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Gender in the garden

June 7, 2012
By Stephanie Bethke-DeJaeghere , Marshall Independent

Gardens sustain us. The works that we create within each and every garden sustain us in so many different ways. Men and women, children and the elderly, the green spaces that we develop or leave alone, if we so desire it, help us to grow in so many ways that we become the garden itself.

A women's garden is much more different than what I would typically call a man's garden.

In this, women crave the color, the perfumed scents that waft over us as we work in the garden and the infusion of gentleness that can be found in any given garden at any given time during the growing season.

A person who is close to me said to me that he never realized how closely women hold colors important to themselves until he had a little girl come into his life. The picking and scouting and deliberate relationship she sets as she goes through the garden was clearly a source of inadequacy mostly because of the importance that she placed on every single bloom and non-blooming plant.

The anticipation of what color will be coming next and how long it will be there for her to choose from each day.

A man's garden is something quite different in not only it practicality but also for other things that it offers that perhaps a female gardener does not clearly see. They too, take interest in the many aspects of the garden but it leans towards the practicality of the servitude that the garden offers them.

There is also the food that can be brought forth from a vegetable garden that brings more understanding of why we raise things for some purpose.

They are often there to fix a problem that a plant may have or to increase the yield of some particular produce item that they are interested in raising at the time. And then there is the multitude of wildlife that can also attract the younger menfolk who might be leaving with someone who is an avid gardener; particularly things like insects and reptiles.

Gardening is like the weather. It is often easy to speak with each other about what is growing or not growing in the garden without causing your neighbor much to be concerned about. It is often a neutral conversation piece that generally does not stir up trouble. And, the other nice part about gardening is that where we live in particular, we all garden or have gardened to some degree or other. We may even just enjoy our neighbor's gardens which is probably some of the best ways to have a garden (no weeding involved).

We need our gardens, particularly in these days of economic insecurity. It is something that we can do and have great pride in no matter how small or how large your particular garden is. This is the year for many of us to rebuild our gardens after last year's more then interesting weather.

I, too, have spent most of May rebuilding my gardens, trees and lawn from the damaging effects of Mother Nature's heavy hand that she dealt us.

This year may be a year to rebuild our gardens, to add that one special effect to the garden, that one lasting touch that you might not have had in the past. Yes, gardens sustain us, in so many ways.

For more information on gardening, you can reach me at



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