Field of Science

Gardening hope

It is a wonderful day, particularly for mid-February, when those first seed catalogues arrive. They provide hope and give you something to look forward to. April is only 2 months away; it seems like you can hold your breath that long, and you begin thinking about the seeds, the flowers, the trees, you want to plant.

The analytical part of my brain knows that those catalogue pictures are promissory notes, and like bad investment schemes, some of them will simply not pay off. And yet, a gardener knows that some good things do come from these small packages. So while grounded by pragmatism, it takes a certain degree of optimism, a certain confidence in the future, a certain ability to envision things that may grow and develop from small beginnings, to plant a seed or stick and be able to envision a bounty of fruit or a tree in flower.

I wish we had more politicians that were gardeners. I'd have a lot more confidence in them if they actually took time to look through a few seed catalogues. But there is something about the type of person that wants to go to law school, play golf in their spare time, and run things that sort of precludes gardening. Golf may actually stunt their plant aesthetics to the point they think a monoculture of grass is attractive. Let's look at their lawns before voting.

For one thing, most politicians want an almost immediate reward or payoff for their investment, be it monetary or some other effort. Gardeners know that it takes planning, and work, and investment, and patient nurturing to get rewards from plants. Gardeners also don't ignore the little things, like a some sprouting weeds, or some little spots on the leaves, or a few spider mites, because these little problems can become big disasters if not attended to. But very few politicians have time to deal with the little problems when they are still little. This is partly because they are not looking very far ahead. Their temporal near-sightedness means they can seldom look beyond the next election, so their solutions are often flawed, doomed in the long-run.

And of course our politicians live in big cities because this is where the power resides. They don't live in smaller places where there is enough land to garden. In cities people are out of touch with the processes of natural life, and rain is an annoyance, not something to be measured in a gauge. I wonder how many of our representatives in DC have ever picked their own tomatoes? Yes, a lot of people with misplaced priorities are running our country, and you wonder how it ever came to be this way.

At the dawn of civilization, was it the hunters, whose lime-light was fading as the game became scarce and gardening became all important, who became the politicians, the community leaders, when it should have been the gardeners all along. But the gardeners really don't like running things and they were busy planting, and weeding, and harvesting, and storing, and planning for next year's crops, and you had to find something for the laid-off hunters to do, and it seemed like a good idea at the time. But now, a few thousand years later, we might be better off if we pressed a few more gardeners into positions of power.

But enough of that. That new violet is hardy in zone 5 and is supposed to do well in the poor soil and shady conditions under trees! Wow! How many of those should I order? Enough to stimulate the economy, of course.

4 comments:

Larissa said...

I really like this. There are a lot of community gardening programs in Chicago - I'm hoping to get involved with that if I end up getting a job up there.

Dr A said...

Well, I think this pretty well establishes the probability of your seeking political office at zero.

Greenfingers said...

Gardeners really don't like running things and they were busy planting, and weeding, and harvesting, and storing, and planning for next year's crops, and you had to find something for the laid-off hunters to do, and it seemed like a good idea at the time. Thanks for sharing!

Larissa said...

I think wanting to garden is one of the lesser reasons why I would never get elected to a political office larger than say - a small town council, and even there my chances are slim. ; )