Why I Garden

2-July 25 harvest

For Food

One of the great pleasures of gardening for me is the delicious food I grow. From seed to harvest, I control what goes into these beauties, and food I grow myself always tastes better than anyone else’s. Growing my own food almost always ensures I’ll have extras to share. It’s a good feeling to drop off a load of excess tomatoes and squash at my local food bank, or gift a foodie friend with a taste she will never otherwise enjoy.

2-chocolate cherry sunflower close

For Wildlife

Attracting pollinators makes sense when you’re trying to grow food requiring pollination, but I work hard to create habitat that’s inviting to a diversity of creatures. From butterflies:

2-red admiral2

to dragonflies:

IMG_3706-1 Dragonflyto lizards:

2-anole2and spiders:

2-lantana weaver

and even the occasional wild turkey.

IMG_3749-1 Wild Turkey

All are welcome on my five-acre patch of Piedmont.

For Beauty


I am not handy with a needle and thread, paintbrush, potter’s wheel, or any other artist’s tool. But I think we all share the urge to create beauty. Of course, I’m not really the creator of this magic, but I like to think of myself as a collaborator. I work hard to put the right plant in the right place, ensuring that every addition has the best chance possible to thrive and be beautiful.

For the Surprises

2-anole sunning

The little guy above was enjoying unseasonably mild temperatures yesterday, catching a few rays on the dark wall of my garage. I confess seeing a little head poking out at me from beneath the siding startled me a bit. Most of the surprises are courtesy of the creatures with whom I share my space.

Surprises bring out the child in me, the wonder of finding something new and unexpected, like a Luna Moth:

IMG_3008-1 Luna Moth

a Rainbow Scarab:

IMG_5210-1 Rainbow Scarab 1

or a Snapping Turtle lumbering across the floodplain in search of a good spot to lay her eggs.

IMG_3789-1 Snapping Turtle

Each discovery makes me giggle like a girl, delighted to greet an unexpected wonder during my wanderings around the yard.

For Connectedness

2-tomato area

Plunging my hands into fragrant, loamy earth centers me. Coaxing seeds in flats in the greenhouse during chilly late winter days ties me to the coming growing season while winds howl and frozen ground crunches beneath my feet.

2-basils and peppers

For Reassurance through the Constancy of Change

Staying close to the cycles of the earth, from spring’s fresh enthusiasm:

2-late crocus

to summer’s overwhelming productivity:

2-sweet treats

to autumn’s glorious farewell displays:

Plumleaf azalea close

to winter’s quiet, meditative landscapes.

IMG_7474 Birds birds everywhere and not enough to eat

I am immersed in Life’s cycles, making it easier for me to remember that even the most horrible acts of mankind will not stop the Earth’s turning, the green growing. Life overcomes and persists. Sunrises follow sunsets. I am comforted by the changing constancy that surrounds me.

The longest night approaches. Tomorrow’s sunrise will bring our shortest day, as the solstice ushers in Winter’s light.  As a gardener, I know this dark, cold season is as necessary to the Green World as springtime.

Embrace the darkness, my friends. Tomorrow marks the return of lengthening days and the promise of spring songs and flowers. Meanwhile, enjoy the beauty that only a winter sunrise can offer.

Winter Sunrise over Piedmont Forest

  1. #1 by pressingflowers on December 21, 2012 - 8:38 am

    Wow , I have been following your blog for sometime but this one Really touched me. Life has been a twisted mess this year for me but reading your blog today reminded how important the garden is for my soul. I let life take me away from the garden this year and I feel as though i have neglected the garden and myself. You have inspired me to go outside today and scatter some wildflower seeds & say “next year will be better !” peace terica

    • #2 by piedmontgardener on December 21, 2012 - 10:07 am

      Hi, Terica.

      I’m glad my post spoke to you. I’m a firm believer that one can never have too many wildflowers, so enjoy your solstice scattering of seeds. Thanks for stopping by.

  2. #3 by pressingflowers on December 21, 2012 - 8:48 am

    Reblogged this on Pressing flowers's Blog and commented:
    I have not rebloged before …well I tried once to do this but it did not show? So I am trying again ,this blogger has helped me stay close to the garden this year . Check it out!

    • #4 by piedmontgardener on December 21, 2012 - 10:08 am

      I’ve never been reblogged before. 🙂 Thanks, Terica!

  3. #5 by Aaron Gardener on December 22, 2012 - 1:45 pm

    Beautiful post. I share many of your sentiments! (But I’ve never seen a turtle in my garden and only a single lizard once skittering across the porch. Still, lots of surprises all the time!)

    • #6 by piedmontgardener on December 22, 2012 - 2:10 pm

      Welcome, Aaron!

      I’m glad you enjoyed my post. As for encountering garden creatures, perhaps you need to create more habitat for them? Or perhaps you don’t spend as much time outdoors daydreaming as I do. I find that the longer I stay in one spot in the yard, the more creatures emerge. Although in the case of the snapping turtle, she was entirely oblivious to me as I approached her. She was focussed on finding the perfect spot to lay her eggs. Lizards like rocky areas and sunny spots out of the wind near cover to which they can flee quickly. I confess my yard is a rather untidy collection of invited and uninvited plants; perhaps the abundant cover draws the creatures nearer. 🙂

      Thanks for stopping by.

  4. #7 by Jerree Scheitlin on December 24, 2012 - 10:33 pm

    I especially liked this almost poetic Piedmont gardener. Jerree

  5. #9 by nena3110 on January 2, 2013 - 11:21 am

    Very nice. I like this!

    • #10 by piedmontgardener on January 2, 2013 - 11:38 am

      Thanks, Nena!

      I’m fairly sure you are my first Serbian follower. I am honored. Welcome!

      Your artwork on your blog is quite lovely. Happy New Year to you and yours.

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