Life is messy. I think we can all agree. You’d like to keep all the separate activities—professional life, family, hobbies, friends, travel—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 were usually images of food, flowers, or 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 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 must 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 us or the deportation or blocking of those who work in the gardening industry are all trending issues right now.

Finally, I recommend a recent post by a gardener/photographer who, as I do at times, thinks 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 it, but I won’t stick to it.