It’s not that there isn’t plenty to feel bad about these days. Occurrences like yesterday’s horrific fire at Notre Dame cast such a dark pall that it’s easy to be tempted into end-times gloom and despair.
Which is all the more reason that we need to find hope and happiness in the small miracles of nature that we find in our gardens. We need to feel enthusiastic and confident about wresting beauty and sustenance from the landscapes, small and large, that surround us.
But that can be difficult when dark warnings of how gardeners are causing pollinator apocalypse and other disasters hurtle in via social media on a daily basis. As a co-administrator of a local garden group on Facebook, I’m finding that, even on this local level, communication via meme seems to be preferred over an actual discussion. (Or, if not memes, then links to dubious-sounding blogs that I’ve never heard anyone refer to anywhere else.) “Don’t clean up your gardens!” is a popular cry, and now it’s not just in the fall, it’s in the spring too. Because in the spring, apparently, we’ll kill all the pollinators still hiding in the garden debris left from fall. If we in Western New York were to wait until consistent 50plus temps to do anything in the garden, nothing would get done until mid-June. Which is kind of late to get the garden going and also takes away well over a month of doing what we enjoy: gardening. And then there are all the “only natives” directives…
To be honest, I pay no heed. I’ve been at this too long. I do as much as I can: whatever makes sense to sustain the creatures and the plants. But then I see an actual worried post from someone who went out in her garden and raked when it was 48 degrees. Fortunately, I have a wise co-admin who has been gardening for many years and she replied: Nobody wants to kill pollinators, or ruin the soil, or destroy the environment, and you won’t. Gardening is fun. It’s the most sensuous activity you can do—PG-rated—and you really won’t hurt anything.
She’s right. It’s the people who don’t even know memes like that exist, who have probably never gardened, and who only see the natural environment as something to employ for financial benefit who are really hurting things. We’re not them. So, meme people: Stop trying to scare us and go after the real problems.
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