Gardening Is An Art (And So Much More)

It's true that gardening is an art. It's also a science. And in this story, gardening is a mystery.

One trip to your local botanical garden and it’s easy to see that gardening is an art. Even my neighbor down the street seems to have mastered the idea of the garden as a work of art. At the same time, a brief foray into the world of botany makes it clear that gardening is also a science. But if you ask me, gardening is also magic.

I understand biology, and I get how the genetic material within a seed works to deliver everything from tomatoes to trees. I still find it magical, and it’s one reason I tend to think gardening is an art even when it’s one vegetable in a container on the balcony.

In today’s story, though, gardening isn’t just magical; it’s a mystery. And it’s not the entire garden, but the watermelon that holds an aura of mystery and magic.

“I have observed the power of the watermelon seed. It has the power of drawing from the ground and from itself 200,000 times its weight,” writes William Jennings Bryan. Of course, this was in the late 1800s or early 1900s. And to be fair, I think gardening science has come a long way since then. Still, it’s a wonderful thing and one which we should not take for granted. After all, these little seeds will be our dinners in just a few months time!

Gardening Is an Art, a Science, and So Much More, and GreenPrints Has Stories About All of Them

This story comes from our archive spanning over 30 years, and includes more than 130 magazine issues of GreenPrints. Pieces like these that imbue the joy of gardening into everyday life lessons always brighten up my day, and I hope it does for you as well. Enjoy!

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The Mystery of a Watermelon

By William Jennings Bryan

I have observed the power of the watermelon seed. It has the power of drawing from the ground and from itself 200,000 times its weight. When you can tell me how it takes this material and out of it colors an outside surface beyond the imitation of art, then forms inside of it a white rind and within that again a red heart, thickly inlaid with black seeds, each one of which in turn is capable of drawing through itself 200,000 times its weight—when you can explain to me the mystery of a watermelon, you can ask me to explain the mystery of God.

By American political leader, lawyer, and orator William Jennings Bryan. Sent in by Cynthia Brian of Moraga, CA., published originally in 2022, in GreenPrints Issue #130. Illustrated by Linda Cook Devona

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What do you find to be the most amazing and mysterious thing about gardening? I’d love to read about them in the comments. 


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