Gartenarbeit, f. arbeit zur bestellung des gartens. Adelung. auch pluralisch: alle gärtenarbeit. Hohberg 1, 19 (s. sp. 187), arbeit in den gärten.
Gartenarbeiter, m. tagelöhner der die gartenarbeit thut: der alte gartenarbeiter Jacob sah kopfschüttelnd nach den bäumen. Freytag verl. handschr. 1, 127.
‘deutsches wörterbuch’ von jacob und wilhelm grimm, leipzig, 1854-1961.
Gardening, the laying out and care of a plot of ground devoted partially or wholly to the growing of plants such as flowers, herbs, or vegetables.
Gardening can be considered both as an art, concerned with arranging plants harmoniously in their surroundings, and as a science, encompassing the principles and techniques of plant cultivation. Because plants are often grown in conditions markedly different from those of their natural environment, it is necessary to apply to their cultivation techniques derived from plant physiology, chemistry, and botany, modified by the experience of the planter. The basic principles involved in growing plants are the same in all parts of the world, but the practice naturally needs much adaptation to local conditions.
The nature of gardening
Gardening in its ornamental sense needs a certain level of civilization before it can flourish. Wherever that level has been attained, in all parts of the world and at all periods, people have made efforts to shape their environment into an attractive display. The instinct and even enthusiasm for gardening thus appear to arise from some primitive response to nature, engendering a wish to produce growth and harmony in a creative partnership with it.
It is possible to be merely an admiring spectator of gardens. However, most people who cultivate a domestic plot also derive satisfaction from involvement in the processes of tending plants. They find that the necessary attention to the seasonal changes, and to the myriad small “events” in any shrubbery or herbaceous border, improves their understanding and appreciation of gardens in general.
The varied appeal of gardening
The attractions of gardening are many and various and, to a degree perhaps unique among the arts and crafts, may be experienced by any age group and at all levels of ambition. At its most elemental, but not least valuable, the gardening experience begins with the child’s wonder that a packet of seeds will produce a charming festival of colour. At the adult level, it can be as simple as helping to raise a good and edible carrot, and it can give rise to almost parental pride. At higher levels of appreciation, it involves an understanding of the complexity of the gardening process, equivalent to a chess game with nature, because the variables are so many.
The gardening experience may involve visiting some of the world’s great gardens at different seasons to see the relation of individual groups of plants, trees, and shrubs to the whole design; to study the positioning of plants in terms of their colour, texture, and weight of leaf or blossom; and to appreciate the use of special features such as ponds or watercourses, pavilions, or rockeries. Garden visiting on an international scale provides an opportunity to understand the broad cultural influences, as well as the variations in climate and soil, that have resulted in so many different approaches to garden making.