleasure to look at and satisfying to live in. Your home can be made more inviting simply by adding a container of colorful flowers near the front door. 

Herbs in the kitchen add freshness to the room, as well as flavor to daily meals. Trees and shrubs not only provide color and shade, but shelter for birds and wildlife. 

Garden to learn. Problems with insects or spots on leaves provide the opportunity to find out the cause and understand how to keep plants healthy.

Moving to a new house may mean leaving favorite plants but also provides the opportunity to discover new plants and growing conditions. 

There are a variety of ways to increase gardening know-how such as seminars, Master Gardener programs, vo-tech courses and formal degree programs at a college or university. 

Garden to make money. For some people gardening is a lifelong hobby. For others, the love of plants can lead to a rewarding job at a local garden center, a large global company, or even owning their own business. 

A garden can be a source of flowers, vegetables, herbs, and other crops that can be sold at local farmers’ markets and roadside stands. Real estate agents estimate that attractive landscaping increases a home’s value by as much as 15 percent. 

Garden to meet people. Whether it’s with someone who lives down the street or halfway around the world on the Internet, gardeners love to talk about plants. 

Surplus tomatoes, a bouquet of flowers, or an extra plant, are gifts to be shared with friends and neighbors. Meeting other gardeners through garden clubs, plant organizations, and gardening websites is an easy way to share information, ask questions and get involved. 

Garden to be creative. Gardening provides an outlet for creative and artistic expression. A garden’s design can reflect a personal sense of style such as a romantic cottage garden or a peaceful Japanese garden, as well as provide a showcase for art and sculpture. 

With the wide variety of seeds and plants available in garden centers, it’s easy to experiment with new plants or change a garden’s color scheme every year. 

Garden to win. For people with a competitive streak, gardening is a friendly way to show off their skills. 

Garden clubs regularly have shows that highlight the best flowers grown by local gardeners. 

County and state fairs provide an opportunity to show everyone the giant pumpkin, beautiful beans or luscious tomatoes harvested from the garden. 

Garden for emotional needs and spiritual connections. Gardens play an important part in our well being. A garden might serve as a tranquil retreat or private escape from the demands of everyday life.

The beauty of flowers can lift spirits, while pulling weeds can be a great release for stress and excess energy. 

A harvest of colorful flowers or tasty vegetables provides a sense of achievement and feelings of success, while neighbors and visitors often express their appreciation for those efforts. 

Garden for lasting memories. 

Yards that once grew gardens have been replaced with hot tubs and driveways. Gardening is a fun activity that can be shared with children and grandchildren, even if the garden is a single container or small spot in the yard. 

And a garden provides a beautiful way to remember a special person or time of life. 


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