7 Reasons Why Gardening Should Be Your New Hobby

7 Reasons Why Gardening Should Be Your New Hobby

Gardens are radical and you should start one.
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Many people think of gardening as boring, time-consuming, complicated, or, Heaven forbid, a retirement hobby for old people who don't play golf. In reality, gardening is an enjoyable pastime that benefits not only the gardener but also the space around him or her. The following are seven reasons why you should consider gardening as a hobby for yourself.

1. It's basically free therapy.

Think about it -- soaking up the vitamin D, getting out your anger by breaking up the soil, and resting in the peaceful presence of your plant babies. Is there anything better? It's the perfect activity for people who need to lift their spirits or just want to create their own natural sanctuary.

2. It's good for your health.

While gardening's not an intense activity, it does give you the opportunity to get out there and sweat a bit, not to mention all the fresh, nutritious vegetables you'll have readily available!

3. It's a great way to beautify any space.

The best kind of beauty is always natural beauty. I mean, have you SEEN plants? Nothing can match the charm of a flower, or the uplifting green of a thriving leaf. And, since gardening can be done anywhere, it's perfect for drab, unused spaces that need sprucing up.

4. It's a great way to save money.

For the same price of a couple of tomatoes, you can buy a packet of seeds and grow dozens of tomatoes per plant. It's crazy how many fruits or veggies a single plant can produce. In fact, it's the best return on investment I can think of.

5. It makes a difference for the environment (even more than you think).

Of course, the more plants we propagate, the more greenhouse gas we can eliminate from the atmosphere, but beyond that, the less we rely on out-of-state and foreign produce, the fewer fossil fuels we consume. It takes a staggering amount of energy -- much of it unsustainable -- to industrially sow, propagate, harvest, preserve, and transport fresh produce on the massive scale we do today. Compare that to the near-invisible carbon footprint of a backyard garden, and it's clear that the world would be better off if more people relied on their own gardens for produce.

6. You'll never get bored.

There's always something new to do in a garden. Each season brings its own tasks and opportunities: Starting seeds in late winter and early spring, sowing in late spring and early summer, weeding, watering, and fertilizing in summer, harvesting in late summer and fall, and starting all over again by planning over the winter. You can even branch out into activities such as plant breeding or competition.

7. It's surprisingly creative.

Sure, the care of plants is rooted in science, but there are endless ways to make it an art. Create a decorative fairy garden, or grow a canopy from sunflowers and morning glory. Play with an infinite combination of shapes and colors for stunning beds, beautiful bouquets, and culinary creations.



If the many ways gardening can enrich your life aren't enough to convince you to go plant something right now, check out this rad ranunculus and catch flower fever.

Cover Image Credit: Gardening Ideas

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No, I Don't Have To Tell You I'm Trans Before Dating You

Demanding trans people come out to potential partners is transphobic.
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In 2014, Jennifer Laude, a 26-year-old Filipina woman, was brutally murdered after having sex with a U.S. marine. The marine in question, Joseph Scott Pemberton, strangled her until she was unconscious and then proceeded to drown her in a toilet bowl.

Understandably, this crime triggered a lot of outrage. But while some were outraged over the horrific nature of the crime, many others were outraged by a different detail in the story. That was because Jennifer Laude had done the unspeakable. She was a trans woman and had not disclosed that information before having sex with Pemberton. So in the minds of many cis people, her death was the price she paid for not disclosing her trans status. Here are some of the comments on CNN's Facebook page when the story broke.

As a trans person, I run into this attitude all the time. I constantly hear cis people raging about how a trans person is "lying" if they don't come out to a potential partner before dating them. Pemberton himself claimed that he felt like he was "raped" because Laude did not come out to him. Even cis people that fashion themselves as "allies" tend to feel similar.

Their argument is that they aren't not attracted to trans people, so they should have a right to know if a potential partner is trans before dating them. These people view transness as a mere physical quality that they just aren't attracted to.

The issue with this logic is that the person in question is obviously attracted to trans people, or else they wouldn't be worried about accidentally going out with one. So these people aren't attracted to trans people because of some physical quality, they aren't attracted to trans people because they are disgusted by the very idea of transness.

Disgust towards trans people is ingrained in all of us from a very early age. The gender binary forms the basis of European societies. It establishes that there are men and there are women, and each has a specific role. For the gender binary to have power, it has to be rigid and inflexible. Thus, from the day we are born, we are taught to believe in a very static and strict form of gender. We learn that if you have a penis, you are a man, and if you have a vagina, you are a woman. Trans people are walking refutations of this concept of gender. Our very existence threatens to undermine the gender binary itself. And for that, we are constantly demonized. For example, trans people, mainly women of color, continue to be slaughtered in droves for being trans.

The justification of transphobic oppression is often that transness is inherently disgusting. For example, the "trans panic" defense still exists to this day. This defense involves the defendant asking for a lesser sentence after killing a trans person because they contend that when they found out the victim was trans, they freaked out and couldn't control themselves. This defense is still legal in every state but California.

And our culture constantly reinforces the notion that transness is undesirable. For example, there is the common trope in fictional media in which a male protagonist is "tricked" into sleeping with a trans woman. The character's disgust after finding out is often used as a punchline.

Thus, not being attracted to trans people is deeply transphobic. The entire notion that someone isn't attracted to a group of very physically diverse group of people because they are trans is built on fear and disgust of trans people. None of this means it is transphobic to not be attracted to individual trans people. Nor is it transphobic to not be attracted to specific genitals. But it is transphobic to claim to not be attracted to all trans, people. For example, there is a difference between saying you won't go out with someone for having a penis and saying you won't go out with someone because they're trans.

So when a cis person argues that a trans person has an obligation to come out to someone before dating them, they are saying trans people have an obligation to accommodate their transphobia. Plus, claiming that trans people are obligated to come out reinforces the idea that not being attracted to trans people is reasonable. But as I've pointed out, not being attracted to trans people supports the idea that transness is disgusting which is the basis for transphobic oppression.

The one scenario in which I would say a trans person should disclose their trans status is if they are going to have sex with someone and are unsure if their partner is attracted to whatever genitals they may have. In that case, I think it's courteous for a trans person to come out to avoid any awkwardness during sex. But even then, a trans person isn't "lying" if they don't come out and their partner is certainly not being "raped."

It is easy to look at the story of Jennifer Laude and claim that her death was due to the actions of one bigot. But it's more complicated than that. Pemberton was the product of a society that told him that disgust towards trans people was reasonable and natural. So when he found out that he accidentally slept with a trans woman, he killed her.

Every single cis person that says that trans people have to come out because they aren't attracted to trans people feeds into the system that caused Jennifer Laude's death. And until those cis people acknowledge their complicity in that system, there will only be more like Jennifer Laude.

SEE ALSO: Yes, You Absolutely Need To Tell Someone You're Trans Before Dating

Cover Image Credit: Nats Getty / Instagram

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Maryland High School Teacher Opens Sneaker Store in Virginia

The commute to a small town that was inspired by a loss of togetherness.

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Shamanda Washington, who currently works at an alternative high school in Maryland, isn't your average high school teacher.

"The community inspired me to open a business. I felt that this was necessary for my hometown and surrounding counties," Washington said.

On July 7, Washington opened her own sneaker store known as Laced LLC, located at 146 N. Main Street in Farmville, Virginia. The store is run by Washington and a few of her family members and will eventually have job openings available. Washington said this business venture had been in the works for three years.

"I have been wanting to open this business for three years, but never had the time. I knew for sure it would be opening summer 2018, when I made it a goal of mine in January 2018," Washington said.

Before finally committing to her goal, Washington got the legal paperwork completed for her business in 2017 and in April 2018 Washington found a building for her store. Washington takes pride in being a black business owner in Farmville, given the history of the small town, and says her store wouldn't have meant anything to her if it had been opened anywhere else.

Washington, who grew up in Farmville, said what really sets her business apart from the other sneaker stores in Farmville is that her store is welcoming. She said she hopes her business restores the feeling of togetherness that has been lost in the town.

"I'm not looking just for "customers." I want people to come in and just be in a welcoming environment where they can be themselves," Washington said. "I want people to have a good time and not feel pressured to have to purchase something, although that would make me happy."

At Laced LLC, customers can also sell and trade sneakers and purchase apparel designed by Washington. She says she only buys sneakers on Sundays. Customers can bring in their gently used sneakers and sell them for cash or trade them for an item of equal value.

"All shoes are accepted at my discretion. I'm looking at the condition, type of shoe and size," Washington said.

Five years from now Washington hopes Laced LLC is financially successful, but Washington says she ultimately hopes her business makes an impact on the community. She said being a black, female business owner is important to her as it allows her to influence the next African American to achieve their dreams.

Washington said Laced LLC is just one opportunity she hopes to offer the community; in the future, she hopes to start her own mentoring program for the youth and work with the youth sports program of Prince Edward County.

For more information on Washington's sneaker store and updates on Washington's business ventures, you can follow @LacedKicksVa on Instagram or follow Laced LLC on Facebook.

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