If you asked me how I got into gardening, I could easily look back at my life and point out a few meaningful moments. Gardening inspirations practically surrounded me. Several family members inspired me to become a gardener – both my mom and dad as well as both of their dads, my grandfathers.
My mom’s dad grew an incredible long-stem rose garden. I can barely recall, but I do remember it fondly. Even after we lost him when I was only 7, my grandmother always cut a bouquet of his roses for special occasions like my graduation and housewarming.
My paternal grandfather loved growing his tomatoes. My dad does, too. And my dad turned me onto zinnias, one of my absolute favorite flowers of all time.
I love talking gardening with him whenever we get the chance. He saves me zinnia seeds every year.
Also, I love how he got my girls involved with gardening from the time they were very small.
My mom started a huge garden when we left the city and moved to Bucks County, Pennsylvania.
Mom let me and my friend take the surplus vegetables to the shopping center at the top of the street in our wagon. We’d sit for hours and sell green beans, zucchini, and whatever else she grew and had extras of, to all the people who wanted fresh veggies.
I learned at a young age that you could make money doing something besides working a real job. It was a lifechanging experience for me.
To write this piece, I reached out to those I know and others out there who were willing to share their gardening inspirations. When I asked on Reddit’s gardening sub, Redditors delivered!
So, How Did You Become a Gardener?!
I told y’all how I got where I am. Now, let’s explore some of the fun and sentimental stories of people’s inspirations on becoming gardeners.
Garden Inspirations from College or a Job
Sometimes school and job opportunities make it easy to fall in love with a particular hobby, like gardening.
“I guess I had some interest in gardening before college, because for some reason I chose botany over general science for my science credit,” says Gale, owner of Texifornia.blogspot.com, in Zone 10.
“It was the hardest class I ever took, but I loved the labs where we actually got to grow stuff. That summer, needing a job, I applied at a local garden shop. I worked there for two summers, and took home flowers and herbs to plant in my parent’s yard. That was the start of my love of gardening.”
Strong Family Inspirations to Grow a Garden
Sometimes multiple close family members inspire us to start gardens in our own adult life.
For Redditor Cdub7791, special inspiration to grow a garden came from several directions.
“My grandfather was a farmer, albeit retired long before I was born, and kept these two huge gardens I remember ‘helping’ him with when I was barely out of toddling,” says Cdub7791. “My father also gardened on and off over the years.”
“The most immediate inspiration was when my wife got pregnant with our child,” Cdub7791 shares. “I had the weirdest but very strong urge to grow ALL the vegetables 😆. My wife said it was my nesting instinct, maybe she was right.”
Another gardener, redheadMInerd2 on Reddit, shares that her mom, who grew up on a farm, offered part of the inspiration to become a gardener.
“And my uncle, who we visited every summer, was a horticulture teacher and always had a fantastic vegetable garden,” redheadMInerd2 says. “Learned canning from my mom, too. Then I became a Master Gardener, made many friends, and have learned immensely more, and see actual gardens for inspiration.”
“My Dad and both of my grandmothers kept a veggie garden, a few flowerbeds, and gobs of houseplants,” says No-Lavishness-1635 on Reddit. “I loved helping them and learning how to grow. I had lots of houseplants and a couple flowerbeds after I left home, but could never get a veggie garden going until I moved into this house in 2003. Now I have a nice sized, well established veggie plot, several flowerbeds, and only 8 houseplants. 😅”
Inspired by Grandparents & Parents
Many times, the love we develop for a hobby, such as gardening, stems from early childhood experiences.
Grandparents and parents may inspire you to start gardening yourself!
Here are some instances where parents and grandparents served as the inspiration for starting a garden.
“My inspiration comes from both sets of grandparents and my parents,” says Jessica Van Druff of New Jersey. “I can remember watching all of my grandparents working in their gardens. Letting me help, and more importantly, letting me taste the fresh vegetables.”
“My grandmother would make a day of gathering tomatoes and turning it into jars and jars of homemade sauce. There is something so rewarding in planting something, nurturing it, watching it grow and turning it into food that feeds your family. I love passing this down to my children. I believe it connects them to the earth and gives them a greater appreciation for the food they eat.”
“My paternal grandparents grew tons of vegetables and a few fruit trees and my maternal grandparents always had huge flower garden so I got the best of both worlds,” says Redditor RudeExplanation9304. “I didn’t realize the impact it had on me until I moved into my first house. After the first month I had a dozen plants. After the first year over thirty. It’s been four years and I now have 150+ potted plants, 2 raised beds, and more on the way.”
Redditor FineCannabisGrower says inspiration to start gardening came from “my parents and Ed Rosenthal.”
Special Connections Forged in the Garden
Redditor _rodtorfulson shares that Mom, Dad, and maternal grandfather created beautiful gardening memories and experiences that served as inspiration.
“Long story but my dad grew up with not a lot of money, no education and had a huge family,” shares _rodtorfulson. “His father worked all of the time and struggled with alcohol and anger issues. My dad never got a chance to have a close relationship with him.”
“But when my parents got together, he really connected with my granddad and they became such great friends. One of their favourite things to do together was garden.”
“My grandad loved gardening and showed my dad how to make a vegetable garden in our backyard. They spent so much time working in the garden together. I love that my dad got to have a father figure and have my grandad show him a wonderful hobby that he really enjoyed.”
“I lost my dad a few months ago and my grandad in 1998 but I think of them every time I get to enjoy looking at a beautiful garden! 💖”
So truly sorry for your loss, _rodtorfulson. Very glad you get to hold these special memories and this timeless hobby close as a connection to your loved ones.
From Grandparents and Great Grandparents
Those loving grandparents shine bright as inspirations to future gardeners. Many of the gardeners I surveyed mentioned grandparents alone or in combination as inspiring a garden.
“My parents divorced when I was 6 years old and my dad dropped us with my grandparents for the holidays,” says Redditor One-Cryptographer827. “They ended up raising me for the next 10 years. My grandma forced me to have my own garden every summer. I was allowed to plant anything I wanted but I HAD to take care of it. At the time I hated and resented it. Flash to adulthood and my 1st house and yard. I couldn’t wait to plant and tend gardens. I’ve been hooked ever since. I was able to thank my grandma before she died. She taught me to be self-sufficient and instilled a joy of nature.”
Another vote for grandmother (paternal) comes from Redditor jpiglet86.
“She always had veggies and herbs growing and we were always snacking on them,” says jpiglet86. “She had chives growing right next to the side door that we always went in and out of and we grabbed a bunch to snack on each time we went by. I can still hear her voice yelling at us from inside the house to ‘Please save some for her cooking!’ 😂”
Meanwhile, Redditor Chronic_glory shares that interest in gardening started with a great grandmother. Unfortunately, some particularly problematic family relationships stemming from great grandmother complicated the poster’s mother’s and family’s lives.
Chronic_glory says, “I guess I ~grew~ love years after that on my own after that!”
Love in the garden so often does carry down from generation to generation. Gardening inspirations often seem genetic!
Redditor crossbowman44 shares that grandparents definitely served as inspiration to grow a garden.
“Despite being almost 80, they have a garden that’s even better than mine,” crossbowman44 says. “They make tomato sauce every year with their tomatoes.”
Gardening Inspirations From Fathers
Likewise, my own mom regards her father as the inspiration behind her love of gardening.
“My dad’s love of gardening fills a special place in my heart,” says Susan Keenan of Pennsylvania. “We didn’t have much of a yard, but he used every bit of its perimeters to create our personal oasis of beauty and delicious fruits and veggies. His roses were his pride and joy, but so were his purple irises, pink and white peonies, lilacs, grape hyacinths, and colorful marigolds.”
“We had fresh strawberries and blackberries (from my maternal grandmother’s farm) throughout the summer along with Big Boy tomatoes, cherry hot peppers, bell peppers, cucumbers, beans, scallions, and lettuce. I’m sure there were many others, but the memory of a small child tends to hold the favorites dearest.”
Mothers Who Inspired Gardening
So many times, a mom who enjoys gardening inspires her kids to become gardeners, too.
This is one of my own goals, as I try to share the best things about gardening with my own two daughters.
Redditor shadpucker63 shared that Mom is the source of inspiration for growing a garden.
Also on Reddit’s gardening sub, Guygan, from N. New England zone 5b, shared that Mom gets the credit for inspiration to become a gardener.
“She was a lifelong gardener and became deeply involved in her local GCA garden club,” Guygan says; “she went on to be GCA judge and won many flower arranging and horticulture ribbons and medals.”
“She passed last summer at 90 and I miss her every day. My house is full of plants that I’ve gotten from her over the years.”
Many heartfelt condolences! I am glad Guygan is surrounded by special plants from Mom to this day.
Gardening by Independent Discovery
Sometimes gardeners find their own inspiration outside of relationships with loved ones or friends.
When sharing the impetus to become a gardener, Redditor Ok_Grape_8284 says, “This is going to sound controversial, but videos from YouTube. There, I said it.”
Just goes to show that anyone can stumble upon this amazing hobby even without inspiration from someone in their immediate circle!
Gardening Inspirations by the Pandemic
Meanwhile, the pandemic pushed many people toward gardening who may never have grown a garden before in their lives.
And some of us, like me, dug deeper into gardening than we previously did in years past.
“I always had an affinity for all things nature (explains my choice of job as biologist), but it was really the pandemic that got me into gardening,” shares Redditor openly_gray.
Books and Seed & Bulb Catalogs
“I was inspired by seed & bulb catalogs mailed to our home in the 60’s & 70’s,” says Redditor damnvillain23.
Meanwhile, the book “Mandy” inspired Redditor AuntieDawnsKitchen to start a garden.
Likewise, Redditor apocalypse-panda found that “reading about the gardens of the ancient world is what sparked my interest.”
By the way, if you are looking for some gardening inspirations to try in your flowerbeds and beyond, check out my long list of seed and plant catalogs.
Produce Prices & Quality Issues
Sometimes necessity truly is the mother of invention!
Redditor NightshadeGardener shares that “the price of the lousy fresh produce at my local supermarket” served as the motivation to grow a garden!
Gardening Inspirations from a Therapist
Gardening as a form of “dirt therapy” truly offers a lot of positive effects, from exercise to finding a good place to call your own.
Redditor snbeard99 shares that a wise therapist recommended gardening as a beneficial hobby to enjoy.
And of course, as they say, gardening is cheaper than therapy!
Sometimes inspiration strikes without warning, rhyme or reason! Gardening inspirations can be just like that, too.
Redditor Mischievous_Magpie shares that nobody is responsible for the inspiration to start a garden!
“When my now husband and I moved into our first house, we had a huge backyard with nothing in it,” says Mischievous_Magpie. “It was boring to look at. I decided to try to populate it with a few plants to make a nicer yard for our kid to play in. All died except one, and in keeping that one plant alive I felt so much satisfaction that I didn’t expect. So much. Not long after, we moved away to a new house with only lawn and I dove headfirst into trying to garden every inch of it. I learned a lot and now I’ve got loads of plants that bring me so much joy, and I keep adding more because I can’t stop now lol. It basically came from nothing and turned into a full-blown passion.”
What Inspired You to Grow a Garden?
Gardening inspirations can strike at any time without warning. It can come from someone we know, a total stranger, or something totally unrelated to any specific person.
In sourcing feedback from gardeners about what inspired them to get started, I found family ties to be some of the strongest cases.
Interestingly, though, many gardeners also found gardening all on their own, whether by the state of the world, books or videos, and so forth.
Whatever way it works out, your journey is your experience! I wish you all the best in your garden and may you also inspire others to enjoy this wonderful lifestyle.
By the way, please hit us up in the comments to share what led you to get started gardening!