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Gardeners are dreamers able to envision lush green flowers and vegetables in areas where others see only dirt and weeds. Every time they plant a seed or pull a weed, they put their faith in the future. It’s no secret that gardening reduces stress, lowers blood pressure, and elevates mood, making those who garden happier and healthier, says Growing Family. But did you ever wonder what things make a gardener happy?
There are a host of things that make gardeners happy, from sunshine and rich, fertile soil to just the right amount of rainfall each week. But those aren’t the only things that make gardeners happy. A wide selection of seeds and seedlings to choose from, plenty of rich compost, heaps of mulch, and the right tools to get the job done also make gardeners happy.
What Makes a Gardener Happy?
#1. Sunshine and Showers
Sunshine and showers go hand in hand when it comes to gardening, as you can’t grow a successful garden without them. Mother Nature metes them out in perfect measure in the gardener’s dream, creating a lush green garden brimming with fresh fruit.
In reality, that isn’t always the case, but pleasant weather that provides just the right amount of sunshine and showers makes gardeners happy.
Most vegetable plants need 6 to 8 hours of direct sunlight a day to thrive and suffer when they get less. But the gardener’s dream of ample sunshine for the garden goes deeper than the garden’s exposure.
Sunshine must be consistent for the garden to flourish. That means days on end of cloudy skies can stunt the growth of flowers and veggies. Likewise, hot, dry days when the sun beats down on flowers and veggies with a vengeance can also spell disaster for the garden.
Sunny days with just enough clouds to provide shelter from the hot afternoon sun make gardeners happy because they know their plants will flourish.
Most flowers and vegetables do best with one to two inches of rain a week and will suffer if they get less for long periods. Gentle rain showers that keep the soil moist make gardeners happy, but too much rain is a cause for concern, too.
Cool, wet weather creates a breeding ground for disease in the garden. Fungi flourish, bacteria breed, and foliage and fruit may suffer. Cool, wet weather can spread blight on tomatoes and potatoes and make the gardener’s job more difficult.
Likewise, dry weather can lead to blossom end rot in tomatoes and peppers and stunt the growth of other flowers and vegetables. Of course, with dry weather, gardeners can always provide supplemental water to keep the garden alive, but they aren’t usually overjoyed by the prospect.
An inch or two of natural rainfall each week makes gardeners happy because they know the plants will thrive, and they don’t need to worry about watering the garden every day.
#2. Rich, Fertile Soil
If you love an avid gardener, you’ve probably heard the joke about not being able to wait to ‘dig in the dirt’ in the spring. Digging in the dirt makes gardeners happy, and there may be a scientific reason for that. Soil contains microbes that have been shown to increase happiness.
The bacterium Mycobacterium vaccae is commonly found in soil and is known to stimulate the release of serotonin in the brain, which elevates mood and improves brain function. Digging in the dirt may be responsible for some of the joy and happiness gardeners experience when gardening.
But that isn’t the only reason rich, fertile soil makes gardeners happy. Soil is the garden’s foundation and is responsible for how well the soil drains, how much moisture it retains, and how many nutrients are available to the plants. Without good soil, no amount of TLC will produce an abundant garden.
Rich, fertile soil makes gardeners happy because it requires less work to prepare and produces healthier plants and veggies.
#3. Seeds and Seedlings Galore
A wide selection of seeds and seedlings make gardeners happy. Seedlings available in local plant centers are often limited to the most popular varieties and lack the diversity many gardeners seek. Having access to a wide selection of seeds and seedlings allows gardeners to grow the varieties they prefer. This includes both heirloom plants and new hybrids for the season.
A wide selection of seeds and seedlings also makes it possible for gardeners to grow vegetables that may not be available at their local supermarkets. Fruits and veggies in supermarkets have been bred for uniform shape and size and for their ability to hold up well to storage and shipping but often lack the intense flavor of heirloom varieties.
When gardeners have access to a wide selection of seeds and seedlings, they can grow fruits and veggies with the flavor and texture they prefer and do not need to rely on inferior supermarket varieties.
#4. Compost — Black Gold
Compost is invaluable in the garden and can be used to amend any soil. Having access to plenty of compost means the gardener can grow more crops without worrying about growing plants in unsuitable soil. Compost also provides slow-release nutrients for growing plants and helps to keep them healthy.
Mulch is also a valued commodity in the flower or vegetable garden. It can be used to suppress weeds, retain moisture and otherwise beautify the garden bed. Ample amounts of quality mulch, like shredded bark, make gardeners happy.
#6. Just the Right Tools
Having the right tools to get the job done makes gardening easier and brings a smile to the face of gardeners. Some tools to make a gardener happy include:
- Rakes — Both garden rakes and leaf rakes are needed for gardening. Short-handled rakes are handy for raised beds or hobby greenhouses, too.
- Hoes — Every gardener needs at least one good hoe, but they come in a variety of styles. Many use the edge of a standard hoe for marking rows or weeding in tight spaces, but a pointed hoe is better suited for the job and is sure to make a gardener happy.
- Clippers & Pruners — Clippers and pruners are used to deadhead flowers, prune plants and bushes, harvest vegetables, and for general cleanup around the garden. These vary in size, shape, and purpose. It is essential that the pruners or clippers are the correct sizes for the gardener’s hands.
- Shovels, Spades, and Garden Forks — Something to dig with is vital to gardeners and is used to lift and transplant flowers and herbs, remove stubborn weeds in the garden bed, and work the soil.
- Wheelbarrows or Garden Carts — Carrying plants or carting piles of mulch comfortably is important. There are a variety of wheelbarrows and garden carts to get the job done. Keep in mind the wheelbarrow or cart should be large enough to transport a variety of items but small enough for the gardener to handle efficiently.
#7. A Garden Bench
Gardeners aren’t joking when they say they like to sit and watch their garden grow. For many, those few minutes at the end of the day sitting and gazing over the garden bed is one of the most enjoyable parts of gardening. It gives the gardener time to reflect and plan new gardening pursuits while enjoying being near the garden.
A garden bench (or other suitable seating) allows the gardener to rest comfortably after completing gardening chores too. Garden benches strategically placed near the garden enhance the space and create a comfortable area to relax or read while enjoying the sights and sounds of a thriving garden.
#8. Free Plants!
Many gardeners strive to add new flowers and vegetables to their gardens each year but buying perennials and herbs for the garden can get expensive. Free plants from a neighbor’s garden are sure to make gardeners happy. This often involves new plants when another gardener decides to lift and divide existing plants in their garden.
A gardener’s excitement over free plants should never be underestimated. Offering to let them take cuttings or divisions from your garden is sure to make a gardener happy, too. Likewise, offering another gardener leftover seedlings in the spring, or offering to exchange seedlings so you can both have more varieties, is sure to make the gardener in your life happy.
#9. Gardening Books!
Gardening books filled with brightly colored gardens or unique vegetable garden designs help gardeners develop new ideas and designs for their own gardens. Gardeners also enjoy gardening books specific to particular types of gardens, such as books on growing herbs, perennials, or fruit trees.
While each gardener will have their own book preferences, depending on their areas of interest and expertise, gardening books are always a good choice when looking for a gift for a gardener. If you are unsure which gardening books your gardener would prefer, give a gift certificate to the book store instead so they can choose the books they enjoy.
#10. Trellises and Garden Art
The days of vegetable gardens planted in traditional straight rows are becoming a thing of the past. Most modern gardeners prefer to intermix vegetables, herbs, and flowers to create an attractive display. This includes unique and unusual trellises for vining plants and strategically placed garden art to highlight the garden’s beauty.
Creating a lush garden filled with color and style and plenty of vegetables makes modern gardeners happy. Trellises, birdbaths, wind chimes, and birdhouses are often included as part of the garden design.
Some prefer to add berry bushes, dwarf fruit trees, and eye-appealing veggies to the perennial bed or along walkways to create an edible landscape. Trellises and garden art that enhance the area bring joy to many gardeners and make them happy.
#11. Admiring Eyes & Praise
When it comes to things that make gardeners happy, you can’t overlook the joy of admiring eyes and words of praise from family and guests. Gardeners take pride in their creations of living art and like to hear from others that they have done a good job.
If you admire their garden designs or otherwise appreciate the hard work of a gardener in your life, words of praise are sure to make the gardener happy.
#12. Gift Certificates
Gift certificates to seed companies, garden or plant centers, and companies specializing in garden art are always appreciated and allow gardeners to acquire the things they need and want for the garden. If you aren’t sure what will make the gardener on your list happy, a gift certificate to one of their favorite places is always a safe bet.
#13. An Abundant Harvest
Gardeners are an unusual lot who often enjoy the act of growing fruits, veggies, and flowers as much as they enjoy the fruit of their labor. But that is not to say they aren’t overjoyed when they reap an abundant harvest.
Harvesting and serving fresh fruits and vegetables to their family makes gardeners happy because they know they provide healthy, nutritious food brimming with vitamins and minerals.
According to Statistica, 31.9 million American households grew vegetables in 2019, 35.8 million grew flowers, and another18 million households reported growing herbs. While few can argue that the things listed above will make most of these gardeners happy, tastes and styles differ. While one will be delighted by songbirds singing from the trellis, another may enjoy attracting butterflies to the garden. Likewise, some gardeners prefer eclectic art pieces, while others prefer traditional rows of veggies with no adornment. The key to making gardeners happy is understanding their preferences and style and giving them gifts in line with what they enjoy.