Being confined to home these past weeks has created an opportunity to put my thoughts about society in general, and horticulture in particular, into perspective. So much of our normal daily routines involve direct personal interaction with other people; close-up interactions seem to be a fundamental societal need for many of us, as individuals, to prosper. Now deprived of these familiar relationships, we might retreat into isolation, perhaps becoming anxious, frustrated, worried and depressed by factors over which we have no control.
Our relationship with nature and horticulture is different. We can certainly interact with other people and compare our gardening experiences, but dealing with nature is fundamentally a one-on-one personal relationship, communing with a force greater than ourselves. For me this is cause for optimism. Despite the current enforced societal setbacks, all the trees, shrubs, plants and food items we continue to grow and enjoy around our homes create inspiration for the future.
This health crisis has the potential to profoundly change the way we live our lives, even for the long term. It affords us the opportunity to evaluate what we do and why we do it. And to rank the importance of what we value.
For those of us whose lives center around horticulture and living plants, this period of social isolation need not be a significant impediment. Lots of group meetings are now being offered as “virtual” and online, and most of us are still available by phone/email.
Looking around, we see the inexorable progression of seasonal change week by week (even though the day to day weather can be erratic!). I’m encouraged to feel the inspiring sense of anticipation and hope, evidenced by nature’s constant, dependable changes, as spring emerges.
Even being isolated, we’re still able to plant vegetable seeds, maintain our gardens, install new trees & shrubs and accomplish chores like pruning and mulching, planning for all those upcoming activities later in the year. So much of what we do in the outdoors invigorates us and enhances our physical health. And the results of our gardening efforts continue to be gratifying as we watch them develop.
When we look back over this period in our lives, perhaps we will have learned more about what’s truly important to each of us. Nature functions on its own schedule; we can all benefit by taking the time to observe, listen and appreciate all the essential life-lessons it teaches.
We have been allowed to post this article through the generosity of the Massachusetts Horticultural Society. It was written for them and will be published, along with many other wonderful and information article in their 2020 membership leaflet. Join now to get one of these exclusive member benefits.
Wayne Mezitt is a 3rd generation nurseryman, a Massachusetts Certified Horticulturist, now chairman of Weston Nurseries of Hopkinton, Chelmsford & Hingham MA, and owner of “Hort-Sense”, a horticultural advisory business. He currently serves in various capacities on several horticulturally-related organizations, including the Massachusetts Horticultural Society at The Gardens at Elm Bank in Wellesley MA, and chairman for the Massachusetts Invasive Plant Advisory Group (MIPAG).