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People have been gardeners for thousands and thousands of years. For most of history, people grew gardens because they had to. They needed to grow food to survive! These days, we have jobs to earn money so we can buy food. Yet there are still people who garden. Instead of doing it because they have to, they garden because they love it!

Some plants grow year after year. This kind of plant is called a perennial. This yarrow blooms every year!
Courtesy of: Debbie Carriere

Gardeners get great joy from planting a seed and caring for the plant as it grows. They even get to enjoy the fruit or flower the plant produces.

"There's something essentially honest and basic about getting your fingers in the dirt," says Harry Boswell of Mississippi. "Gardening helps me keep order in my world. My best thinking time is when I'm working in my garden."

Some gardeners fill their backyards with roses or other types of flowers. Other gardeners have a few rows of vegetables that they like to grow for fresh food. Still others have elaborate yards filled with countless different plants, vegetables and trees.

Gardens have personality. That is, they reflect the personality of their gardener.

"My garden is like an extension of the house," says Bob Beer of Washington. So the night-fragrant plants are especially welcome. I like a garden that appeals to as many senses as possible, and a beautiful scent on the air makes it all that more pleasant a place to be."

Every day, the gardener can escape from the pressures of the day, retreat to the backyard and water the geraniums, prune the clematis or thin the carrots. It's work in the most basic sense -- making something come out of the ground where there wasn't anything before you started.

Gardening is a big part of who we are as human beings, so it's not surprising that millions of people across the continent look forward to their gardening activities. While some love it so much they work professionally in horticulture or agriculture, gardeners come from all walks of life.

Some gardeners belong to a club and enjoy the social life this activity brings them. They get together and share gardening tips. Other gardeners consider their backyard digs a private matter. It's a time when they can get away from everyone and hear themselves think.

How many people are into gardening? The number is huge! Everybody with a few plants in their yard or flowers on their balcony can be considered a gardener. There are garden clubs in most cities and towns. Then there are many gardeners who don't belong to a club at all.

Getting Started

If you want to see if you like gardening, just roll up your sleeves and try it! There might be a garden to hoe or flowers to transplant very near you.

You can start gardening in the smallest of places. If you've got a little patch of dirt in your backyard, or even a place where you can put a planter on your balcony, you can get started as a gardener.

All you really need to get started are some seeds or plants, a little space and some water. There's plenty more you could get involved with, like fertilizers and special tools. You might need a trellis -- a fence-like structure that supports plants like roses and ivy. You might even get a tractor if you've got the space and the money.

First of all, you'll want to get a beginner's gardening book to help you with the basics.

Don't let the rules take the fun out of this hobby for you.

"Experiment," advises Debbie Carriere of Manitoba. "Read up on gardening but don't take the experts' advice too seriously. Do what pleases you, that's where the fun is."

If you want to get involved with a local gardening club, check out your phone book or ask at your local recreation center for help.

If you don't have the space or the money or the time to garden for yourself, there are other options.

Most cities and towns have acres of gardens to take care of. Phone your city hall -- find out if they have a volunteer gardener program. You may find yourself working in the most beautiful spaces under the guidance of professional gardeners.


California Garden Club

National Council of State Garden Clubs

Florida Federation of Garden Clubs

Garden Club of America

National Gardening Association

American Horticultural Society


California Garden Web
Learn gardening tips from the masters

Gardening Blogs
Enjoy blogs from around the Web

Web Garden
A growing collection of resources for beginning and professional gardeners, students, teachers, professional agronomists and horticulturists

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