Gardening with friends a pleasurable pastime

Years ago I worked with a gardener, who’d become a friend, deadheading roses
in a 2,000 rose formal garden. Staring deeply into his bucket one day, he paused
and remarked, “We’ve been throwing away more beauty than most people
notice in a lifetime.” I thought it might be unwise to disagree with him,
as we were working in a very busy public garden surrounded by attractive women,
and he knew my wife well. We agreed that we had to be the luckiest people we knew.

When you see gardeners standing and talking, instead of applying themselves
with silent diligence, it’s often to engage in this sort of philosophical
chitchat. I can remember days when we had the problems of the world solved by
lunchtime (only to forget them by day’s end). It’s precisely the
expansive mental freedom and release provided by gardening that attracts many
of us to it. Thinking while working – and then moving up to the next level:
talking while working.

Many of us garden alone – a time to reflect and a time to plan. It’s
mental as well as physical therapy. But if you haven’t done it yet, try
gardening with a friend. It can raise a pleasurable pastime to a whole new level
of enjoyment, especially if you remember to get a little work done too.

Harry Jongerden is a Garden Designer/Horticulturist at the Royal Botanical Gardens.

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