It’s always a little bit exciting when you start to pick the first of your crop isn’t it?
Regardless of how long you’ve been gardening, the first harvest each year is like affirmation, proof each year that you’ve survived another winter and you can still produce something edible from the sorry soil.
Some people find salvation at the bottom of a bottle, others in a line of drugs but us growers, we happy band of green fingered optimists, we find our sanctuary in those first leaves, the green tips breaking through the dark damp earth. It only takes a smell of mint, the hint of a red root from a radish or the smallest globular fruitlets to lift our spirits and raise our mood to slight euphoria.
It’s been part of many rehabilitation schemes for criminals and addicts for a long time but gardening does seem to replace that need for stimulation that other illegal sources can’t provide.
The use of horticulture in therapy for various problems has been recorded in many journals but the substitution of one addiction with another, alcohol with gardening for example, is surely just that, substitution not a cure?
Much has been said and written about the mythical addictive gene, the suppose reason why some people have a character trait which hides an inherent need for an addiction to something, be it legal or otherwise, but does any such thing really exist or do some people just use it as a crutch to avoid dealing with a simple problem we all have, a need for dependency on something we can ,if we choose to,control?
I am fortunate (I believe) in never really having an addiction to anything. Maybe I do spend too much time on my smartphone, the internet, watching t.v. but these are all things I can and have previously given up for a period when necessary. I used to smoke. Not habitually. Purely socially. As a school boy it was a status thing, fitting in. I soon discovered pocket money could be put to better use though. As an adult it was part of a night out with friends. A post drinks thing. A celebratory cigar maybe. Again, I grew out of it as my social life changed with my job. I haven’t had a cigarette or cigar for over a year. I don’t miss it and if I smoked one today, I could leave it for many more years without loss.
I drink, not regularly or heavily. As an occasional treat as and when the budget allows. The odd real ale or proper cider. A connoisseur approach rather than filling a need.
You knew that was coming (no pun intended) didn’t you? Well, yes I do like it. I don’t however have an addiction to it. Having a grown up family still at home and a small home at that means, alongside work demands and physical tiredness,we on’t enjoy it as often as we’d like. Neither my partner or I suffer any withdrawal (again..no pun..) symptoms though. It is there as with alcohol and nicotine but it isn’t abused and doesn’t control our lives.
So, what about the soil? The green fingered attraction?
It’s there and I do love it, spending time gardening when I can and during most of my free time but if the weather prevents it, or family or social commitments over ride, then I am just as happy. Some days I just don’t feel like going out and facing the weeds. Other days I just like to sit and look at the allotment. It’s the closest I get to being hooked on something but I do feel that high from successes, however small and I guess the need for that is a kind of addiction in itself.