A gardener’s words of wisdom for the end of the year

Steve Smith: “The more time we can spend communing with our gardens the better this world could be.”

As we approach the final days of the 2018 gardening season, I find myself struggling to find something to write that will seem profound and lasting.

In light of all the political and worldly trauma, the hunger and homelessness, and generally disgusting things that mankind continues to do to one another, talking about the garden seems so trite. And yet, for me (and I suspect many of you), spending time in the garden is what keeps me sane.

From the time I was a small child playing in the dirt (and then as an adult working with my hands pulling weeds, planting flowers and mowing lawns), gardening has been my escape and therapy, not only in times of stress and sorrow, but in times of joy as well.

Growing up in a small town in southern California, I was the neighborhood yard boy. Every widow on my street just loved me. I would rake their leaves, weed their flower beds, mow their lawns and, as I got older, they would trust me to prune their shrubs and plant their flowers. It was all magic to me.

To come home from school and discover a new flower emerging from a gladiola bulb I had planted two months earlier or the greening of a new lawn I had over-seeded two weeks before was pure nirvana.

At 14 years old, I got to work at the local nursery potting roses and tuberous begonias, making moss hanging baskets and cutting annuals out of wooden flats with a masonry trowel, all the time dreaming of how I was going to turn my side yard into a floral paradise or the back patio into a tropical jungle.

When I started my landscaping business in the mid-‘70s, I was dumbfounded that people were willing to pay me to do something that I enjoyed so much I could have done it for free. Gardening has never been work for me. Instead it’s been a source of renewal, an opportunity to be creative and, as corny as it may sound, a spiritual experience that has healed my soul over and over again.

It is my sincerest hope that as you move into the new year, you too will discover the magic of gardening just as I have. It is an activity that is both physically and spiritually restoring. It fosters our nurturing instinct and brings out the best in us. It provides food not only for our bodies, but our souls as well. The more time we can spend communing with our gardens the better this world could be.

Gardeners, by nature, are optimistic and positive thinking. They are generous and always eager to share their bounty. The beauty they create makes the world a happier place to be. Observing the miracle of growth in the garden is such a powerful experience, that it is nearly impossible to be in a bad mood while you are gardening.

I am not sure if it is the gardener that makes a garden so lovely, or if it is the garden that makes the gardener so lovely. I suspect it is the ebb and flow between the two that creates the magic. And that magic (think love) is what makes a garden a garden.

Here’s to all of us sowing and reaping lots of love in our gardens this next year.

Steve Smith is the owner of Sunnyside Nursery in Marysville and can be reached at info@sunnysidenursery.net.

Spring pruning

Attend a free class on how to prune your plants (the good, the bad and the ugly) for spring at 10 a.m. Jan. 5 at Sunnyside Nursery, 3915 Sunnyside Blvd., Marysville. For more information or to sign up, visit www.sunnysidenursery.net.

Talk to us

More in Life

Isabella Corsaro (Heidi), Kate Jaeger (Gretl), Jonas Winburn (Günter) and Kevin Vortmann (Hansel) star in Village Theatre’s production of “Hansel & Gretl & Heidi & Günter.” (Mark Kitaoka / Village Theatre)
Village Theatre back in 2022 with lineup that includes ‘Raisin’

The four-show season, which begins in February 2022, is intended to reflect perseverance and the road to recovery, Village’s artistic director says.

Filmmaker Daniel A. Cardenas, of Everett, in a hop field in the Yakima Valley in 2014. (Bakerbuilt Works)
Everett filmmaker’s documentary does deep dive into hops

“Hopped Up: How Yakima Valley Changed Craft Beer Forever” won an award at this year’s Ellensburg Film Festival.

One of the Jetty Island ferry captains waits for boarders as the ferry begins operations for the summer on Wednesday, Jul. 6, 2016 in Everett, Wa. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
All aboard: Jetty Island ferry reservations are available

The passenger ferry service from the Port of Everett to a sandy bar runs July 5 through Labor Day.

Taleah Burr (left right), Laurel Harrison, Caitlin Hitchner and Kelsey Jinneman-Fairbanks are four teachers at Challenger Elementary in Everett got Roman numeral '4' tattoos to represent their "Core 4" solidarity the day after their first year teaching in 2014.  (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Inked: Third-grade teachers tattoo their solidarity IV-ever

Most of their Challenger Elementary students don’t know about the hidden badge of teacher pride.

5 Rights Brewing in Marysville recently built the Second Street Community Pavilion, which will be open year-round and have electricity and heat. (5 Rights Brewing)
Drink This: 5 Rights now has year-round outdoor seating

The new Second Street Community Pavilion is just one way the Marysville brewery continues to expand.

Public Health Essentials! (Snohomish Health District)
Four things we can all do to keep our forward momentum

Public Health Essentials! A blog by the Snohomish Health District.

Holly Aprecio is Linda Ronstadt in Just One Look’s Linda Ronstadt tribute. The band is set to perform June 19 at the Historic Everett Theatre. (Just One Look)
Tickets for sale in Snohomish County and around the region

The listings include Historic Everett Theatre, Edmonds Center for the Arts and Thumbnail Theater shows.

The F Street Project is scheduled to perform June 26 at the Tim Noah Thumbnail Theater in Snohomish. (YouTube)
All about music: Schedule of concerts around Snohomish County

The listings include Historic Everett Theatre, Edmonds Center for the Arts and Thumbnail Theater shows.

Kermet Apio will perform stand-up at the Best of Seattle Comedy Competition in Everett on Aug. 17. (YouTube)
Theater, dance and comedy shows around Snohomish County

The listings include Historic Everett Theatre, Edmonds Center for the Arts and Thumbnail Theater shows.

Most Read