We need gardens now more than ever. A garden can provide a place to relax and unwind, a sanctuary from our hectic work lives and the constant political ranting on social media and cable news. We all need a place where we can call “time out” and decompress – a little “garden therapy.”

Gardening is an act of faith and optimism. We plant seeds. We coax them from the soil, providing the proper conditions for life. We nurture them until they provide us with the things that we need: fruits, flowers, herbs or vegetables. For those who don’t garden, this is all a great mystery. For those who do, nothing is more satisfying. Making things grow makes us feel special. Gardeners feel compelled to share that specialness with others.

Gardening can be broken down into numerous individual tasks: weeding, watering, pruning, etc. For the most part, these tasks can be completed without much thought. It’s the repetition of these simple tasks that allows our minds to wander off into a state of peaceful bliss. It is this state of mind that lets us continue our labor of love despite our fatigue or aches and pains. Spending time in nature makes us feel better.

Rachel and I spend hours together gardening in shared solitude. We don’t have to speak, but somehow we communicate. A glance or gesture will usually do. Our garden is a place where we can escape from other people, together. Our privacy fence creates a sense of seclusion. Although we live in the middle of town, our garden truly feels like a sanctuary.

Some people think that the way to attract more interest in gardening is to change what we called ourselves. They feel that “gardener” is an outdated term that doesn’t accurately describe the way we interact with our environment. They think that the image of baby boomers on their hands and knees digging in the dirt doesn’t appeal to millennials. I disagree. Rachel and I are not horticulturists nor are we eco-growers. We’re gardeners. It’s what we love to do. Gardening is a lifestyle and changing what we call ourselves disconnects us from those who came before us. People take up gardening when their lives become more settled. Young people are busy establishing themselves in their jobs and tending to their children. When their lives slow down, they’ll have more time to follow their passions. The task of experienced gardeners is to share our passion and knowledge with novice gardeners, regardless of their age. Gardening teaches patience and resilience. It reveals the interconnectedness of everything in our environment. Does it really matter what we call ourselves? We’ll stick with gardeners.

Rachel and Ivan Minnis are avid gardeners. They live in Leavenworth. For more information, visit The Minnis Rose Garden on Facebook. Contact them at rnlyes@hotmail.com