Our societies developed in the face of nature and the roots of our accepted society behaviours are deeply planted in that soil of legend and myth. In many ways, our gardens reflect those myths and legends. We recreate the myths by taming nature and turning it into a manicured backyard garden. Many of us will never visit a truly “wild” place nor do we have any desire to do this. But we do have a need to master our own personal wild space. The closest we come on a daily basis to nature is in our backyards; and that backyard is our symbolic nature – our personal wild space.
Indeed many writers famous for their accessibility to nature had something to say about gardening. Henry David Thoreau said, “Gardening is civil and social, but it wants the vigour and freedom of the forest and the outlaw.” What a wonderful sentiment that lets us have the organization within our garden but this statement also forces us to understanding that within a heartbeat, nature can deal out some interesting consequences of our attempts at organization.
John Ruskin, in his 1851 classic, “The Stones of Venice” wrote, “There is material enough in a single flower for the ornament of a score of cathedrals.” Touring the cathedrals of Europe will indeed show how architects borrowed from the lore and the symbolism of the garden to decorate their houses of worship.
It is increasingly clear that gardening is a healthy antidote to the rigors of our society. Bone density for women who did yard work was equal to those who did weight training, and higher than in women who did jogging, aerobics, or calisthenics.
Top reasons people garden: To be outdoors (44%); to be around beautiful things (42%); relax and escape the pressures of everyday life (39%); stay active and get exercise (35%)
Food gardening was the only category of lawn and garden activity that saw a significant increase in household participation and spending last year. The number of families participating in food gardening increased in the US by 5 million households or 14%, to 41 million households. The total spent on food gardening increased by $520 million or 21%, to $2.989 billion last year from $2.469 the previous year. Food gardening includes vegetable gardening, fruit trees, growing berries, and herb gardening.
Top 8 Benefits of Gardening from the National Gardening Assoc.