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A Moral Defense of Gardening

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"Gardening as a Moral Conundrum" by Lauri Rose is a highly amusing and entertaining way to regard gardening, enjoyed by so many of us, as many acts of murder (Nov. 11). But the article may be troubling to some people who may take it seriously because they have neither the time nor inclination to fully contemplate what gardening involves. I submit the following as an antidote.

We humans must obtain food, but we are not obligated to do so by acts of violence, as are other animals who are not endowed with higher intelligence. If we are to abide within our higher consciousness, we need not, and must not, allow ourselves to harbor murderous feelings toward other creatures. We can choose to eat plants instead of other animals. We may also choose to use Hav-a-Hart traps so as to peacefully relocate furry creatures that would interfere with our gardening plans. We may also create raised beds to avoid that problem entirely. As for the other creatures — the weeds, birds, insects, worms, bacteria, etc. — they will naturally adjust to disruptions we must cause in their lives, provided we avoid using murderous chemicals. Both the animal and plant kingdoms naturally reproduce in wasteful abundance, creating overgrowth unless constrained by other natural forces. Our need for food and to create beauty may be part of that constraint if we control our own numbers. 

The idea of gardening as a kind of idyllic activity springs from and reflects our higher selves, but only when approached with the conscious intent to create while avoiding violence and harm. When approached this way, gardening does indeed let us fulfill our needs while feeling in harmony with nature. I submit that gardening may be an act of sublime creation rather than a moral conundrum. It's just a matter of attitude and intent.

Irene Van Natter, Kneeland


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