Passion to garden is born, not made

Published 9:00 am Sunday, June 8, 2014

Serendipity Gardens by Carol Hegel Lang

“Like the musician, the painter, the poet and the rest, the true lover of flowers is born, not made.  And he is born to happiness in the vale of tears, to a certain amount of the purest joy that earth can give her children, joy that is tranquil, innocent, uplifting, unfailing.” — Celia Thaxter  

Carol Hegel Lang

Carol Hegel Lang

Were these words written just for me? I have asked myself over and over again this question, pondering if I made myself love to garden or was it some inherent trait that finally surfaced and a gardener was born? I have been passionate about gardening for so long I guess I will never know the answer to this question. In my world it seems there are people who garden or tinker with flowers and then there are those, like myself, who seem consumed by gardening. When you can’t sleep at night because you are thinking about plants and the gardens I sometimes think even the word passionate doesn’t describe us, but rather the word obsession seems to fit me better.

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Did all the great gardeners that I have admired over the years like Celia Thaxter, Tasha Tudor, Beatrix Potter and others have these same intense feelings about gardening? When I sit outside on the bench to try and relax for a few minutes, my eyes are roving over the gardens looking at what needs to get done like weeding, planting, mulching, deadheading and other chores. I sometimes feel like I am missing out on what the gardens really are. It is easy to find fault in something I did or didn’t do with the gardens and it is difficult for me to see what others see when they visit the gardens. The gardens are mine and I know where every weed is that needs to be eradicated while others seem to not take notice of them.

My gardens are very private to me as they probably show more of me than I often say in a conversation with people because I can lose myself in them and find peace and joy in a world that sometimes seems to be on the brink of destruction. I can hold private conversations with God and other loved ones that might give the impression to others that perhaps I’m a tad bit on the strange side. In a world filled with technology, that shows all of yourself to everybody, this remains a private place for me where I can get lost in my own little world and don’t have to justify to anyone who I am and what I do.

Clementine salmon rose aquilegia, more commonly known as columbine, bloom in one of Lang’s gardens. – Carol Hegel Lang/Albert Lea Tribune

Clementine salmon rose aquilegia, more commonly known as columbine, bloom in one of Lang’s gardens. – Carol Hegel Lang/Albert Lea Tribune

Throughout my entire life it seems that when I am passionate about something I give every ounce of myself. Sometimes it really tires a soul out, but gardening does just the opposite, it rejuvenates my soul. Where else can you stop and smell the roses and see what beauty God has created for us to enjoy? How many times I have thought, if only others could find such inner peace doing something as trivial as gardening, perhaps our world would be a better place to live.

In my Webster’s basic thesaurus I looked up the word passion to see what other words they recommended to use and here is a partial list of them: adoration, affection, emotion, infatuation, mania, enthusiasm and obsession. Any one of these words would be interchangeable for how I feel about gardening. If you don’t tell anyone, I will also admit that I often talk to not only the flowers in my gardens, but also the birds and other critters. Maybe that goes with being passionate about gardening, because I know of others who do the same thing, so I feel I am in pretty good company. Was I born to love gardening or was it just a given that if you spend enough time doing something you love, you are bound to be made into a true gardener?

When I step into the gardens and see all the beauty around me and hear the birds singing, I am transformed into another person and transported into another world where I can find my inner spirit and soul.


Carol Hegel Lang is a green thumb residing in Albert Lea. Her column appears weekly. Email her at