We often turn to gardening as an escape from our daily lives. After all, a garden can be a quiet, peaceful place where we can find solitude. Yet sowing, growing and tending to plants makes us a part of a much larger gardening community. And it’s among fellow gardeners that we can build bonds with others and forge friendships.
How Gardening Changed My Social Life
As a child, I always felt socially awkward. I never quite knew how to reach out to my classmates and peers in order to make friends. Of course, the key to making friends is through conversation. And the secret to starting conversations with new people in our lives is to find a common interest.
Fortunately, I had figured this out by the time I’d reached adulthood. And for me, gardening was often the common ground I needed to make friends. I realized this when I met my first college roommate prior to moving in together.
As we spoke on the phone, each telling a bit about ourselves, we quickly realized we both had an interest in houseplants. The ice was broken. And although a long-lasting friendship never developed in the year we roomed together, it did give us something to talk about. In fact, it turned out to be the only thing we had in common!
Later on when we bought our home, I discovered that simply complimenting a neighbor’s beautiful flowers or blooming bush would inevitably lead to a short, friendly conversation. In a day and age when so many people don’t even know their neighbors, I found gardening was the first step in forging a relationship with the folks who lived nearby.
Forging Social Relationships with Gardening
Throughout my adult life, I’ve found gardening has brought me closer to many people, from coworkers to the parents of my children’s friends. Here are a few ways gardening can improve our social lives:
- Offer garden produce to a coworker or neighbor in need.
- Cheer up a friend with a bouquet of garden flowers.
- Present a hostess gift crafted from the garden.
- Trade seeds, bulbs or plants with a gardening friend or neighbor.
- Share propagated houseplants with residents of the local nursing home.
- Bring a “homegrown from the garden” dish to a potluck dinner.
- Compete in a “friendly” agricultural contest.
- Educate others through a Master Gardener program.
- Use social media to connect with other gardeners.
- Attend a flower show or gardening event.
- Visit a public garden with a friend.
- Volunteer on a community beautification project.
- Join a gardening club.