They say you start to enjoy gardening when you reach the halfway point in your lifetime. However, as the world starts to ultimately embrace modernization, some people – young and old, men and women alike – have started to look for a unique, laid-back and more natural alternative to having a virtual past time. While most are glued to their Xbox and Playstations, their online dating  and social networking sites, hybrid cars, the television and many other modern distractions, a few of us want to keep it real, fulfilling, more productive and more rewarding. Of course the “real, fulfilling, more productive and more rewarding” hobby that we are referring to here is no other than gardening.

Growing plants and maintaining a garden can be compared to taking care of a pet or even taking care of a child. It allows you to enhance your nurturing skills, without which, succeeding in this field would be difficult to achieve.

We have asked several passionate gardeners from across all ages and backgrounds what makes the whole gardening experience fulfilling and worthwhile.

“ I started gardening when I was 26. I just finished college and I finally got a condo for myself. The space was very limited so my first garden was a container garden. I started planting ornamental plants – just for something to keep me company when I would get home from work. I was new in New York and I didn’t have any friends to hang out with yet. I get delighted when I see growth. When I finally got a chance to move in to a townhouse (this time with my husband), I made sure that I’d have enough space for my gardening. It’s surprising how a “no-other-choice” past time turned out to be a longtime passion.”

–              Maika, 29, Broker

“  I got into gardening when I got my retirement. You know, every parent’s goal is to see their kids be able to stand on their own feet. Luckily, all my 3 kids finished college, got themselves good and stable jobs. Two, now, have their own families. My wife died 5 years ago of cancer. After I retired from work, I felt that there was nothing to do anymore – like I’m done “struggling for the fittest.” Gardening gave me the satisfaction and fulfillment that I never found in other hobbies. When I plant seeds and I see them sprouting after a week’s time, I feel very rewarded. It’s like taking care of my little kids all over again.”

– Mr. Brodshields, 61, Retired Banker

“ I got into gardening because I wanted to save on our grocery expenses. We are a big family, and feeding three growing boys is not easy. They are big eaters. We have a spacious backyard and so I told myself, why don’t I plant something edible? I started planting tomatoes. We were so happy when we finally got our first harvest because I no longer had to buy tomatoes at the grocery store. After a while, I started to plant a variety of vegetables and fruits. The harvest can take some time but believe me, you got to scratch off fruits and veggies from your grocery list when it’s harvest time. It definitely gives us a huge savings!”

–              Kylie, 37, Pre-school Teacher

“ I grow a garden because I’m very concerned about my health. As much as possible, I do not want to eat anything with preservatives. I do not eat meat. I try to minimize spices and condiments. So I thought, why don’t I just plant what I eat. And now, it not only gives me good health, it also gives me a great past time.”

– Winnie, 54, University Professor

“ I am an environmentalist. And with the clear call right now to go green, I knew I had to do something in my backyard. At first I started making a compost for our home wastes. And I thought, these are great fertilizers! So I told myself, why don’t I make a garden? My first garden was very small but things were turning out fine so I expanded and planted some more. To date, my whole backyard is full of crops, fruits and leafies!”

–              Alex, 34, Father of two

Taking care of your garden is very easy. As long as you have your basic gardening tools, your piece of land, your seedlings, your patience and passion, you are good to go.

What Makes a Gardener?

Many of us may wonder, what does it take to be a gardener? And what will make a successful hobby? Below are the top 5 qualities that makes a great gardener. If you feel you’ve got all characteristics, then do not hesitate to give gardening a try.

1.         Passion

In any kind of pastime or hobby, passion is a huge prerequisite. You need passion in order to sustain your want and need to grow your garden. Everything that it takes to make you succeed in your hobby follows when passion is present – commitment, openness to new things and the like.

Some plunge into gardening just for the sake of trying it out. For instance, they see their neighbor growing beautiful and colorful fruits and vegetables and they want to get their own harvest as well. If in the long run, you find out that your passion is not really in what you are doing, you will lose the zest to continue your garden.

2.         Patience

Unless you’ve got one of Jack’s bean stalks, growing seeds into plants does not happen overnight. You cannot expect to see ripe tomatoes the next day, nor on the day after or even the next week. You need to be committed in doing all of your garden chores. You need to wake up early in the morning as much as possible. You need to put on your gardening gloves, water the plants and attend to all the other daily needs of your garden.

3.         Hard Work

As mentioned, the outcome of any garden will largely depend on the caretaker. It’s not so different from taking care of your pet dog. When you feed him and cuddle him regularly, you’ll see how it affects his total being. With gardening, you need to commit to giving your plants daily attention.

4.         Willingness to Learn

Just like with any other field, gardening gives you the privilege to learn something new each day. Every now and then, a better type of pesticide or fertilizer is discovered. Newer and better garden tools are displayed at the store. Be open to learning new things. This can largely contribute to the success of your whole gardening experience.

5.         Be Cheerful

In as much as you should take gardening seriously, it would also help if you keep a light and happy heart all the time. Keep your cheerful self with you. Have you heard about gardeners who talk to their flowers? No scientific findings have proved that this can indeed help improve the welfare of the plants, but most gardeners who do so have attested to wonderful outcomes.

These are just five characteristics that make a good gardener. If you think these all seem natural to you, then maybe it’s time to put on your gardening gloves and unleash your green thumb.

How Do You Know If Gardening Is For You?

So now you ask, how do you know if gardening fits you? We give you two simple and direct answers.

First – Passion

As mentioned, if there is passion, everything else follows. To find out if you are passionate about this activity, you can ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Why do I want to try gardening?
  2. Can I commit to my daily gardening chores?
  3. How long do I see myself gardening?

Second – Trial

Surprisingly, some hobbyists who admitted to being unsure about the whole thing at first ended up loving the gardening experience. Just give it a try. If it doesn’t seem rewarding during the first two months, then maybe it’s not for you. If it does, then congratulations and welcome to the wonderful experience of gardening!

What Are The Types Of Gardens?

There are many types of gardens. Before you even start gardening, it is very important that you learn everything that you need to know in order to take care of the various types of gardens you may encounter.

1.         Rose Garden

Who doesn’t love roses? These beautiful flowers have inspired people from all across the globe to plant a garden of their own. Passionate gardeners do not mind devoting the time it takes to cultivate this very delicate plant. If you plan to make one, note that you can choose from a wide range of rose colors and types. You can surely find one which suits your personality best.

2.         Rock Garden

If you have sloped areas around the house, then you can be a successful rock garden caretaker. What does a rock garden look like? If you’re familiar with alpine mountainsides, that’s what a rook garden is all about. It has its own rough-hewn rocks, sometimes a waterfall, mountain flowers and foliage. Rock gardens are a great option if your lawn is hard to mow.

3.         Water Garden

Long ago, water gardens were mainly a hobby of the rich. Installing a water garden used to be a very hefty expense. To have one in your backyard, you would have probably needed to hire a professional installer. To date, things have changed, and so has the water garden landscape.  It now uses a preformed pool (also known as flexible liner). Given this cheaper alternative, anybody can now make his own water garden.

4.         Herb Garden

An herb garden is very useful. It is not only a hobby of gardeners but also of cooks and highly-acclaimed chefs. A lot of annual and perennial cooking herbs can be cultivated either in your window planters or out in your backyard. If you are a big pesto lover or a huge herbed chicken fan, then maybe you should start making your own herb garden now.

5.         Shade Garden

Yes, sunshine is a very important element in growing your garden. However, some plants manage to survive better under shade. Gardeners can choose from a wide range of shade-surviving ground covers, vines and flowers.

6.         Bulb Garden

If you plan on making a bulb garden, be prepared to give it your full commitment. Bulb gardens require a lot of maintenance. However, the rewards that you are bound to reap are very stunning spring flowers. It is highly advised that you divide your bulbs after every blooming cycle. This gets them ready for the next year’s shows or exhibits, if this is an activity that suits you.

7.         Annual Garden

If you want flowers  blooming all year long, then an annual garden will be your perfect option. This garden can offer you good blooms from spring until fall. Bear in mind to regularly deadhead, weed and water your plants as often as you can to keep them cheerful and healthy.

8.         Perennial Garden

Perennial plants bloom only once every growing season. However, some gardeners do not seem to mind planting perennials since they show very decorative leaves. They can add beauty to your home every spring giving you spectacular flora and greens.

9.         Container Garden

This type of garden is highly suggested for beginners and for those who have limited space. All you need to do is grow a variety of foliage or flowers in containers. You can also devote time to specialty plants like orchids, roses or even herbs.

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