I am positive that if my children had fewer toys, they would treasure them more. One doll instead of seven. One Matchbox car instead of fifty. While I may never have the parental strength to put this theory into practice, I do try to adhere to a “less is more” policy.
There is power in the number one, whether it be toys or individuals. At the end of his play Candide, French writer and philosopher Voltaire writes, “Chacun doit cultiver son jardin,” or “We must each tend our own garden.” I have forgotten much of what I learned in college, yet this phrase remains with me, reflecting the need to shoulder personal responsibility before trying to take on the world.
At Adkins Arboretum, we strive to improve the world not only by encouraging everyone to “cultiver son jardin,” but also to fill those gardens with native plants. Native plants embrace the soil and weather they’ve thrived in for the past 10,000 years. They shelter and feed native wildlife. They’re beautiful, hardy, and healthy for the earth.
“Cultivate my garden?” you might ask. How to do that in an age of too much—too much stress, too much work, too much to accomplish by the end of the day? This is where priorities come into play. After all, we have only one Earth. Let’s treasure it.
by Jenny Houghton
Youth Program Coordinator