People ask gardeners all the time why they waste so much time and effort on an activity that at any scale smaller than a farm yields so little benefit? Green thumbs may be blindsided by the question, shrug their shoulders and keep on with the activity they were engaged in, for how can one quantify that feeling of achievement, that inner knowing that one's own hands have helped, even if in a very small way, bring out life from the depths of the earth?

Sure there are ways to gauge whether someone is a good gardener or just a poser with lofty aspirations, and all of us have found ourselves on both sides of this comparison at times, we like to brag of yield, of garden design, of flawless maintenance, of rare or demanding plants, of fragrance.

It is not what the gardening fever is about, though. You don't need praise, validation, or encouragement to start the same plant again after you failed too many times to count, and you take things in stride when the results don't exactly match your design. Yet another year passes, with lessons learned and three more seasons to wait for applying them in practice. But the day always comes when from the most discouraging beginnings the dirt pours forth its essence, alive, resilient and abundant, and it would almost seem like nature did it on its own, bypassing your labor, if the plants you chose didn't bear testimony to your intent. When that day comes, without thinking, you experience bliss.

Of course, what for one may be a source of great pride, another would be embarrassed to mention, accomplishment is in the eyes of the beholder, but so is beauty, so is happiness, and so is love.

It is a love story, gardening, you can't really do it without pouring your whole heart into it because the plants in your care feel your soul and won't let you. Some years are extraordinary, some not so great, frosts and droughts, strong winds and hail can't be avoided, but a gardener's commitment is for better or for worse. After all, nothing in this life is ever perfect.

Author's Bio: 

Main Areas: Garden Writing; Sustainable Gardening; Homegrown Harvest
Published Books: “Terra Two”; “Generations”, "Letters to Lelia"
Career Focus: Author; Consummate Gardener;
Affiliation: All Year Garden; The Weekly Gardener; Francis Rosenfeld's Blog

I started blogging in 2010, to share the joy of growing all things green and the beauty of the garden through the seasons. Two garden blogs were born: allyeargarden.com and theweeklygardener.com, a periodical that followed it one year later. I wanted to assemble an informal compendium of the things I learned from my grandfather, wonderful books, educational websites, and my own experience, in the hope that other people might use it in their own gardening practice.