April is National Gardening Month and we welcome guest blogger, Becky Christenson, to share her love of gardening.  Becky is an accomplished artist, specializing in commissioned architectural ceramics, sculptures and paintings.  Inspired by her mother, Becky is working to become a Master Gardner.


“I believe there is subtle magnetism in nature, which if we unconsciously yield to it, will direct us aright.”

Henry David Thoreau

I love gardening. I think most people do that were raised playing in the vegetable or flower garden as I was. I love the beauty found in vegetable and flower gardens and I am grateful my parents exposed me to so much nature. I enjoy being outside connecting with nature. It is meditative, exercise and there is joy for me in seeing plants grow.


My mother and I in her mum bed

My mother and I in her mum bed


It is said the gardening makes you feel good. Recent research shows a strain of bacterium in soil , has been found to trigger release of serotonin, which can elevate mood and decrease anxiety. The bacterium is inhaled while digging in the soil. Maybe there is a little of that going on that helps me like gardening!

Pollinator decline is a concern to me. We are losing butterflies, bees, and some entire species of pollinators. This year I intend to grow more native plants that attract and are host plants for pollinators. I am also making butterfly puddling dish kits, with a hand thrown pottery dish, soil mix, and milk weed seed to plant for the monarchs.


My youngest son and I shelling peas

My youngest son and I shelling peas


My hope is that I can help in educating about our need to reduce pesticide use and plant for our pollinators and to help get children outdoors. Recent studies show children spend an average of seven hours a day in front of electronic media and as little as four to seven minutes outdoors. Master Gardeners work with schools to teach gardening to children and I hope to help with that project.


Dr. Seuss Quote


Maybe Dr. Susses’s Character, the Lorax says it best. “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better, it’s not.


Why am I becoming a master gardner? I care.



Additional Resources:

Art by Becky Christenson

IRWP Events


Related Posts:

Watershed Landscape: Plant This… Not That!

Watershed Landscape: Rain Gardens, A Blooming Good Idea!

Watershed Landscape: 10 Inspiring Ideas to Achieve a Water-Smart Yard


More about Becky Christensen:

Artist Becky Christensen was selected as the artist for an Illinois River Watershed “Caviilion” project through her conceptual renderings from an artistic and educational perspective.  Becky is Past President of the Associated Artist’s of Phillbrook Art Museum in Tulsa, Oklahoma where she demonstrated her work.  With a degree in graphic design, Christenson has also studied under several national and internationally known artists. She taught art at Saint Vincent de Paul School in Rogers and has taught private lessons since 1996.  In addition to creating numerous commissioned works, her public ceramic art installations include painted clay tile work at Creation Park, Public art at the entrance to Benton County School of the Arts Elementary School, both in Rogers, AR., and two large 3’ H x 5’ W high relief clay sculptures at Northwest Arkansas Community College for the Shewmaker Center for Global business development in Bentonville, AR.  Christenson is also a portrait artist painting both people and animals and has won many awards. Her work has appeared in private and collections, one woman shows, galleries and group shows.  Published Works: The Art & Artisans of the Ozarks. Publisher: Whitehall Publishing (July 1, 2010). The Guild Sourcebook of Art: The Resource for Finding and Commisioning Artists (volume 24) Publisher: Guild Sourcebooks (2009).