"Let’s give thanks for the garden," by the Whistling Gardener

Steve Smith is owner of Sunnyside Nursery in Marysville. Photo courtesy of Sunnyside Nursery.
Steve Smith is owner of Sunnyside Nursery in Marysville. Photo courtesy of Sunnyside Nursery.

This weekly column is being reproduced with the permission of Steve Smith, The Whistling Gardener, and owner of Sunnyside Nursery in Marysville.

I think that if you asked any gardener what it was about gardening that they were the most thankful for, the overwhelming response would be the pleasure they receive from spending time in their garden. Specifically, I asked my staff that very question and here are some of their responses.

Tiffany is thankful for the mentorship of her grandmother when she was very young. Even though she felt she was “born” with a natural interest and talent for gardening it was the positive reinforcement of her grandmother that helped her develop that interest for which she now receives hours of pleasure.

I too am fortunate to have a natural aptitude toward gardening but it was the generosity of my neighbors “Uncle” Paul and “Auntie” Corrine that introduced me to the world of horticulture and got me hooked onto what became a lifelong career. Let’s all give thanks to the gardening mentors in our lives.

Kerry is thankful for the sanctuary that her garden provides her. It takes her to her “happy place” where she can escape the chaos of the day. Nothing beats communing with nature, especially if you can pair it with a glass of Merlot (which is also something that comes from the garden that we can give thanks for).

Wes is a new gardener and so every aspect of gardening is a new discovery. When I asked Wes what he was thankful for, his answer was simply “the earth,” meaning all that encompasses the mystery of growth and the wonderment of life. Even to this day, for as long as I have been gardening, I still get goose bumps when I see something incredibly amazing in my garden. In fact, come to think of it, it’s all amazing.

Renee loves being able to grow her own produce. There is a certain thrill in picking a fresh apple or a handful of blueberries or a homegrown tomato and knowing that it was your very own efforts that helped it all happen. When I think of all the “ingredients” that go into a veggie garden, I have to thank the seed companies, compost and fertilizer manufacturers, tool makers, and purveyors of water. And let’s not forget the sunshine.

For Mary Ann, gardening is what keeps her grounded. After a rough day at the office (she is our head grower so I use that term loosely) she will unwind in her backyard much like Kerry does. There is just something soothing to be surrounded by the beauty and magic of nature, whether it is manmade or natural. Let’s give thanks for the wonderful diversity and uniqueness of plants, the ever-changing colors, and the movement of the seasons that help us mark time in our lives.

It is no stretch to state that gardens have the ability to stimulate all of our senses. The fragrance of a Winter Daphne tickles our sense of smell, the beauty of the Butchart Gardens captivates our sense of sight, the wind rustling through the leaves of trees thrills our sense of sound, the flavor of a home grown peach excites our sense of taste, and the soft furry leaves of the lamb’s ear delights our sense of touch.

I would add that gardens also touch our souls and help make us whole again, for that we should be very thankful. In today’s crazy world we could all benefit from a little more time in the garden.

Sunnyside will be hosting a Holiday Open House Saturday, November 25, 2017, from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm. Join Sunnyside and other local small businesses for delicious treats and festive fun, for more information visit

Steve Smith is the owner of Sunnyside Nursery in Marysville, WA and can be reached at

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