Gardening As A Journey

By Laura Miller | April 6, 2021
Image by SbytovaMN
by Laura Miller
April 6, 2021

I have two passions in life: horses and, of course, gardening. While these two endeavors may be quite different, they both have one element in common. These pastimes provide lifelong learning opportunities. The sheer amount of knowledge available means both horse and gardening enthusiasts can never master all there is to learn. 

What is an Expert Gardener? 

The first time a person sows a seed or transplants a tree or seedling, they become a gardener. No doubt, they are a beginner gardener, but a gardener nonetheless. But when do we master the art of gardening? When do we become an expert gardener?

For some, this may mean serving in the Master Gardener program offered by their state and county extension offices. Others may feel they’ve made it to expert status when their gardening hobby turns into a career. Winning ribbons at a local horticulture competition is yet another way to measure our level of expertise.

For me, becoming an expert came when I could turn my years of gardening experience into practical gardening advice that I could share with others. Yet, I don’t feel as if I’ve mastered the art of gardening. Why? Simply put, I’m still learning.

You see, I view gardening as a journey, not a destination. I know there will be bumps along the way. (Just a few summers ago, I lost most of my vegetable garden to deer.) I also know there are plenty of plants I still haven’t attempted to grow yet. 

Like most gardeners, I hone my gardening skills in two ways. One is through trial and error, the other is by talking and sharing experiences with other gardening enthusiasts. Rarely do I meet another gardener whose gardening advice didn’t help me along the way. 

To me, the willingness to learn from others is the true mark of an expert gardener. It shows a person has sufficient experience to grasp the sheer volume of gardening knowledge that exists. It’s someone who wants to improve their gardening skills and expand their knowledge base.

Masters in Our Favorite Areas

While this view of gardening doesn’t leave much room for any of us to become masters of the art of gardening, it does allow us to master areas of gardening. Gardening enthusiasts can specialize in growing roses, for instance. And certainly one garden hobby can lead to another. An expert rose gardener can also become an experienced garlic grower.

Whatever your area of gardening expertise, it’s essential for the gardening community to work together and to learn from each other. Then and only then, can we collectively master the art of gardening.

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