By Stacey Mollus (Published in the Nov/Dec 2016 issue of Missouri Gardener)

If you are feeling lonely, look for a new friend – just make sure he or she is a gardener. The reason? Gardeners are the most amazing people on the Earth. This is not just some random comment I am throwing around; I base my compliment on pure fact. Those of us who love planting and pruning are a special breed; we are full of goodness, kindness and generosity. Because of these characteristics, gardeners make the best friends. Let me list 10 reasons why you need to make sure your next best friend is a gardener.

gardening-woman-vegetablegarden1. They are like superheroes when it comes to the environment – always trying to make the world a better place. Take compost piles, for instance. Ordinary folks (non-gardeners) take their garbage, wrap it in a plastic bag, and then put it in a pile and let it decay for the next 1,000 years in a landfill. A gardener, on the other hand, will take those same egg shells, coffee grounds and apple peels, and because they care, will create magic. They will take the time to build a special box in which to house the offending garbage, then use their superhero tool (or pitchfork), to coax those discarded items to change their ways. Villains will tell them to just give up, that trash stinks and it should be hauled off. But a true gardener never gives up. They will stand tall, gloved hands on their hips, and boldly say, “What? I don’t smell anything. I am immune to such odors because I am going to save the garden, one plant at a time:’

2. Gardeners are helpful. They are not even afraid to ruin a perfectly good manicure if they see a weed popping up in an unwelcome area. They might be standing in line outside of a restaurant, waiting on their table, and see some nasty weeds starting to take over the neglected flowerbeds that stand along the front of the building. By the time their reservation is called, they have dirt under their nails and a smile on their face, but that is just proof to them that they did a good job.

3. They are fearless. They will boldly pinch a worm in half, scoop a mole out of a flowerbed without hesitation, and take up a spade and run boldly towards a ferocious rabbit that is trying to set up home in your petunias if duty calls. (Even though I am a good friend, I am the exception to this rule. Each one of these things gives me the heebie-jeebies, so I will have to show my fearlessness in other ways.)

4. He or she can be an introvert, enjoying the solitude of pruning and plucking, but that same gardener is also an extrovert, not ashamed to pull up in front of a stranger’s house and ask for a tour of the backyard garden seen from the roadway.

5. Gardeners come with a great wealth of knowledge. On most occasions, this wisdom is an asset. Just be aware when shopping with your new friend at the local garden center, as he or she can sometimes annoy the high school students hired to work there for the season by taking them aside and telling them that the Vinca minor in aisle four could use a little less water.

6. During dinner parties, they are the perfect party starters. They are always able to keep the conversation going with interesting stories about the latest mushroom fertilizer, the habits of hosta-dwelling slug colonies and where the best deals on garden gnomes are.

7. Because of their exposure to “God’s Green Earth;’ their immune systems are stronger, making them the best friends to have during cold and flu season. And if sneeze-free isn’t important to you, consider how their extra time in the sunshine floods their bodies with life-giving vitamin D, making them not only the healthiest friends to have, but also the happiest.

8. They are generous. They always want to share a cutting, a vase of fresh-cut blooms, or tomatoes and lettuce from their garden.

9. They have strong backs and strong minds from all of the lifting, bending and tugging, working their bodies as hard as any Zumba instructor. Their strength comes in handy if you ever need to be rescued from a burning building.

10. Anyone who loves the outdoors loves deeply – and really, isn’t that the greatest quality you look for in a friend? There is one last quality that I find, hands down, all gardeners possess – they are very good looking. By far, they are the best looking people on the Earth. This beauty may well come from the extra joy we gardeners seem to exude, but whatever it is, you just can’t argue the fact gardeners are gorgeous folks! ~ 

Stacey Mollus is a humor columnist and a gardening diva who hates worms but loves to get her fingers in the dirt. Her novel, Sylvia, Please Don’t Be Dead, is available on Amazon, or in local bookstores. Contact her at staceymollus@hotmail.com.

Visit the Missouri Gardener website here: http://statebystategardening.com/mo/