It is important to ask ourselves “why” from time to time, since it’s essential to have a rational for what we choose to do. The interesting part of asking ourselves “why” is there may not be one motive, but several. I stumbled across a quote about growing plants that fits me rather perfectly:

“I grow plants for many reasons: to please my soul,

to challenge the elements or to challenge my patience,

for novelty, or for nostalgia, but mostly

for the joy in seeing them grow.” — David Hobson

I couldn’t pinpoint exactly who Hobson is, but it doesn’t really matter. He and I share a similar like-mindedness when it comes to growing plants.

There are multiple reasons listed and I think each one has a special meaning for me, as I’m sure it did for him. I’d like to touch on these, one at a time. I hope you, too, find common ground with us in the reasons you grow plants.

“To please my soul” — In 2010, I wrote about imagining the first garden, Eden, and what I saw and how I felt. Growing plants does have a way of pleasing my soul, since I feel a real bond with creation and it just feels right and natural to grow and tend them.

“To challenge the elements” — I absolutely do this. I love to push the “growing” envelope of the plants I select, whether it’s supposed to survive or thrive here in Central Texas or not. A wise man once told me plants don’t read books. They don’t always know they aren’t supposed to be able to grow here. Challenging the elements is also a great way to learn more about a species, and yourself.

“To challenge my patience” — Certain species have definitely accomplished this. I am patient for a time, but my premise is… I’ll give a plant at least two chances to grow. After that, it’s gone. A plant has got to be tough to live in my yard! And I’ve challenged myself to learn more, discover unique nuances, and accept the victories and failures associated with gardening.

“For novelty” — I have been known to seek out unique plant species for the thrill of trying to grow them out of their comfort zones. I also love to change things around, like my landscaping layout. As I’ve mentioned before, my flower beds are completely different than anyone else’s in my neighborhood. But I do this to experience a freshness and transformation of my gardening experience.

“For nostalgia” — There is a real feeling of nostalgia in many of the plants I select, seeing them growing during my childhood, remembering my mom planting and enjoying certain species, loving the looks of some species, and being fascinated by them. Nostalgia touches the heart and senses like nothing else, stirring memories of days and loved ones gone by.

“For the joy in seeing them grow” — That puts it in a nutshell. I just love watching plants grow. It is so many feelings put together that form this inner joy, but I know it all goes full-circle right back to pleasing my soul. It is right, it’s natural, it’s perfection in soil, it’s creation through the eyes of Creator.

Darla Horner Menking is an outdoor enthusiast and Herald correspondent. Contact her at darla.menking@gmail.com.

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