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Report From An Opinionated Gardener – August 29

As you know from my facebook entries and tweets, I’m all about new connections. Ambient awareness and instant communications are great. Often. But not always.

I have been in Indianapolis at the annual meeting of the Garden Writers Association for the past five days. We’ve been on the go from dawn until late night and loving every minute of our activities. I’ve been immersed in multiple learning experiences, great gardens and friendly, ambitious people: what could be better?

We sat at tables for ten at tonight’s award banquet and good food, wine and laughter were in abundance. At one point, when long time contributors were being honored, I looked around our table and noticed five people who were bent over smart phones and tablets. Yes, they were most likely tweeting and posting photos of the event, but it nevertheless saddened me.

One of the best things about gardening is that it repeatedly calls us back to the present moment. Be here now, pay attention, the plants and birds, hell, the very dirt demands. We are all connected, our gardens appeal at every turn, and those who pay attention are rewarded by pure joy.

Yes, we are all linked, more so now that we have social media and other forms of instantaneous communication. But when the smart phones and tablets remove us from the real connections that surround us in real time, something is needlessly lost.

This is a time of learning, certainly. As we come to know the value of our ability to instantaneously connect with the rest of the world, we also need to discover the importance of focusing on, and cherishing, who and what is around us, right here right now.

One of the high points of this conference was going to the Indianapolis Museum of Art. This world-class museum has incredible gardens as well, and we could have happily spent the entire day here. Standing in the gardens, waiting for the hummingbirds to come to this feeder, I was again reminded that patience, and the willingness to surrender to the present moment, pays off. Whether the birds come or not, whether the camera catches them in flight or the pictures end up blurry, being fully in that place is enough.

Check it out: Indianapolis Museum of Art.

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