State of Wonder

Snail hunt anyone? Photo: Ethan Bodnar

Snail hunt anyone? Photo: Ethan Bodnar

Curious, intent, and filled with marvel: the state I fall into when I encounter an exquisite garden, or an average day in the life of a four-year-old.

Research reveals the importance of getting kids back outside. From unstructured play to literally getting dirty, the great outdoors is beneficial to their cognitive, emotional, and physical wellbeing. And let’s face it—it’s fun. From poking at “rolly-pollies” to picking peas, young children revel in the garden when allowed to; even teens are discovering natural wonders. Thank goodness for volunteer storytellers, innovative curriculum developers, and teachers willing to plant up plots—and cook—with school kids.

Just as critical as individual development, today’s wild child is tomorrow’s gardener, working horticulturist, and environmental steward. I’m thrilled to introduce Sam Decker, a young man I met last summer, to our Pacific Horticulture community. After reading the delightful conversation between Sam and Dan Hinkley, I think you’ll agree that horticulture has a bright rising star.

But now we’re grown. I hope the stories in this issue take you back to your own muddy moments: when a scrap of the garden was a miniature world unto itself, and yes, even those days when chores involved heavy lifting in the family landscape. Maybe curiosity has led you to delve into beetles, or to amass a collection of aloes, or begonias, or another choice plant in the horticultural alphabet.

Imagination and play matures into great ideas and problem solving—whether its inventive solutions for adapting our landscapes to a changing climate, or coming to the aid of butterflies. Don’t miss The Summit, our upcoming fall symposium featuring some of today’s best and brightest horticulturists who are redefining garden design and creating new ways to put us all back in touch with nature.

Please, go outside and play!