"One of the most delightful things about a garden is the anticipation it brings."

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The generosity of gardeners.

This envelope I received in the mail today made me realize something I've noticed about gardeners.  It is their generosity.  They are always willing to share plants, flowers, cuttings, seeds, produce or their knowledge.   It's the same giving nature they have when they tend their own gardens.  Hoping to see other gardeners succeed or learn from their own mistakes.  Maybe it's the fun of seeing  divisions of plants thrive in someone else's yard.  Whatever it is, the happiness is felt on the sides of both the giver and the receiver.
While visiting the cottage garden forums on Garden Web, where I usually just lurk, I asked if anyone could recommend seed catalogs, as I was looking for breadseed poppies.  A kind woman graciously offered to send me some from her garden.  She doesn't know me, and yet she still has that generous nature that gardeners have.   This is what I found inside the envelope.  A kind note, the poppy seeds (enough for my sister and I) and a surprise.  Gromphena "Strawberry fields".  I can't wait to see how they grow.
I couldn't help but remember other examples of gardener generosity.  
While on a walk quite a few years ago I commented on a plant to someone out working in their yard.  This man, a former neighbor of ours, stopped what he was doing and told me to wait.  He then went out back came back with a shovel and pots and proceeded to dig up several clumps of the prettiest oxalis.  It has become a favorite of mine to share with my friends and family.  
Our next door neighbors own a small wholesale nursery.  A business that is not always thriving,  but they were so generous.  Each spring our neighbors would bring flats of primroses to everyone on our street, followed by hanging baskets later in the summer, and then several poinsettias at Christmas time.  Knowing how much my daughter and I loved working in the garden, he invited us to his nursery where he let us choose some perennials.  There was large scabiosa he told us was a floral designers favorite.  It grows the tallest and largest lavender flowers I've ever seen on a scabiosa.   Sadly, he passed away 6 years ago from cancer.  I still think of him every time the scabiosa blooms.
My best gardening friend is always asking me if I would like seedlings she has.   Corsican hellebores, that are not cheap in the nursery are free from her.  She's glad to see them growing where they have room.  
When I was working as a visiting nurse I had one patients family member that would bring me carrots from his garden.  He would insist I take them and share them.  Nothing better than fresh carrots.  Another woman, whose husband I was there to see, brought me an envelope of poppy seeds.  This was when we rented a house, so I never got to save the seeds after the flowers were finished.  They were a red peony type.  Remembering those flowers are actually what inspired me to go searching for more breadseed poppies.
I have also noticed how generous with compliments gardeners, at least the ones I know, are.  My friends and I like to take mini garden tours of each others yards, where we can point out our newest finds or ask about what grows well where.  Nothing better that giving or receiving compliments for something that required a lot of work.
I am glad to see that my oldest daughter is also generous.  She loves to work in the garden with me.  She digs out clumps of grape hyacinths and brings them to our neighbor.  She is also known to chase our friends down as they leave while she puts bouquets of flowers together for them.   
The garden bloggers that visit each others blogs to offer compliments or advice is another form of generosity to me.  It takes time out of these peoples day (or night) to not only visit your blog, but then to occasionally take the time to comment.  
Maybe if more people gardened they would see how good it feels to give.  Most of what we gardeners give is free to us, but when we see the enjoyment it brings to others it's worth more than money!

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  1. A very heartfelt post indeed, and one that is so very true. Your daughter is a beauty and what lovely flowers she is holding. Have the greatest day Catherine and it is so wonderful to be able to share gardening-looks like you have some very lovely LOVELY friends. Off now to check out those Corsican hellebores as I think that is what I have-bought at a bargain though I'd love to have a good friend with them too:)

  2. So nice, Catherine:) I enjoyed reading this very much!

  3. Thanks Tina. She is a great girl!! I am lucky to have my friends that love gardening like I do too.

    Sometimes as I read back through my post I can't believe how chopped up it sounds. I think I write the way I charted as a nurse. Not to mention trying to write while my 2 year old naps and not having much time to proofread! :)

  4. Jan - Thanks!! I enjoyed your post today too!

  5. Thanks for reminding us of the good side of gardening. Sometimes I feel selfish in a way, taking time for the plants that could be spent with family or doing something considered more "useful." But I do try to be generous too, sharing seedlings, (don't know how to do cuttings or seed-saving yet, but I mean to learn) and handing out flowers and produce to neighbors and friends. I agree that it does seem to take a certain generosity to garden. You have to care about something other than yourself, for starters! Your daughter is a real cutie. :) Sweet peas are my favorite, too!

  6. I love this post almost as much as I love giving starts of plants away. I answered a freecycle request for some plants last year, after the other people who I give plants to didn't need any more. I also donate some to a plant sale for an herb club I'm in. I also have friends who share plants with me. Sometimes I can't take them because my yard is smaller than theirs, though. Oh, and I put out a request for old fashioned marigold seeds or plants, and a guy trusted me to dig them out myself.

  7. What kind and generous garden friends you have! I still have a beloved daylily that I called my Tina daylily, after a dear friend who shared a clump with me. When I moved away, we drifted away, but I still think of her when it blooms each year.

  8. Karen - I know what you mean about feeling selfish, but we are doing it so others can enjoy it too! Thanks for the compliment for my daughter, we call her "sweet pea"

    Sue - you are generous! It's fun to share isn't it? I bet all those people appreciate you!

    Msrobin - isn't it nice to have memories in our garden? Mine is full of them.

  9. What a great post.
    The picture of your 'sweet pea' is the sweetest, and the beautiful colors brighten up a gray day, evoking thoughts of spring and summer blooms.

  10. This is a great post Catherine. Exactly the reason I pointed you out in my latest entry! Cheers!

  11. Aerie-el - thanks, you can almost smell the sweet peas can't you.

    Gardeness - thanks for the mention :) I'm heading over to read it now.

  12. Your daughter is beautiful! I love to see post like this as I think we are a grand group. It makes your heart sing doesn't it?

  13. This is such a heartwarming post. Gardens always seem to grow as many friends as well as flowers. And now, with the internet, we can not only peek in on neighbor's garden, but those of others across the land. No matter what kind of day we may have had, we know that 'out there' someone, somewhere is sharing kindness and beauty. :-)

  14. What a wonderful post! Your daughter is lovely also. How great to have her generous heart working with you in your gardens.

    Gardeners are generous and friendly that is for sure. The internet has been great for bringing us together to share our gardens and our lives.

    Have a great day ~ FlowerLady

  15. Anna - I agree. What fun it's been to find other people that get as excited about plants and gardening as I do!

    Kris - I agree. I love hearing how people share the wealth of their gardens!

    Flower Lady - She is such a wonderful girl. I'm sure my little one will be just as sweet. Have a great day too :)

  16. Catherine, You write perfectly. I don't always see the follow ups due to the subscribe feature so please forgive me. I did check back on this one though. Lovely post just as is. P.S. I am SO glad I did not blog when my kiddos were small as it would've been difficult! It was hard enough just to garden:)Of course when they were asleep or out there with me and a baby monitor close by. It's been a few years.

  17. LOVED this post. It's so true. I have so many plants in my garden that came from friends. It's great to walk around and remember each friend when I see 'their' plant. When my yard is older I hope to share more myself. - VW

  18. tina - thanks, I don't think I've written this much since college. I'm working on it though. I'm hoping my daughter keeps up on the naps for a bit longer, I can get a lot done while she sleeps!

    VW - I still don't have too many plants yet that I can share either. I'm going to try and save more seeds this year too to share. Thanks for coming by :)

  19. How lovely to get a package of seeds from another gardener. The best kind of gift. I see you have lots of seeds going. Best of luck getting them all started. The larkspur do the best for me when I sow them directly into the ground. If you figure out a secret, let me know!


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