In the Garden

In years past, my wife and I filled the Memorial Day weekend with gatherings and events either hosted or attended. But these days, we tend to schedule nothing. Our recent holiday weekend was an unplanned, unprogrammed, unforced exercise in just being. With the exception of a pleasant outing with our granddaughter, we settled into the most comforting option available for a long weekend – our gardens. And I must add, our very overgrown gardens.

My wife and gardening partner and I are no experts when it comes to the science of gardening. We still find plants in the garden that we don’t recognize and just let them grow to find out what they are. In some cases we just end up with healthy and hearty weeds, but in our humble estimation if the plant is working hard for a spot, we let them go. And then regret it when they take over the next spring.


Like millions of other humans, we find comfort in the cool, rich soil. We find beauty in the intricate blooms and joy in the bright colors. From the stately irises at the top of the garden to the tiny moss plants that cover my carefully curated garden rocks at its floor, our gardens offer treats for every sense. That feeling of dirt on your hands, the wild range of shapes and sizes that please the eye, the fragrances gently filling the air, and even the sounds of the garden fill up your senses as humming birds and bees buzz by. All that exercise of the senses allows the worries of the world to fade away. If only for a few hours.


Gardening is the luxury we enjoy when we have the time and the resources to grow things that we don’t need to survive. And what a luxury.


Of all the homebody exploits the young “me” would have never have believed old “me” would be involved with, gardening has to be at the top of the list. I think we grow into gardening. The older we get the faster time flies, so we hunker down in the garden to appreciate the gradual changes to our precious plots.


As we age we also start to appreciate the legacy of a garden. Over these few days, we worked in gardens originally laid out by my mother, surrounded by stone edging placed by my father, with plantings from my sister. The same gardens were more recently reclaimed by my daughter and wife after we moved into our old family home and were faced with gardens completely overgrown.


Gardens are memories. We worked to lovingly clear the weeds around a bench placed in memory of our daughter in the very garden she worked so hard to clean up. We spent time in a special new garden made in memory of my cousin Charley who spent many annual visits here over this special holiday weekend and who used to join us in our gardening during visits.


A lot of things thrive in our gardens.


Over this long weekend, we pulled so many weeds they filled the wheel barrow several times over. By Sunday evening, we had spruced up four different garden plots and realized we had accomplished a lot. We also realized that if we had laid out a plan or set a goal to get that much done, we’d have never pulled it off. We kept it from being a chore and used gardening as the therapy that it can be.


So, if you’re feeling stressed and overwhelmed by the modern world, go to the garden and tend to it. You will grow there.


While we’re talking about gardens, let’s hear a round of applause for the Owen County Garden Club for keeping up the planters around the Courthouse Square, tending the Courthouse gardens, and maintaining the traffic island on the east side of town. Thanks for making our community nicer. If you’re interested in learning more about the Club you can call 812-829-2493.


Perhaps you’re ready to join the ranks of master gardener. The Purdue Extension is introducing a Master Gardener class that will start in early August and conclude in November. Call 812-829-5020 if you’d like to sign up.


Your Owen County Community Foundation is a local charity that helps to grow community assets. We are committed to helping our Owen County communities become better places to live, grow, and work. We value the beauty of Owen County.


If you would like to know more about how we can help you grow your charitable gifts, give me a call at 812-829-1725, email me at, visit us online at, or stop by and visit us in person at our office on the south side of the Courthouse Square in Spencer at 60 E. Market Street.