Inside this box is something that perhaps we all could use, a small validation that our efforts in the garden — all of our triumphs, failures, attempts to push ourselves outside of our comfort zone — are worthy of praise, support, and a little self-congratulation.
I found this medal at the flea market a few weeks ago, a bronze award “For Merit in Horticulture” bestowed upon one A.H.Park in 1963 and “presented by Amateur Gardening.” I’ve done a little research and I do believe that the Amateur Gardening this refers to is Amateur Gardening weekly published in the UK since 1884.
However, when I saw it on display at the flea market, I imagined something like this that we gardeners can award ourselves, although with slightly more honest and apt titles such as, For excellence in keeping a plant alive.
For Merit in Squishing Thousands of Aphids with Bare Hands.
Honourable Mention in Not Giving Up.
For Making Compost.
Too often new gardeners (and yes, even advanced gardeners, too) denigrate themselves for messing up, or not doing or being good enough in the garden. I confess that I do this, too. I have a terrible tendency to apply unfair judgment to myself that I would never put upon anyone else. I was terribly hard on myself this year for “allowing” my garden to be messier than usual. I’d be rich if I had a penny for every person I have met that guiltily confessed to me, “I can’t garden. I kill plants.” It breaks my heart when I hear this because behind that message is the desire to have a garden, but a block to doing so because they’ve already got themselves pegged as failures and somehow not being worthy of the task. If this sounds like you then I would award you a medal that simply says, Gardener.
What would your award be for?
Related: What Makes a Good Gardener?