by Charlene Burgi
Let's face it. Some people view gardening as a task. They see it as something that needs to be done rather than viewing the garden experience as a joyous time spent outdoors. In contrast, others relish in the delight of seeing a new flower in bloom or a dormant plant coming to life, or find a sense of accomplishment in a freshly weeded or hoed garden bed.
While not new, I was reminded of this variation in attitudes this past week within my immediate family. My son called to say he and three of my teenage grandchildren would be arriving on Friday to spend the Easter weekend with me. He stated that 16-year-old Wyatt wanted to help me prepare the garden for summer. When I listed off several projects that required attention, Wyatt let out a shout of joy, while I could hear my son moan as he heard Wyatt's reaction to getting his hands in the soil!
I must admit, my son Randy's experience in the garden when growing up meant turning the compost pile by hand, weeding, and other drudgeries most teens would shun. The wonder of viewing new life from a seed never quite caught on. That wonderment did translate to my daughter Lynette, who never fails to plant basil, tomatoes, parsley, and other Italian vegetables and herbs in her garden every year.
If gardening is just a grind for you and chores need to be accomplished, you might employ the Tom Sawyer approach of planning a garden party. Invite friends over to spend a day playing in the garden. Some people may view this as a treat since they love to garden and have little, if any, space to fulfill their need to get their hands in the soil. Offer to share your garden space with them.
| Working together
Before the garden party arrives, make a list of what needs to be accomplished. Provide garden gloves of various sizes, rakes, shovels, trowels, and pruning shears. Pick up chicken manure, soil amendments, compost, and enough bark to complete the projects you have set forth. Have seeds and seedling starters at the ready to install, along with a plan showing where they should go. Drip tubing and emitters could also be available for installation with a knowledgeable person at the ready to assist with irrigation hook ups.
Lastly, make it a party. Snacks and cold beverages are always a welcome way to show your appreciation. Perhaps a BBQ after the work is complete will set the tone for an annual garden party in the future. Or, follow up with a harvest party in the fall so everyone working can reap the benefits of their hard work! Required work in the garden may soon be viewed as one of several fun events!