Meet our newest garden coach – Emily Ogrinz in Montclair, NJ. She contacted me for ideas about how to get started, we had a nice long chat, and I posted all the ideas I thought we’d covered to the Gardening Coach Blog. Then I sent her the link and asked if I’d forgotten anything. Apparently yes, and she had so many meaty points to add that I posted most of it here.
But her last point was the most interesting of all and speaks to the distinction Eliz made the other day between activists and horticulturists.
I used to be an environmental educator, and I got turned off by the environmental movement because there is so much negativity and hopelessness in it. Environmental problems seem so overwhelming, how can one person possibly make a difference? I’ve found that gardening is a positive act I can do for the world, by creating wildlife habitat, growing organic food locally, composting and minimizing the waste stream, and most of all by creating beauty. In my garden I feel like I am a part of the great force of nature, and I can actually see how I am making a difference. When I see my extra plants beautifying my neighbors’ gardens, and see my neighbors becoming more engaged with their gardens as they become more beautiful, I sense an outward flow of positive energy into the world. I feel energized and excited by the thought of all these people throughout the country passing on their knowledge and extra plants, and creating beauty. There is an ever expanding networks of gardeners and gardens and it is making the world a more beautiful, more engaged, and more positive place.
Like Emily, I find that focusing on problems and fears puts me in an agitated state of mind. While grateful that somebody’s doing it (and as Eliz noted, the activists sure get things done), I’d rather be in the garden communing with nature and creating beauty. And as a coach I try to turn people on to gardening, for all its benefits to the environment – and to the spirit of the gardener.