The Homeowners Column

The Homeowners Column

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A Gardener’s Gratitude Journal

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Sandra Mason
State Master Gardener Coordinator

Research studies continue to highlight the health benefits of gratitude. For example as reported in April 9, 2015 ScienceDaily the research article entitled "A grateful heart is a healthier heart" published by the American Psychological Association revealed "Recognizing and giving thanks for the positive aspects of life can result in improved mental, and ultimately physical, health in patients with asymptomatic heart failure."

Unfortunately the one holiday dedicated to thankfulness and giving is compressed between two self-indulgent, bound-to-give-you-heart-failure holidays. Have we given up on "thanks" and "giving"? When I listen to the news my heart breaks for those who live every day in fear and want. In the United States many reasons exist for cultivating a grateful heart.

Gardeners are generally a thankful bunch; after all, who else smiles at the vision of a steaming heap of malodourous manure. Ok, maybe manure is not an entry for your gardening gratitude journal. But what are you thankful for? Here are a few examples to get you thinking:

  • the smell of freshly turned soil on a warm spring day
  • the taste of the first home grown strawberry of the season
  • the taste of the last home grown tomato of the season
  • the first frost in fall so we can quit watering the tomatoes
  • garden catalogs that fill my mail box and my dreams with bodacious blooms and voluptuous vegetables
  • for Farmers markets and local growers who provide the aforementioned bodacious blooms and voluptuous vegetables when my dreams fall short
  • that bears and rattlesnakes are not on our list of garden pests
  • that I have a loving husband who calmly waits on a garden bench for my return to reality when I enter my glassy-eyed garden center trance
  • that portly eating machines known as caterpillars miraculously develop into exquisite, rapturous butterflies
  • that creeping Charlie makes my lawn look lush and green…from far away
  • garden failures that give us a chance to learn and a reason to go shopping for another plant
  • security that we don't feel the need to carry a gun when we garden
  • the four seasons of gardening: spring - hurry and get it planted; summer – water, weed and harvest; fall - more planting, more weeding and more harvesting; and winter - finally time to rest, reminisce and plan next year's "do over"
  • that we share the planet with plenty of other insane gardeners, so we don't look quite so crazy
  • plants that continue to thrive despite our inadvertent neglect
  • the enduring sensation of resiliency and inspiration when we commune with a 200 year old oak
  • the people who work to protect the land dominated by 200 year old oaks
  • plants listed as "not eaten by rabbits and deer"
  • the ongoing discovery of the real list of which plants are "not eaten by rabbits and deer"
  • tomatoes that rally to produce something edible despite sharing their space with three-foot tall weeds
  • spring flowers that magically appear after a frightfully frigid winter

  • roses that continue to bloom in November
  • the freedom to grow vegetables because we want to, not because we have to
  • the optimistic attitude that next year will be better
  • and the selective memory to weed out the mental mess of garden plans unfulfilled

I'm thankful that I hang out with some of the most giving people in the world - gardeners.

Join other thankful gardeners in the Master Gardener Program. Training in Champaign, Ford, Iroquois and Vermilion counties starts the end of January 2016 in three locations; Champaign, Danville and Onarga, but applications are due by mid-December. Check out our website for more information and to apply

Questions? Our great horticulture team is here to help. In our Champaign office - Ava Heap (217-333-7672); in Danville - Jenney Hanrahan (217-442-8615) or Onarga office - Trent Hawker (815-268-4051).

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