I think one of the best things that results from gardening is the friendships you make. You find others who are as into gardening as you are. They may or may not be your age, but it doesn’t matter.
When I started my garden, I had very little in the way of desirable plants and was new to the neighborhood. To do a garden overhaul, I needed to buy quite a lot of perennials. I started one bed at a time (sometimes to the frustration of a neighbor who couldn’t wait for “her” side of the house to be done).
Being new to my community, I didn’t know of many folks that I could trade with and admittedly I was kind of young to be into gardening given that I was working and had small children.
But as time went on and more beds were put in, I definitely got to know some gardening friends – many of whom would walk by and start talking to me about my garden. They would give me extra plants as they thinned out their beds and I would gratefully accept. I kept thinking it would be years before I would be able to return the favor and spread the wealth of my garden – but it didn’t really take long at all.
Certain perennials thrive and take off more quickly than others. I was able to thin out my some plants sooner than others and pass the “wealth” along. You see a loving gardener doesn’t just thin out the bed and dump the extras into the compost pile or yard waste container. You become like an adoption agency, waiting for the right person to take the plant “children” home and tend them.
Now almost half or more of the plants in my garden are friendship plants. Especially now that my garden is transitioning to shade, I have many friends who would happily trade a full sun perennial for a shade perennial.
As I go through my back yard garden I see lime green hostas from Jim, a neighbor who has since moved away. Some coral bells are from Natalie, leather leaf ferns from Jackie, a Japanese peony from Bette, euphorbia from Linda, Black-eyed Susan’s from Sue, Creeping Jenny and Lead Wort from Carrie, Wild Geranium from Snooky, and Columbine from my mother – and this is just the back yard.
It is like my friends surround me. And of the friendship plants in my backyard – three of the plants are from friends who are now deceased – Bette, Jackie, and Linda. I see these beautiful plants and think of my departed friends and tend their legacy.
So as you garden, I would encourage you to share and gratefully accept plants that are offered to you. Be a good steward of these fine plants and know the friendships you have and will continue to make as you garden. You will have living reminders of your friends when you need a boost and are feeling down.
You reap what you cultivate. And a garden full of friendship plants is a nice place to start.