This weekend many of us will sit down with family and friends and celebrate Thanksgiving together. I’ve always maintained that in Canada we have so much to be thankful for that we have become masters at coming up with things to complain about! Weather, governments, bad drivers, our neighbours to the south; we are very accomplished at complaining in this country.
If you’re only going to focus on gratitude for one day, it’s better than nothing I guess. Gardeners have no end of blessings to count, from minute begonia seeds no bigger than dust to massive oak trees, our lives are graced by gardening.
Here are some things that I’m grateful for this Thanksgiving:
Plants that thrive without any extra attention. I love the ornamental grasses, the sedums, lavender, Russian sage and butterfly bush in my garden. I don’t have to coddle them, I don’t worry about them during the 38 deg. C days of July and August and they don’t wilt and die if I miss a watering day.
These plants look as comfortable in my garden as the native plants on our hillsides. They have thrived in the gravel that masquerades as soil and I’m thankful for them every day I’m out in the garden.
Words of encouragement from my family. Here’s a secret-I don’t garden for myself. Surrounding myself with beautiful plants, maintaining a small, but deep green lawn, growing vegetables; these are things that I believe are hard-wired into my genes. I would do it anyway. But when my wife or my daughter says after looking into the back garden “Honey/Daddy, the garden looks really nice” that’s the payoff. That’s why I do it, not for me, for them. I’m grateful for the opportunity to create a beautiful space for them.
Mentors. I’ve been extremely fortunate to have crossed paths with some gardening goliaths who have had more impact on me than they could ever know. Lew Wright was our kind and patient neighbour when I was a kid who had a phenomenal garden and who took the time to walk through it with me.
Bernard Moore, who I’ve written of before, was my inspiration long before I had a chance to host a radio program answering gardener’s questions. He will always be the master. My parents’ green thumbs were keys to my interest in horticulture and they continue to guide me today. Their garden and its bounty of produce, and their advice is only minutes away any time I need to draw on it. For each of these great teachers I’m very thankful.
The seasons. Is there any place better to appreciate the seasons than a garden in the Okanagan? I say absolutely not. We have it all here; glorious autumn with its blazing colours and fabulous light, bursts of cold and snow through winter to remind us that we are a northern people, the entertaining and always-changing weather of spring, and the incredible summer when it seems everyone wants to come and enjoy it with us. Each season has its own distinct character and blessings and I’m grateful for all of them.
Readers and listeners. Pinch me, I’m dreaming. People actually read what I write about gardening every week in the newspaper? They will tune into a radio station for an entire hour to listen what my good friend and co-host Terry and I have to say each Saturday morning? I’m truly honoured and very grateful. Have and happy and gratitude-filled Thanksgiving holiday.