What We're Hungry For

One fine morning, I was pruning and shaping the flowering shrubs at GFE, when someone walked by and said, “Why don’t you pull all this out and grow food?"

It’s a legitimate question.

Why do I care about flowering plants? If I were a bee or a hummingbird, I’d have a practical answer. These would be my food plants. And as an organic gardener, I can give a practical answer, too. The flowering borders around GFE stabilize soil, build the water table, add organic matter to our soil, attract pollinators, and beneficial insects. The list goes on.

 Calla lily.

Calla lily.

But as a human being in an urban world, I have an impractical answer, too. People love beautiful gardens. Gardens nourish the eyes with beauty, but even more, gardens nourish the soul.

From at-risk youth to elders in wheelchairs, people enter the garden with their eyes wide and wander slowly as if in a trance. They touch, they smell, and they stare. Relaxed and transformed, they stop one of us and say, “It’s so beautiful!”

 Mint bush.

Mint bush.

The abundant, mysterious, graceful, spacious beauties of a good garden call out to something in us that is very hungry. Our urban hearts are starving for the connection and inspiration living green spaces provide.

Gardens are a temple, a gym, a therapist’s office all rolled into one, to inspire and heal people from the inside out. We are built for gardens, and gardens are built for us.

 Passion flower.

Passion flower.