Gossip in the Garden

Harmony in the Garden's Chattier Side


What does gardening mean to YOU?


A few weeks ago my friend, and fellow Garden Designer Susan Morrison, took an intensive 5-week film class where her final assignment was to create a 5 minute film of her choice. Susan approached me with her idea – creating a documentary style of film where I explain what gardening means to me.


Sounds simple enough, right?  But the more I thought about it, the tougher it was to answer.  What DOES gardening mean to me? At first I was a bit embarrassed…CERTAIN I would put to sleep anyone who watched it.  Especially the super hip 20-somethings who were her film crew!  I was extremely self-conscious, and totally unsure how to answer her questions.


I remember my husband told me about a question he was asked once, while being interviewed for a job.  The interviewer asked him who he took after – his mother or his father?  What an odd question to ask someone…not your typical ‘tell me about your experience’…and one which took my husband by surprise.  He had never really thought about it, and the more he did the more he realized how much his past influenced who he was today.  The same thing happened with me – answering her questions really made me realize how much my past has influenced not only who I am, but why I like gardening in the first place.


It’s interesting to note that a few people have asked me if I was serious when I said that I’ve been able to trace gardening in my family back to the 1800s.  I only wish I had a particular photo I have in mind to share with you – it’s an old black and white one (I think it’s a tin type) of my grandmother’s grandmother pushing an old fashioned carriage while smelling a huge rose….I’ll find it at some point and post it.  I love the look on her face, totally ‘in the moment’ while smelling that rose.



But what I CAN show you is this – one of my very favorite things.  It’s a little painting from 1875 by my great, great grandmother.  She painted this when she was just 14 years old – I love it not only because of it’s emotional value, but because it’s truly a work of art – especially considering she was so young!







.This entire experience has been such an interesting one – both reflective and eye opening. I highly recommend all of you all to answer the question- what does gardening mean to you?  You might be surprised at what you come up with!



25 Responses to What does gardening mean to YOU?

  1. I truly think I never looked at things until I started gardening. For me, gardening gave me vision …

    I love the movie! You two are a GREAT TEAM!!!


  2. this is wonderful! Thank you, Rebecca, for sharing your story and your garden. Can’t wait to be there in person SOON! And Susan did a wonderful job with the interview and the video.

  3. I love this!!! What a beautiful movie. Completely brings out your love of gardening. Very pretty, sweet and moving. Congratuations to you and Susan!

    • Thanks Claire and Patrice…I’m so glad you liked it! It was so much fun to make – despite the freezing temperatures and rain!!

  4. The combination of Rebecca and Susan is a potent one and living in a beloved garden for so many years is a kind of fantasy world for those of us who have moved on over and over.

    The painting by your great-great-grandmother is charming, and as I watched your hands plant pansies it made me wonder whether you ever call them by their old-fashioned name of HeartsEase – it seems so right for you!

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose

  5. I hope Susan got an A. That was such a lovely video – it told us so much more than a simple tour would have. I may have to film all my friends this summer.

  6. Great movie! I so enjoyed the stories — yes, I agree, it’s so healing to be around plants, touch them, even pansies.

    So, are you making a movie too?

    • I’m afraid to make a movie as it would PALE in comparison to Susan’s! I think it’s an excellent idea, though, and would great to get lots of people make little videos about what gardening means to them…each of us has our story…

  7. It must be an odd sort of out-of-body experience to have your story retold by someone else. I wonder if people realize that the four minutes of your voice over was edited down from almost 30 minutes of interview questions?

    You are really a natural in front of the camera, Rebecca. When I showed the film to my classmates and instructors, they all commented on your great presence.

    Thanks for letting me film you!

  8. Thank you for an intimate glimpse into your past, your soul, your garden. Truly, a moving and beautiful piece wrought by the combination of a gifted gardener, a charming garden and a talented new film maker. Kudos to you all!

    For me, gardening is my therapy. It has healed me in ways nothing and no one else could. It is my lifeline. I may not have a home of my own now in which to garden but look forward to helping others with theirs. It is my way to give back what gardening has given me.

    • Thanks Stephanie….I think those of us who have been through a traumatic phase in our lives can really relate to the healing powers of a garden. And who hasn’t, right? I’m glad you’re helping others with their gardens…and hope you get a garden of your own sooner rather than later….

  9. Very thought provoking video. I have been a gardener as long as I remember. I began at the age of eight on a small thirty foot city lot in Chicago. I planted carrots around the catch basis of our old house and corn and rhubarb around the perimeter.


  10. This is SO COOL.

    I love it! I love Rebecca’s garden. I can’t WAIT for the SFGS tweetup.

    GREAT editing and filming and everything. So enjoyable 🙂

  11. Great post & LOVE the video. Thanks for letting us all see a little bit more of you & your gorgeous garden. Its inspiring that you are carrying on a generations-old family tradition that you clearly enjoy.

    • Joseph – you summed it up beautifully. Now, imagine someone saying ‘elaborate for about 30 minutes….’ and you can imagine how difficult it was to describe WHY it is your life….but I appreciate your brevity! Say no more!