on the gardener’s reputation

I blame Beatrice Potter and perhaps even Henry David Thoreau, for our current cultural misconceptions of what it is to be a gardener.  Beatrice especially, cultivated the image of “puttering about in one’s garden”, as if gardening consisted of small aimless actions and senseless wanderings amongst the lettuces.  Anyone engaged in actual gardening knows it is strenuous labor and emotional risk. The gardener is digging, pulling weeds, hauling manure, building support systems, all the while recognizing the multiplicity of risks involved.  Will the tiny seeds germinate?  Will the starts be devoured by garden pests?  Will there be rain?  Will there be sun, or freezing temperatures?  It is time to dispel our unrealistic image of the dozing, grass chewing, straw hat wearing, loitering gardener and replace it with a more truthful image.  Manure stained knees, sweating brow, bulging biceps, and that anxious, expectant expression of one waiting, hoping, praying that despite the overwhelming odds those tiny seeds will eventually become a bountiful harvest.