Icon - Arrow LeftAn icon we use to indicate a rightwards action. Icon - Arrow RightAn icon we use to indicate a leftwards action. Icon - External LinkAn icon we use to indicate a button link is external. Icon - MessageThe icon we use to represent an email action. Icon - Down ChevronUsed to indicate a dropdown. Icon - CloseUsed to indicate a close action. Icon - Dropdown ArrowUsed to indicate a dropdown. Icon - Location PinUsed to showcase a location on a map. Icon - Zoom OutUsed to indicate a zoom out action on a map. Icon - Zoom InUsed to indicate a zoom in action on a map. Icon - SearchUsed to indicate a search action. Icon - EmailUsed to indicate an emai action. Icon - FacebookFacebooks brand mark for use in social sharing icons. flipboard Icon - InstagramInstagrams brand mark for use in social sharing icons. Icon - PinterestPinterests brand mark for use in social sharing icons. Icon - TwitterTwitters brand mark for use in social sharing icons. Icon - Check MarkA check mark for checkbox buttons.
You are reading

The Grateful Gardener: 10 Things to Be Thankful for in 2017

Search

The Grateful Gardener: 10 Things to Be Thankful for in 2017

November 20, 2017

Every year is challenging to someone. Looking back on 2017 as Thanksgiving and the holiday season careen toward us, gardeners may be tempted to lament the obstacles we’ve faced—bad weather, wilted expectations, or an invasion of varmints. But where a seed sprouts there is hope.

At Gardenista, we have plenty of reasons to feel grateful as this year’s growing season ends. Our spring bulbs are in the ground, our dahlia tubers are in storage, and our potted citrus trees are safe indoors. As we go around the dinner table on Thursday to give family and friends a chance to say why they’re thankful, here are 10 things we’ll want to list:

Small Friends

Photograph by Eli Christman via Flickr.
Above: Photograph by Eli Christman via Flickr.

As a gardener, I thoroughly appreciate and strive for as many pollinators and beneficial insects as I can get into my garden (and my clients’ gardens). They aerate our soil, disperse seeds, and protect our lettuce from insect bullies.

As gardeners, we can show our gratitude for small friends by using organic products, practicing natural and safe pest control—and picking up a worm now and then, to cup it in a palm and say thank you to its face.

The Solace of Soil

Photograph by Erin Boyle.
Above: Photograph by Erin Boyle.

We are thankful for the basics: The soil, the sun, and rain that allow our plants to grow and thrive. We know that all great gardens start with great soil. Gardeners also appreciate all the small things the soil nurtures, from microscopic bacteria to barely visible wildflower seeds.

Local Garden Shops

Above: Photograph by Erin Boyle.

Plant nurseries and garden shops offer us daily inspiration. Where would we be without a free place to wonder around aimlessly, collecting new plant options, buying six-packs of vegetable seedlings, and asking question after question about our woeful, shriveling fern?

Sturdy Tools

Hand forged in the Netherlands, a Sneeboer Weeding Trowel is \$45 from Shed. Photograph by Mimi Giboin for Gardenista. For more of our favorites in Garden Tools: Which Trowel or Weeder is Best for You?
Above: Hand forged in the Netherlands, a Sneeboer Weeding Trowel is $45 from Shed. Photograph by Mimi Giboin for Gardenista. For more of our favorites in Garden Tools: Which Trowel or Weeder is Best for You?
I know I am in safe company when I can freely admit that I thank my Felco pruners everyday when I prune with clean, easy cuts. Great tools that are long-lasting, make garden chores easier and feel good to work with are invaluable (and save you from carpel tunnel syndrome later).

Native Plants

Above: Ornamental grasses and perennials at the edge of a front garden can be enjoyed by passersby. Photograph by Thomas Rainer. See more in Unconventional Wisdom: 8 Revolutionary Ideas for Your Garden from Thomas Rainer.

Well-adapted to local environmental conditions, native plants rule the roost. They save time and money with less maintenance and fewer fertilizer needs, and save our most valuable natural resource: water. Plus natives provide crucial habitats and food for birds and other wildlife.

Neighbors and Friends

For more of this garden, see Bounty from a North London Allotment. Photograph by Howard Sooley.
Above: For more of this garden, see Bounty from a North London Allotment. Photograph by Howard Sooley.

Every gardener needs other gardening  friends who speak “gardenese” and can share our admiration for dinner plate dahlias. These same friends generously share heirloom seeds and rose cuttings, along with textbook knowledge and thoughtful advice. We thank our friends for garden therapy sessions, shared obsessions, and a willingness to dig beside us in the dirt.

Every Single Garden

Photograph by Mimi Giboin for Gardenista. For more of this garden, see Poppies in Paradise: A Garden Visit in Healdsburg, California.
Above: Photograph by Mimi Giboin for Gardenista. For more of this garden, see Poppies in Paradise: A Garden Visit in Healdsburg, California.

It may sound obvious, but it’s no less true: we are thankful for gardens. And I mean ours, yours, and theirs. We gardeners are a tribe and know that it takes a village of gardens to make each one survive and thrive. We are also thankful whether we have one pot on the balcony, a small plot in a community garden, or ample acres.

The Seasons

Above: For more of this garden, see Vineyard Haven: A Napa Valley Garden That Belongs to the Land. Photograph by Mathew Millman courtesy of landscape architect Scott Lewis.

Who doesn’t love the leaves changing into their autumn-colored new clothes, with the sun sitting just a bit lower in the sky, casting deeper shadows?  A few months later there’s the anticipation of spring flower petals unfurling, a bulb poking its anxious head out of the soil. Winter, spring, summer, and fall, we love you all. In every season, the garden is transforming—and transformative.

Parks and Botanical Gardens

Above: Photograph by Marie Viljoen.

For gardeners, feeling thankful for public garden spaces is like an artist feeling thankful for museums.  We all need external sources of inspiration. In parks and botanical gardens, we see plants together in new combinations, in unexpected ways working with unexpected materials. We even get the chance to see plants in their sometimes surprising mature state (“wow, that shrub actually gets that tall?”). We visit for new ideas, to relax, and be immersed in nature’s botanical buffet.

Sustainable Landscapes

Photograph by Matthew Williams for Gardenista.
Above: Photograph by Matthew Williams for Gardenista.

“Smart” irrigation controllers, French drains, rain chains, and compost bins—all these modern designs help us deal with drainage issues, excess food waste, and a limited water supply. Designers are working hard to make planet-friendly improvements for our landscapes.

Did we miss any of your favorite reasons to feel garden gratitude? If so, leave us a note in the comments below—we’re on the lookout for reasons to feel thankful this year.

N.B.: See more of our Thanksgiving coverage at:

Product summary  

Have a Question or Comment About This Post?

Join the conversation

v5.0