Burnett: Popular activity accessible to everyone

At first, gardening as we know it was reserved for the wealthy…today, people at all levels of economic status garden for fun and food.

Have you ever wondered why gardening remains to be so popular?

Why is it I see in most obituaries for people, gardening is very often listed as one of that person’s favourite activities?

Gardening can be traced back to ancient times when forest gardening was the way to produce food for the table.

Basically, people would encourage fruit trees, berry bushes and vegetables to grow naturally along river banks and other areas where there was a natural support system.

While this form of gardening has taken on a new life in the past 30 years, I will leave that topic for another article.

Gradually over time people began to cultivate vegetables and fruits in specified locations and introduce irrigation and other tools to enhance production.

At the same time, aesthetics became important to these gardeners.

The beauty of flowers and foliage was introduced alongside the food crops.

At first, gardening as we know it today was reserved for the wealthy, with most regular families only allotted small plots of land in communal spaces to grow food.

Today, people of all levels of economic status can take full advantage of what to me is an activity which provides so much to our lives.

Just wonder at the diversity and magnitude of all aspects of horticulture, from the magic of a seed germinating to the amazing ability of plants to take sunlight and through photosynthesis, combined with elements that produce the starches and sugars which form the basis of our diet.

As well, plants are the source of the precious oxygen we breath.

How about the fact that the plant kingdom includes over 260,000 species and with modern breeding techniques the numbers are growing?

By modern I mean since Abbot Mendel began crossing various pea plants in the mid-1800s to produce variations in pod size, plant size and other traits.

I love to observe the differences and similarities between the various plant families.

I also love to see how some plants can withstand severe cold conditions yet others will succumb to the slightest frost.

Many gardeners have the desire to enjoy plants from all parts of the world both indoor and out from orchids to pine trees.

The process of how we can take a piece of one plant and graft it on to another is another wonder in this world of gardening.

There is something special about having several varieties of fruit on one tree or several colours of blossoms on one climbing rose.

•••

This Saturday and Sunday, I will be a guest presenter for the Kelowna Home Show at Prospera Place.

My presentation will be about the passion of gardening and why it is so endearing to so many people.

Join with me to celebrate how gardening has changed over the years and see what is new and exciting in plant material and methodology.

This will be an ideal way to kick off the gardening season while enjoying your time at the home show.

My presentation times are 11 a.m. for both days.

Watch as well at 2 p.m. on both days for my fellow presenters, the interior design team of  Cheryl Gillespie and Sam Sakura.

See you at the show.