I decided to do some very involved, detailed research (not!) and find out why people garden.
So I googled “why do you garden?” and read many, many comments and forum posts from gardeners all over the world. And while this “research” is by no means exhaustive or conclusive, it was quite interesting.
What I learned is that there are about as many reasons to garden as there are gardeners and that every gardener has a story to tell.
I also learned that there were many common threads among them. Here are the top 3 reasons for why people garden according to my extensive professional analysis. 🙂
By far, the number one reason why people said that they garden is because it helps them feel connected to something bigger than themselves, for a spiritual uplift, to find meaning and purpose, or to feel close to God. I knew that being in nature can allow people to feel this way, but I had no idea that this is why most people garden. I like it!
Reason #2: Therapy
The second most common reason is for relaxation, to get away from the world, or for therapy. I have a sign that hangs in my garage that says “gardening: cheaper than therapy and you get tomatoes” That about sums it up! There is just something therapeutic about gardening. It’s good for your soul.
Reason #3: Creativity
The third reason that people garden is to be creative or artistic. A quote I love says ” the desire to create is one of the deepest yearnings of the human soul” and gardening is definitely one way that people can choose to express their creativity. There is so much artistry involved from designing the plot to combining various colors and textures. And the ever changing nature of plants makes it a unique art form.
Reason #3 1/2: “I can’t not garden.” (Surprise bonus reason)
Of the people who said they garden because of either reason #1, #2, or #3, almost half of them also said that they “can’t NOT garden.” There seems to be something deeper that compels people to grow plants. We obviously don’t understand all of the reasons why, but once someone begins growing and caring for plants, they are often hooked. What a great thing to be passionate about!
There were other reasons why people said they garden too. In descending order, here are some of the less common reasons: Beauty, for food or to save money on food, to be outside in nature, “it’s in my blood/genetics,” to get my hands in the dirt, it’s exciting and fun, for exercise or health, for the compliments, to share produce with other people, to create a sense of community, to witness the miracle of growth, because of the planning/research/learning aspect, self-sufficiency, to care for something living, to teach kids, to lower carbon footprints, to help save the bees.
See, I told you there are about as many reasons to garden as there are gardeners.
Whew, that is quite a list!
I found it fascinating to hear about what makes other gardeners tick. Perhaps you found a reason listed here that you connected with as well. I would love to hear from you about your reasons too.
Tell me, why do YOU garden?