Follow The Leader

 Well, well, well. So Oprah has caught the gardening bug big time. This can only mean good news. I foresee many thousands (dare I say hundreds of thousands?) joining the gardening bandwagon. This, in my opinion, translates to better use of our land, an improvement to the appearance of otherwise ho-hum properties and certainly a healthier approach to eating. Fresh, organic, homegrown vegetables and fruits will be downright fashionable. Again.

Everybody I know wants to do better by their own health as well as the health of the planet. Yet, only a small percentage actually puts into practice this desire. For whatever reason, be it the pressures of time, space, work, laziness etc., there is more talk and less action. Till along comes a “role model”.

When it comes to doing the right thing, why is it that it does not happen naturally? Our minds already know what we should do but we don’t act on that. Instead, we wait till some celebrity shows up to inform us what he/she is doing and then all of a sudden we are ‘in’. Counter-intuitively, humans are ever willing to follow the wrong people. A quick once over of our collective history will testify to that. Why, oh why do we insist upon letting a select few dictate how we should live?

Humans are herd animals. We follow. Such as it is, I am then deeply appreciative of all those who choose to lead by good example. What so ever they might be. I’m glad when we, as a whole, read more, stand up for injustice, get more exercise, care for our planet simply because the matters were brought to our attention by a person(s) with some public influence. The fact that in every case there are real, qualified experts who are present to inform and instruct is incidental. To find these ‘quiet’ leaders requires some deep digging, some sincere listening, some serious thinking. That is too much work. We prefer star power. We need dazzle.

If one tends a piece of land, one is likely to care about the world at large. Every aspect of how we live becomes of significant consequence. Clean living becomes routine.

In our recent times, Martha made all types of gardening cool. Many followed her. Then, Michelle showed us that growing one’s own vegetables was chic and still more joined in. Better yet, our children opted in. And now, there is Oprah. This should have a sizable impact. I hope. Tending to our land, feeding ourselves and participating in the joys of working in nature is at once a most basic act and yet one of high calling. As a gardener, I am naturally an optimist. I have high hopes for how well the public embraces Oprah’s gardening message.

We don’t all have to be leaders. We cannot be. But those whom we choose to follow must be identified and selected with great thought and attention. Leaders abound. Good ones and bad. Great ones are scarce. Lets choose wisely.

Now, go forth and give gardening your best shot. You won’t regret it. Never mind me, Martha, Michelle and Oprah say so.

Pears await plucking

Pears await plucking

Potager of a French chateau

Potager of a French chateau

Indian gourd

Indian gourd

Leafy greens

Leafy greens

Onion harvest

Onion harvest

Swiss chard. Even a pot can be a vegetable garden.

Swiss chard. Even a pot can be a vegetable garden.

Page Dickey's wonderful potager

Page Dickey’s wonderful potager

Tomato teepees

Tomato teepees

(c) 2013 Shobha Vanchiswar

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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2 thoughts on “Follow The Leader

  1. I must admit my first reaction to the gardening cover of Oprah’s magazine was to cynically wonder how much time she spends weeding, etc. But you’re right – if she inspires more people to garden, it’s all good.

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