A Way of Life

by Yixi Zhang

Gardening is a way of life. If learning is a continuously on-going process in my life, gardening just exemplifies such a life-long process. Let's not get into the life and death theme here, but what about love and hate? Or, let's just talk about love. Jim loves gourds more than any other plants in the world. He collects them. grows them and even has joined a gourd club. Why does Jim love gourds instead of climbing roses or clematis? Jim will give you some reasons for his love of gourds, as anyone will who has a favourite activity. Whatever reasons he gives us, however. I'll bet that one of them is not that the gourds dislike him! But it is a simple fact that some plants do not like some of us.

Let me put the problem in a slightly different way: What should we do to something that we love but does not love us back.? If it is a person who does not love me back, I'd say. 'Get out of my life!' If it is a pet animal, I'd probably find it another home. Naturally, if it is a plant, I chuck it, right? What if it is a rhododendron? What if all my rhodos do not love me back? Well, you say. maybe you don't know how to love your rhodos. What if my garden is too sunny and windy, and the soil is yellow clay and water-logged in winter? 'You're out of luck with rhodos!', you'd finally say.

The truth is, rhodos do not love me back and I've stopped loving them. But I am still a member of the Rhododendron Society. What's more, I am a new board member of this Society. Just because I do not love rhodos does not mean I cannot love people who do love rhodos, as long as they love me back. And I believe they will.