Considering the hard work involved, I can still honestly state there is nothing quite as relaxing as spending the day working in my garden. Well okay, if not exactly relaxing, it certainly is rewarding and just gives you an overall feeling of well-being. An added benefit is if you are not physically fit before you start your first gardening project, chances are you soon will be simply through the process of maintaining it. But is serious gardening actually a hobby? I dont think so.

I was in my 40s when we moved from California with my low maintenance, swimming pool, and concrete backyard to a small community in rural Oregon. The old farmhouse we intended to remodel sat on over an acre of land which sported any number of weeds and a few overgrown shrubs. Most of which, had been planted in a haphazard manner.

For the first few years, we just kept the weeds mowed while we focused most of our efforts on the inside of the house. In time, however, there was nothing left to do but turn our attention to the grounds surrounding the house. Oh my, where to start?

By the time that particular summer was over, we had created what we called the courtyard right outside the kitchen. It was a small, private area with a waterfall and herb garden, along with a comfortable seating area partly shaded by our 50-year-old oak tree.

In addition, we had put up a 60 fence, planted flowering shrubs and hedges, seeded a new back lawn, and planted flowers galore. In addition to the herb garden now, we had an entry garden, a shade garden, a sunny flower garden, and the following year we created a raised vegetable garden.

I’m not exactly sure when reality hit amidst all this flowering and fruit/vegetable producing plant life but hit it did. This gardening stuff was a lot of work! Not only did we have to dig and add nutrients to our rock hard clay soil, but we also had to plant, then keep the plants watered and weeded. Deadheading soon became a half a day’s work on a regular basis throughout the summer.

Once planted, my hubby who had a job and a thousand other things to do around the property left me to tend the gardens on my own. I soon discovered that weeding took me at least 3 days a week. Then somebody turned me on to Round-Up and I gave thanks to the Gods that be. Even so, you have to be very careful with herbicides especially around vegetables and groundwater.

In surveys, when people are asked what kind of hobbies they enjoy, 8 out of 10 will include gardening. After my experience, I can’t really relate to gardening as being a hobby, but I can sure relate to it as being a full-time commitment!

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