If you love gardening, chances are you probably also appreciate the arts and the humanities. I have always considered gardening a form of art and the warm, fuzzy feeling I get from being around plants is the same kind of feeling I receive from good music, theater, a good book, or a simple walk in the park where I am surrounded by the beauty of nature. It is my considered opinion that these kinds of experiences are essential to a healthy society, but sadly they are currently under attack by our administration because they are perceived as nonessential or as having little value to us. Nothing could be farther from the truth and we need to let our legislators know.
Mike Mulvaney, President Trump’s budget director, recently made the statement that he could not in good conscience ask a single mom to contribute to the National Endowment Fund for the Arts or the Humanities. I wonder what single mothers would say about this had they been asked their opinions. He also stated that he couldn’t ask an unemployed coal miner in West Virginia to contribute either to such a “frivolous cause” (my words). Perhaps one of these coal miners might very likely have responded that having a peaceful place full of beauty to go to may be one of the few things keeping him sane.
It’s a slippery slope from defunding the arts and humanities to potentially eliminating our national arboretums, botanical gardens or regional and local parks. I have written in the past about the value of attractive landscapes and the mental health benefits of being around plants. As gardeners, we have a much needed perspective that can help remind our politicians how important these services are to us as individuals and as a society. In my opinion, they are not non-essential in any way, shape, or form.
If you can remember Psych 101and Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, you might recall that we need to fulfill the basic physical needs of food, water, safety and security before we can move to the next level of psychological needs, such as feeling loved, gaining a sense of accomplishment and ultimately self-actualization. In my opinion, there needs to be a balance when it comes to allocating resources to meet these needs, so that we can move onward and upward. Meeting our basic needs is what satisfies our physical self and meeting our psychological needs is what I like to think of as satisfying our spiritual self or what some call our soul. While food, water and safety are the elements that help meet our physical needs, it is the arts and humanities that feed our souls. When our souls are nourished then humanity benefits and we become a much more civil society.
What a great reason and time to do our part by getting out in the garden. Take care of your well-being while giving back to the earth. Maintaining a beautiful garden will not only keep you happy but will also spread happiness to those that pass by it. Who knows, you might even be the inspiration for someone else to get outside and make their part of our land grand. By voice or by action, it’s time for us to take a stance.