Saturday, May 17, 2008

Young Gardeners Do So Exist!

Alright, I am so tired of hearing about how young people do not garden or if they do, they didn't start until they get out of college and then garden because they think it is 'trendy'. I am here to say that I am in my early thirties (which apparently makes me a 'youngster'); and yes, I went to college (and had container gardens at my apartment), and I have been gardening as long as I can remember. I don't do it to be 'trendy' and I am not going to get bored of it and give it up tomorrow because I failed at growing one or two items. I garden because I love it. My day is not complete until I get my hands and toes covered in mud/dirt.

I know lots of people who enjoy gardening that are in their 20s and 30s. We are out there and WE DO EXIST. Gardening is not going to go the way of the Dodo or the Moa anytime soon. Maybe more of us are in apartments because we cannot afford a Mcmansion with an acre of land to plant large-scale gardens on; and therefore maybe we spend more time container gardening than building a Victorian garden. It is still gardening and it still counts. Give us a little credit.

Sure, maybe it seems like a lot of young people today have lives that are too busy to stop and smell the roses, but maybe no one ever took the time to SHOW them how to stop and smell the roses. Or why they SHOULD. Share the gardening knowledge with your friends - young and old. Gardening has no age limits as far as I am concerned.

I learned from my parents and my grandparents. My grandmother took me around her garden and pointed out all the plants and their scientific names. My mother gave me my own little 4x4 foot plot of dirt to plant flower seeds in when I was a little kid. I dug the rows, I planted the seeds, I watered it, I weeded it, and I got to pick the flowers whenever I wanted. It was my domain and I loved it. If one wants young people to become interested in gardening, give them a plot, or a pot, or heck - a foam cup; give them seeds, show them the way and let them have at it. Have you ever seen how happy little kids are when they come home with that bean sprout they grew in class? They are elated. They just need someone to nuture that curiosity about nature and how it all works.

Gardening is addictive. Trust me. We had a huge garden when I was a kid. The neighbor kids would run home tell their parents they wanted to grow stuff just like so and so across the street, and pretty soon little garden plots were popping up everywhere. Kids love that stuff. They just need someone to teach them.

So, to all the people out there moaning about the younger crowd not wanting to keep the art of gardening alive - take some action and share the knowledge. Let the neighbor kid smell the flowers in your yard (even let them pick one or two if you are feeling extra generous that day) You might be surprised how receptive young people will be. Share the love, man. Share the love.

15 comments:

Lori said...

Word! I'm in my late twenties, and I've been gardening since before I could drive. My grandma, aunts, and my mom all had gardens, both big and small, and we kids were all expected to help out.

Young people aren't indifferent to gardening, they just stick with small scale gardens to fit the tiny little balconies of their tiny little apartments. Heck, even my most brown-thumbed friend has a pet cactus!

And if young people aren't gardening because they haven't the extra money for it, you're totally right-- passalong seeds and plants really do share the love!

gardensofcasamartin said...

AMEN, Sista!

I am 29 (30 in Sept) and I totally agree with you. I am doing this as a challenge, as a way to teach my babies about gardening since it's the way I grew up. It's bot about a trend bc boy, there is too much work involved for it to be such. I have become attached to plants, to the work. AND I don't even mind my hands looking so horrid. (this from a gal that sat at the salon every Saturday for a pedi/mani.) I get more satisfaction out of my plants than the joy it brings those that visit our home the inner peace it brings me...that is my goal!

Iris said...

Fantastic post! I did not grow up with much gardening instruction and am a real late-bloomer, so to speak. Thanks for reminding me how important it is to share!

Rachel @ in bloom said...

Just-over-thirty garden weblogger checking in! I did a bit of container gardening in my mid- to late-twenties, but most of my gardening has been since we bought our house when I was 30. Still, I'm young! And I garden!

mss @ Zanthan Gardens said...

Amen!

I'm tired of hearing of all the moaning about the lack of younger gardeners, too. Is it just because a certain older generation (aka baby boomers) is so self-absorbed that it can't look beyond its nose and see who else is out there.

I do think that younger people have a much more difficult time acquiring property on which to garden. But I know lots of apartment dwellers who are avid allotment gardeners. One doesn't have to have property to garden.

Continue to speak out and make your voice heard. And a "phttttz" to stereotypes.

Diana said...

You're so right - there are tons of younger gardeners out there. And even though I am young only by my own definition (!) I have been gardening since my first little duplex where I planted a Mr. Lincoln rose and a few annuals. Boy did I nurture that rose, and I planted at all my rental homes until I could finally buy one and really do what I wanted. My parents nurtured me and I nurtured my son who is now 24. While he doesn't have a place of his own to garden at, he comes here and loves digging in the dirt to help me. Now my 5 -year old is learning all the names of the wildflowers we commonly see. It's all about spreading the word, and, as you say, sharing the love. Great post - keep at it!

austin urban gardener said...

that's true! I don't know if I'm young, but does 30 still count? I'm not old yet, but I'm sort of in the middle.

Lee17 said...

Lori,

Exactly! Small gardens totally count. I mean really, most people don't have the funds for huge expansive landscapes.

Lee17 said...

gardensofcasamartin,

Agreed. It is WAY too much work to be a trend for me. And it certainly is challenging!

Lee17 said...

iris,

Sharing is what gardening is all about! And it is never too late to learn ;)

Lee17 said...

Rachel,

Yes! See? I know we are out there! We just gotta speak up ;)

Lee17 said...

mss,

I actually think that maybe a lot of younger gardeners frequent the nurseries at different times of the day than the older gardeners (we tend to have jobs) and we also order off the internet more often (I do)so they don't notice us so much.

And you certainly don't need to have property to garden - you can container garden or rent a garden plot in the city ;)

I refuse to be stereotyped. I am young, and I garden, and I am letting the world know it!

Lee17 said...

Diana,

You got it! Share the knowledge, share the love! ;)

Lee17 said...

austin urban gardener,

30 totally counts! I am in my early 30's and have been apparently classified as a young'un. I suppose I ought to take that as a compliment ;)

Shala said...

I'm 26 and though we just bought a house last year with a garden plot already made, we have dabled in plant care since we married. We had tons of flowers and even some watermelon and cantelope plants on our small balcony. Since we have started a real garden I love it more and more. We have lost plenty of plants along the way, but we are determined to have a nice garden.