One of the many benefits of gardening is the opportunity to meet new people and strengthen old ones while working together to maintain your garden happy, healthy, and growing. Gardening fosters genuine friendships, as well as a sense of belonging and community that is difficult to attain outside of the workplace. Working together towards a common goal is an extremely powerful feeling.
I have had the privilege of working in a number of settings where one has a garden together. The gardens were not large, but the friendships had a cumulative effect that far outweighed the plants and the space. The relationship was strengthened and deepened by the common tasks, the shared joy of plants and the friendship, the meals, the shared accomplishments and the unplanned moments of laughter and good humor. The gardening community is different from the communities you may have seen on television or in the movies. In these settings the members of the community have been brought together to complete a project and some individuals share their joy with each other. But gardening communities are different.
In gardening, the work does not end when the task is complete. It is continued in the coming weeks and months when each member of the community picks up the pieces and continues the friendship. The community gathers to celebrate victories, to mourn losses and to plan for the future. The community works toward a common goal and does not stop working until the goal is achieved. Each member of the community holds the responsibility to be a positive influence on the lives of those around him/her. That is the true meaning of the term gardening community. It is a community of people whose purpose it is to work together towards a common goal.
A gardening community is not confined to a garden. It extends to a resident’s home and the surroundings. There is a common interest, a common goal and a common effort to achieve that goal. The plants are an appendage that does not interfere with the main goal. A gardening community begins with the plants and ends with the compost pile, the compost bin, the compost tumbler or the compost pile. It is not a community where the plants are in the main and ancillary spaces.
Each group in a gardening community chooses to call its garden a gardening community. Each group chooses to identify its garden with a common goal. Plants are thinking and emotion translators and interpreters. The plants recognize each other. Plants give themselves a personality. The plants serve as the community’s focal point and anchor. Plants can represent the soul and mind, as well as the heart and mind. Plants speak in a language that can be deciphered.
Gardening communities can emerge as a result of a person’s desire to associate his garden with a specific topic or a family’s desire to collaborate on a common objective. Alternatively, they can be formed by a person’s desire to join a community or organization in order to collaborate on a common purpose. Plants and communities are so intertwined that the plants may be the only link between community members and organization members, or the organization may become the plant.
Plants and people work together to shape gardening and plant communities. There is no such thing as a plant community that isn’t also a person’s person community, or a gardening community that isn’t also a people community. It could be a group of friends who garden together, or it could be a group of professional designers, programmers, painters, musicians, and so on. People who identify as gardeners and work as gardeners make up the majority of the gardening community. They may have other interests, but gardening is one of their top priorities. Planting takes place in the garden since it serves as a means to an end. The planting becomes a project to be accomplished rather than something done to get by.
An organization of gardeners is made up of people who identify as gardeners and work on behalf of some organization, such as a church or a school. Or the organization is made up of people who identify as gardeners but do other things as well. For example, some churches have a landscaper as a member, but there may be other members who plant, weed, weed, mow, or do any other landscaping tasks.
The plant community is made up of people who identify as gardeners, gardeners’ organizations, or the organizations themselves.
The plants and gardening communities are not made up of only gardeners. They are not made up of only people who work with plants, but also people who are unskilled laborers, technicians, machinists, carpenters, electricians, painters, sculptors, or any other artisans.
A botanist is not a gardener. A botanist works with plants and gardens and has expertise in botany. They may be unskilled in the way they plant, but they are skilled in other ways, such as the ways they harvest fruits or nuts.
A gardening educator is a gardener who works with children and educates them about plants.
A landscaper is a gardener who works with plants, lawns, or gardens and works with design. A landscaper may not be an expert in the ways they plant and work with soil, but they may be very skilled in other aspects of gardening, such as soil management or landscape design.
A mushroom inspector is someone who inspects mushrooms and determines if they are safe to eat. They may be well-versed in the ways mushrooms grow and behave, but they may be less well-versed in microbial strains and methods.
A mushroom connoisseur is someone who spends their lives studying mushrooms, but they aren’t well-versed in the ways mushrooms grow and behave, but they may be very skilled in other aspects of mushroom studying and eating.
A mushroom expert is someone who spends their life studying mushrooms and not well-versed in the ways mushrooms grow and behave, but they may be very skilled in other aspects of mushroom eating.