Why do we love garden talks, shows and programs so much? The answer is simple, we are a social lot. Even though we may garden alone, we never really garden on our own. We rely heavily on books, magazines, blogs and local garden clubs to share ideas and learn what is new in the gardening world.
Gardening is a flow of ideas. As word of new plant discoveries and theories on landscape and garden design spread like ripples on a pond, gardeners, professional and amateur alike, study, evaluate and adopt the new findings to suit their own gardens. As ideas disseminate they evolve and grow- adapting to different climates, topographies and local resources.
Garden news spread with greater ease, at least in the beginning, to an elite few with the invention of printing. Immigrants brought with them their traditions as well as their plants and garden styles. The spread of garden knowledge was, and still is, as simple as a gardener leaning over the fence and asking, “What is that you have growing in your garden?” The simple act of sharing cuttings or divisions with a neighbor expands the use of and knowledge about garden plants.
As the Landless Gardener I am always in the garden with garden friends. As much as I love puttering in my gardens at the park, I think what I enjoy most is talking with park visitors who stop and ask about the adopt-a-plots. In the past I had a far larger garden with more plants and more flexibility in design. But, it was quiet. Now I have gardens and garden enthusiasts to talk with while I play in the gardens. Volunteering is a wonderful way to expand your garden knowledge and recruit future gardeners.
If you keep your eyes peeled you are certain to find more educational opportunities than you can shake a rake at. Don’t forget about programs presented by garden and plant organizations, such as the Perennial Plant Association and our very own Horticulture Magazine. It’s enough to make a gardener’s heart flutter with excitement.
Jenny Koester is the Garden Blog Editor for Horticulture Magazine and author of the garden blog, The Garden Life.