Ministry of Controversy

Stick to gardening

Bulb forcing provides bright color and warm scent when it's most needed.

Bulb forcing provides bright color and warm scent when it’s most needed.

Life is messy. I think we can all agree. You’d like to keep all the separate activities—professional life, family, hobbies, friends, travel, politics—in their little boxes, but it’s never easy. Things run together, things collide, especially in the age of social media. I look at my Facebook posts from five years ago or more, and they’re usually images of food, flowers, and friends. Back then, Facebook was  like a byway of the Shire, punctuated by jolly feasts and minor scuffles. Now, it’s more like the outskirts of Mordor, filled with spiky rocks and dank swamps—a land of anger and fear. In one of the first posts I saw on my feed this morning, someone wrote: “6:28 and my first block of the day.”

Over the past week, both Susan and I have been separately asked (in so many words) to “stick to gardening” when it comes to Rant posts, whatever we may write about in other outlets. We definitely could write about gardening alone—both of us tend gardens pretty much all year round and are deeply involved in the public gardening of our respective communities. I could go on about Buffalo’s gardens and Garden Walk for months, while I am sure Susan could post regularly about the beauties of Greenbelt. This winter, like every other, I am obsessed with bulb forcing and I always have plenty to say about it.

But Garden Rant was never meant to be focused solely on personal gardening practice. It was founded so that three (and then four) opinionated gardeners could sound off about garden-related issues that affect the larger world of gardening and the larger world in general. Issues like water usage, chemical usage, bad (and even dangerous) gardening advice, discrimination of various sorts, and much more. We rarely wrote about our own gardens; we maintained our personal blogs (for a while) for that.

Rant has changed over the years, but, just as in 2006, the four current Ranters have full, active lives outside of gardening. We live in the world and, at times, we address issues that widen beyond gardening—though they could affect it, because, when you think about, it everything affects everything. Loosening of regulations regarding dumping, mining, and chemical use or the deportation or blocking of those who work in the gardening industry are all trending issues right now. What if all the garden bloggers attending last year’s Toronto meeting had had to be fingerprinted on their way back?

Finally, I recommend a recent post by Saxon Holt, a gardener/photographer who thinks, as I do at times,  it’s important to talk about not just his garden, but the planet he gardens on.

Do I turn to gardening as respite in these times? I sure do; it will be a more important part of my life than ever.

I’ll keep talking about gardening, but I might not stick to it. Not entirely.

Posted by on January 31, 2017 at 10:07 am, in the category Ministry of Controversy.

24 responses to “Stick to gardening”

  1. VJ Rose says:

    I agree with every comment posted thusfar. Passionate, articulate, challenging communiques are needed more than ever. Please keep ranting!

  2. Nina says:

    We live in the physical world; it matters a great deal what shape it’s in. So it is up to us to tell those who would treat the Earth callously that we won’t stand for it. Rant on!

  3. Marte says:

    Please do rant on! We gardeners see clearly the changes that come about through climate change especially. Please write about the issues that matter to you.

  4. Camille Bathurst says:

    Gardening is life, and life is a garden. Both can be toxic, thorny, discouraging, and consume enormous amounts of time and effort weeding, pruning, feeding, watering and protecting from ravenous and destructive pests. Both require the ability to pull the plug on something that simply is not working, and the ability to change with circumstances. Both can be profoundly beautiful and profoundly ugly at the the same time. How can you separate them?

  5. Pat says:

    How could you possible not rant about all of the things that make gardening possible – water, air, climate, control of pesticides etc. Gardening feeds both body and soul. Anything that impinges on the care of the garden is fair game.

  6. D. O'Donnell says:

    Agree fully with all these comments that strongly support you & Susan. And Allen who has been slyly vocal himself.
    I’m tired of having to verbally pussyfoot around in conversation and interpersonal relations since the horrid events of Nov. 8.
    Whoever suggested you tone it down can,
    Indeed, just go and read elsewhere. Let them be ostriches.
    Speak up, dig in, rant on!
    And thanks for this wonderful site.

  7. Heidi says:

    I think its more important than ever to share your rants! Our gardens are connected to politics, whether we like it or not. If someone doesn’t care for your words, well there are many other blogs that they can choose from.

  8. Mary Doane says:

    Thank you – the site IS called Garden Rant after all – emphasis on rant I hope! It’s all one piece this planet.

  9. Pigtail Davis says:

    Agree with all that has been said. Gardening connects us with the world beyond the garden, and provides plenty of useful metaphors about how to live. This is no time to Shut Up and Dig. Rant on!

  10. Excellent piece of writing. Write on!

  11. Sandy Lentz says:

    Gardeners are nurturers of our planet: if it gets cooked or polluted to death, all the other issues won’t matter. So all four of you should speak your minds! As each of us must engage in our own places. I’m currently fighting a proposed tall building that would shade an adjacent park. Trees die without sunlight, don’t they?

  12. Laura says:

    Rant on, both of you! We all need to use our voices however we can.

  13. Sandra Knauf says:

    I hope you’ll write about what you want, when you want. This is America, right? I have a feeling that this politeness and adherence to certain “rules” has done little but create and continue the problems we are dealing with today. Discourse is key!

  14. Sandra Knauf says:

    Say what you want, about what you want, when you please! That’s what this country is about – freedom, right? I have a feeling that going with politeness and following rules that we didn’t make and that work against us has gotten us to the point we are today.

  15. bonnie groves poppe says:

    Rant on!! We live in the world, not in a garden. If someone is really that offended they can go read some other garden blog.

  16. Jan carter says:

    Our physical world is being shaped by politics so yes YES keep ranting about it!

  17. Sai Bharath says:

    Gardening is really great, it gives us pleasure as well as good environment to grow. So it is totally important to take care and maintain garden.

  18. Yes, if there was ever a need to Rant, it’s Now, before it’s too late for our largest garden,the planet. Read The Accidental Activist in Jan 31 New Yorker Mgz.

  19. Becky says:

    I really related to this post. Whilst it’s great to have a niche and a certain direction to your writing, I feel it’s also important to write freely. Gardening is not and should not be just about what you have growing in your raised beds . The whole world is our garden and any issues which effect our garden should be talked about. Rant on I say !

  20. Oh good lord! I’d love to know who it was that suggested you stick to gardening. Hopefully not an advertiser. Somethings are just more important than keeping quiet… Rant on!

  21. Yes, gardening connects us even more intimately to all that’s going on with environment and beyond, on a very grounded level. I prefer not to think of your/our posts not so much as “rants,” but positive awareness.

  22. How can one be a gardener and not care about the environment, science, and other issues/topics? Rant on!

  23. Carolyn Wylie says:

    Gardening can’t be separated from life.

  24. Misti says:

    Thank you.

    I’ve seen bloggers/influencers across all genres and social media platforms trying to tread a fine line and some finally giving up and just, followers be damned, go for it with their outrage. As one should in times like these.

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