Column – Gardening has benefits, puts people in touch with nature

Published 8:48 pm Friday, September 2, 2022

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By Myrtle Thompson

In these days when so many things need a chip to operate properly, there is one thing where one is not essential. It is the backyard garden.

The vote for a chip is overwhelmingly yes for almost everything, but it can’t replace the satisfaction of our accomplishments in the “hands on” work needed for growing things. Nothing can replace the experience and the delight of having beautiful flowers or ripe tomatoes and cucumbers for a summer treat.

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For that and many other reasons I am an advocate for gardening, even in small areas. It is there the owners or the proprietors themselves become the “chip” that performs the needed work. They have an opportunity to become creative, to teach children values they cannot learn in other ways and they may even find neighborliness is a better way of life. Seeing the end result will doubtless be met with satisfaction.

The values of gardening are endless. It is a way to increase our sensitivity to what is taking place around us, to sight, smell and sound. Any untended front or backyard space can be vitalized into something of beauty or worth, showcasing flowers or vegetables or both.

The beginner does not need a lot of expensive tools. A shovel and a hoe or rake are the main essentials. Beside those, two hands, a willingness to get dirty, maybe to endure some sore muscles that have needed exercise, and a love for God’s creation are sufficient for the beginner.

A good comparison might be like the old days when the three-Rs were the first to be mastered. We learned more, and more was required as we grew in our understanding.

The rewards of gardening are fresh air, outside exercise, an insight into God’s creation and the delight and joy of being our own chief executive officer. I hope a younger generation will not let go of finding fulfillment in gardening, even when there is failure, as sometimes happens due to weather or other reasons. Some of our best lessons in life are learned when we relive what happened that caused our problems.

All this is not to say microchips are not a valuable asset to our lives. They provide a way to communicate and make our lives easier even if they sometimes fail. Recently, a neighbor could not get into his garage. The chip on which he was depending for its opening was not working. It needed some help — an unused new battery. I was outside, happened to see what was taking place and had a new set of batteries to offer, which solved the problem.

Neighbors need each other just as gardens need people, not so much to make our lives easier, but to make them more beautiful. Serenity in the garden — the quiet life without anger and threats is a powerful aid to our emotional life. Being outside in the garden we have created, seeing life take on a whole new vista and meaning is sure to bring a sense of satisfaction.

I like to say: “I found God in the garden, not the Garden of Eden, but in my own backyard garden.” It was there I saw how the great creator God taught some lessons.

The tiny bee is one example. It knows where to look for the nectar and what to do with it. All we know is how to extract and enjoy it.

When some striped worms ate my parsley and disappeared I thought they may have died. Instead, I found a chrysalis from which emerged a butterfly, a lesson about death and resurrection. See Jesus’ words in  John 11:25. He said, “I am the resurrection and the life, no man comes to the Father but by me.”

God has given us the privilege of seeing some of his creative powers as they were when he first brought Eden into existence. A fraction of that beauty can still be found in a garden. Happy gardening, everyone!


Myrtle V. Thompson, 94, is a Bible teacher, educator, writer and the author of “Living in Villages” and “Visiting in Palaces” that are available at Look for her new book on gardening experiences this fall.