February 1, 2022

Have you ever stopped to ask yourself why you love to garden? What is it that makes us want to dig in the dirt, get our hands dirty, and just love plants? I often ask myself this question. Why was I drawn to gardening? Why not hunting, tennis, or stamp collecting? I think we all know the answer. There is something in our psyche that just clicks. We get a rush when in the garden.

Gardeners share why they garden for many reasons. Their motivations include wanting to learn more about plants, to grow food, to destress, meditate, exercise, get outside, enjoy the fresh air, or, my favorite, just because it makes me feel good.

My take is we were born this way, with an innate desire to love plants and appreciate the beauty of nature. Most of us relate our love of gardening to a personal relationship, a mentor helping to nurture the passion like a grandparent, parent, or family friend. My grandmother gets credit for my fondness for gardening. After visiting her, I remember leaving with a new plant, a bouquet of flowers, or just a stroll through her expansive garden.

My love of gardening led me to my college degree in horticulture and a career in Extension. But I must admit I get my energy from working with our wonderful Johnson County Extension Master Gardener volunteers who share the same passion. Our Extension program has achieved so much because EMG volunteers can take an idea and, just like a seed, grow it into magnificent results.

Like you, they are the most giving, creative, and caring group of people you could ever meet. It is because of these qualities that we are hosting this conference. We are so excited to share with you our commitment to the EMG mission.

I look forward to you attending the 2023 IMGC so we can connect, share our gardening stories, and continue to expand our knowledge. We all know gardeners are friendly, willing to share, and some of the best people. So, join us in getting our batteries recharged and immersing yourself with fellow gardeners just as excited about this passion. It doesn’t get any better than this. You will see we adopted the conference theme ‘Celebrate, Educate, Grow’ for these very reasons!

Dennis Patton – Johnson County Extension Horticulture Agent and an IMGC 2023 Conference Chair

Headshot of Dennis Patton conference chair and Johnson County Horticulture agent