Japanese garden sculpture for bonsai

The World Needs More “Eden Makers!” Are you One?

by / 35 Comments / 368 View / October 10, 2008

The World needs more "eden makers," are you one?



What is an Eden Maker? 

 “An Eden Maker is a person who brings a little bit of paradise to the world by creating a garden, growing a plant or preserving the beauty of our natural world by establishing a beneficial relationship with nature.”


Why do we Need Eden Makers? 

As technology becomes a greater force in our lives at work, in our relationships, in our pursuit of leisure, people will spend the majority of their productive time on a computer, or in the “virtual world.”

 The virtual world is a great “world minimizer” or shrinker because it makes the world smaller and more accessible at the touch of a keystroke.

In one minute, the internet makes it possible for you to chat with someone in India or Australia, the next, you are back in Los Angeles.


People argue, fall in love and make life changing financial decisions on the internet.

Many people’s lives are primarily lived and experienced on computer these days.


How does all this virtual activity and interaction affect our mind, psyche and spirit that are derived from organic matter and expressed in genetic code and not some “ HTML” or other computer language?

Other than convenience, is this type of constant interaction in the best interest of the human race?

I believe that as our lives become more computer-centric, the more humans will crave what is “Real” for their down time and the role of the Eden Maker will become more important in our society.




The reality is that “virtual reality” is no substitute for the real world!  

The real world- “dirt world” as I refer to it, with its trees, shrubs, flowers, mountains, rivers, the wind the sun and the stars…this is what the human spirit needs and craves! 

Even though most people don’t know the name of the shade tree in their yard, or the variety of grass growing under their feet, people are drawn to the garden!

The attraction is in our genetic makeup.


 For example, if you ask someone if they want to eat indoors or outdoors at a restaurant, most people will choose outdoors.


It feels good!


I’ve noticed the increasing  popularity of outdoor concerts, exercising outdoors, offices with indoor/outdoor rooms, outdoor classrooms and more! 

Outdoor living is still a strong request in my landscape design practice, as well as “bringing the outdoors, in!

I'm not saying everyone wants to garden, but people want to be outside and that is what I care about.



Yes, people may not know it on a conscious level, but they crave nature!


Nature is a “silent backdrop” for many peoples lives

 Thank God, for nature!

It's  our “living” counterpart as human beings.

Plants, our living partners, are quietly present to help us celebrate and mark important rites of passage in our lives.

When we are born, flowers are there,  we graduate, get a new job or get sick, flowers are there, in religious ceremonies, weddings and finally to bid us farewell when we die- flowers are there.

Flowers have always been there for us. 

They do so much for us and ask so little in return!



Being a plant can be a thankless job, but not for the Eden Maker who works with plants!

Plants don’t show up for these key events by themselves.

There is a “field of Eden Makers’ working in the background making “ it” all happen.

Plant growers, florists, garden designers, maintenance crews, farmers, wine makers and others all play a vital role in these life moments.

Flowers and plants are tools for healing, spirit lifting and beauty in the hands of a skilled Eden Maker.


 Our high-tech world needs Eden Makers more than ever before!

Are you an Eden Maker?

You are if you are a garden hobbiest or a professional in any of the vast industries that involve horticulture and nature.

From plant hybridizers to natural science teachers to horticultural therapist in rehabilitation centers, if your hand touches the plow or petal and you are firmly rooted in the dirt world- you may be an Eden Maker!



It all starts and ends in a garden… .. 

Our lives revolve around the garden from the food we eat to the material that is used to make the clothes we wear, to the lotion we put on our bodies to the fuel we will be putting into our cars.

Our lives depend on the garden and one day we will be buried there or have our ashes scattered in the wind where they will ultimately settle on the ground somewhere.   




Eden Makers will always be in demand.

Go out and cultivate your knowledge of plants and skills that will make you a better Eden Maker.

Create a garden and share it with others because when people leave the sedating company of the computer, they will feel a need to come up for air.

Eden Makers, the flowers and the trees will be there to replenish their souls and help them come back down to earth where we all belong.

Enjoy the visit to Shirley's gardens in this music video titled "Pocket Full of Sunshine"





Read a related article on  My Garden School, "Why The World Needs More Gardening."


Are you  an Eden Maker too? I know I can't be the only one out there! 

35 Comment

  1. […] on this week’s show, I’m showcasing three amazing “garden heros” who are making the world a better place through gardening and helping to improve other’s […]

  2. […] you a "garden" pro? Writer, grower, etc? You are important in our world! See https://edenmakersblog.com/?p=597 […]

  3. Hi Faith-I visited your blog and can say that you are an eden-maker yourself! Thanks for visiting and my best on your efforts to home school your children. What a responsibility!

    Hey Joe- You are a “fellow fieldworker!” Welcome to Eden Makers. I understand how you don’t have extra time to play in the garden because you spend all of your waking hours educating and teaching others about green gardening! We do have great jobs as “garden communicators” don’t we? Thanks for taking the time to visit. I hope my readers will go over to your blog and check out all of your great information.


    Check him out!

  4. Well this post really hit home for me. Yes, I believe I’m an eden maker and yet, I’m one of those guys who’s so busy, I nearly miss the seasons. Here in NC, it has been such a gorgeous fall, and yet, I’ve spent so little time out in it. Yes, my life is a virtual one, as I post this reply from my laptop, in bed, dead tired but in need of that last hit from the web. Such a shame. Thankfully, although I’m not “in” my garden as much these days, I spent most hours of every day, writing and talking about “eden making” ideas. Yes, the world needs more eden makers and you Shirley are one of my new heros for that. Thanks for the thought provoking post.
    Joe Lamp’l

  5. I never thought of the words “Eden maker,” but they are so true. But I have thought of gardening as using God’s paintbrush to create my little slice of heaven here on earth. Oh, the joy of a garden!

  6. Marie, you said something very important- “I’m blessed to live in an area that others consider and Eden…” Exactly my point. People are drawn to these beautiful outdoor spaces- either natural or designed.

    I believe more cities are going to green up their streets and public areas and create Edens for us to enjoy. Without it, we will be blinded by the glare of the concrete and computer screens that surround us..

    I love my computer too! Thanks for your comment.

  7. Hi Shirley. I’m part of the choir, so I agree with you completely. But I have to admit, I love my computer too. It’s opened up a wonderful world of Q&A and conversations. I might not feel that way if I were chained to a desk 8 hours a day, but having worked as a programmer in another life, I have to give a shot out to the creativity of the folks who design the tools we use. Unfortunately they are seductive and addictive and it’s way to easy to find yourself living in isolation within your virtual community. It will be interesting to see how things evolve as the first generations born after the PC became a home fixture mature and have families. I particularly liked Steve’s comment about “Time and the effects of Time”. That’s got to be one of the greatest lessons of gardening and it’s totally lost in cyber space.

    I guess I don’t feel quite as melancholy about people not spending more time outdoors. I think we all go through phases where we need different things. I’m blessed to live in an area that others consider an Eden and weekends here are crowded with visitors who come for the hiking, biking, horseback riding, pick-your-own and garden visits. Sometimes an Eden maker is someone who has the sense to let things be and enjoy them as they are. I’ve also been lucky to work with a growing number of people who’ve moved here recently from the city, for the chance to have a yard and gardens and the opportunity for their kids to play outside. They can’t seem to get enough. I have great faith that there will be Eden makers for many years to come. I just hope they all take the time to revel in theirs as much as you do yours. Thanks for starting the conversation.

  8. Katie, welcome to Eden Makers! Great to hear from you. That must have been a nice feeling watching the family enjoy the garden you created for them. That is always a highlight for me.

    David, I feel the same way about you! Thanks. I’m envious of your New England trip, I will have to take that trip one day with my family. Thanks for the beautiful quote from HD Thoreau.

    Kathleen: Welcome to Eden Makers. I love it when I get new visitors…and ones who comment are even better! I enjoyed visiting your blog today. Thanks for joining in.

    Anna- love you always.

  9. What a beautiful post. I feel there are way too many people in the world who have lost their connection to the earth and therein lies some of our problems. I try to do my part (in my tiny little corner) for nature and it gives back to me so much more than I put in. A salute to all the EdenMakers! I hope we multiply!

  10. Great post, Shirley. Our ties may be only through cyberspace, but you’re such a generous, upbeat person that I can’t help but feel a compelling connection to you.

    Although late to the party, I, like Linda, have the valid excuse that I’ve been doing something Eden-related. In my case, it was a fall foliage trip in New England — which is truly an Eden in fall. I love to immerse myself in the bounty of autumn’s colors — be they on wild or cultivated plants. Somehow, it’s appropriate that my meanderings in an autumnal Eden caused me to be tardy in responding to this post!

    Our climate makes us New England gardeners keenly aware of the changing seasons. Fall and spring offer the most fascinating transitions — and I like to drink them in as deeply as possible. Winter will soon hit the Northeast hard, and I’ll be looking ahead in my thoughts to a vernal Eden.

    Every March, I think of the words of Henry David Thoreau (in the chapter of Walden entitled, “Spring”):

    “One attraction in coming to the woods to live was that I should have leisure and opportunity to see the spring come in. The ice in the pond at length begins to be honeycombed, and I can set my heel in it as I walk. Fogs and rains and warmer suns are gradually melting the snow; the days have grown sensibly longer…. I am on the alert for the first signs of spring….”

  11. The comments are just as lovely to read as the post! I hope more will comment. It is so beautifully written in word and feeling.

  12. Hi Shirley! You are onto something here. A client once told me that she came home from work to find her husband and two sons (ages 10 and 12) out in the ‘new’ backyard, sitting by the fireplace. As she watched them from the kitchen window, she noticed her boys didn’t have any electronic gadgets and her husband didn’t have his laptop. In fact, there wasn’t even a fire in the fireplace! The three of them were just talking and laughing. Sometimes the edens we design create a peaceful destination where we can step away from the busy-ness and enjoy the life we created.

  13. Hi Justin, Philip, Mud, Linda and Judy and all my gardening friends- Again, thanks for participating in the discussion regarding the need for Eden Makers. Each of your comments is a valuable contribution and I can see that you all have a lot to say about the subject.

    Onward Eden Makers!

  14. What a beautiful post, Shirley. Eden Makers are more important — and needed — now than ever before. What those of us in the gardening field need to find is how to encourage more of them. You do a great job at that!

  15. Friend Shirley,

    I’m sitting in front of the computer, obviously. I like computers. Really. But… I have the challenge of telling you how much I like gardening – while sitting in front of the screen. It’s not easy talking about the sublime when you are typing on the mundane.

    I guess the point is, when I’m out in the garden I don’t have to think about how much I like it. I just do. I really, really, like it. It’s me.

    Cutting dahlias today with my kids at the high school was just a joy. For the kids in my 4th period class it was a wonder too. It’s October and the field is full of purple, yellow and orange petals. The North field is 6 feet tall and a site. The dahlias will bloom for another month, they were planted late in June and bloom til Thanksgiving. They’ll continue to impress, me and the kids, for four more weeks. Of course theose same kids would break from paradise, turn their backs and sneak “in a text” between buckets… but there we were… cutting flowers on a 7 acre farm in the middle of the largest cities on the West Coast. Not a bad Eden?

    Tomorrow the flowers will join the ones donated from Trader Joes and go into buckets destined for offices at City Hall. It’s old and new. Grown and recycled making for a hundred arrangements. The flowers will be given out to the underpaid staff at our LA CityHall. Some support us. Some just need a dahlia or lilly to have their day brightened. It will be both a reminder to the folks in the Mayor’s and City Council’s staff office of both what my kids are capable of and how important and beautiful the natural world just is. Everyone wins…
    as everytime someone takes one of our flower arrangements they acknowledge just how important a little bit of Eden is.

    Mud Baron
    LAUSD School Garden Program

  16. Hi Shirley,
    I couldn’t agree more! I’m a bit late to the conversation, as I just returned from a weekend visit with a number of Eden Makers living in the Driftless region of southwest Wisconsin. Already a natural Eden, the area is populated by gardeners, farmers, artists, and an eclectic mix of folks in a close-knit community who collectively display reverence and respect for their gorgeous region, who tread lightly on their piece of heaven, treat their livestock humanely and raise them in healthy, natural environments on small family farms, (many of them organic,) and who are living true locavore lifestyles by banding together, sharing and trading skills and resources, supporting organic and environmentally responsible methods, supporting local co-ops, buying clubs, businesses and artists, and respecting and enjoying their diverse population while passing their values on to their children and grandchildren.

    Thanks for starting this thought-provoking conversation. Eden Makers are growing in number and influence, a trend this lifelong gardener finds heartening and inspiring.

  17. […] What the world needs isn’t more gee-whiz digital gadgets but more gardeners and more green spaces. That’s the contention of  Shirley Bovshow, TV garden host and writer. And she makes her case eloquently in The World Needs More Eden Makers. […]

  18. Hi Shirley,
    Thank you for calling me an Eden maker. That is such a nice pat on the back, and a wonderful thing for you to give to your Blotanical friends.
    I feel that there has been a sea change in the way people consider the garden.
    Fear of global warming has been replaced with people doing things in small ways to be greener, to make a contribution whether it is to utilize organic practices, planting victory gardens, planting flowers for bees and butterflys. People crave to be together and learn and about these things. I am thinking of the packed crowds at the San Francisco City Hall Victory gardens and the new Academy of Sciences which are green concepts in action. Families get together and bicycle on streets closed on the weekends. Children plant gardens in what once were arid, dreary school grounds.
    I sense hope in the air and I believe that eden makers and the children involved today will change the world for the better, one seed and plant at a time.
    Best regards,

  19. I agree — and I think we edenmakers have a responsibility to help spread the word. It’s such a wonderful gift that something as simple as a pot of flowers on a balcony can change someone’s mood. People need to get past the negatives (it’s too hard, I don’t have time, it’s too expensive), starting small to connect with nature and understand what we all understand.

  20. Trey,
    You go boy! Thinking out of the box and dovetailing your expertise in gardening with the nurturing and care of children is an excellent combination. You are a gardener- you will transfer your well cultivated patience to our most precious resource- kids!

    My best wishes for you and Monica.

  21. Hi Friends- well, do you mind if I greet you all at once? I appreciate each and every one of your comments and thank you for the thought and insights that you bring to the discussion.

    You are all important voices in the gardening world and I value your time. I’m going to take up Anna’s idea, (backed up by Mary Ann) and create a widget for those of you who want to proudly display and proclaim that you are an “Eden Maker” That name does not belong only to me and it will feel a lot less isolating if others adopt it.

    Hugs to you all and big Eden Maker kiss!

  22. We have a great opportunity before us. The country is in the midst of a great change. What will come out of this change is hard to predict. Things that were predictable before, are now unpredictable. We seem to be in the midst of a huge storm, yet it’s a storm of man’s creation. The other day I heard the Sandhill Cranes returning from the frozen north. You hear them first, they are so high in the sky, but the sound is so timeless and ancient that when we hear them we are reminded that the really important things are still predictable.

    My hope is that from this man made turmoil people will be compelled to reach deep in their psyche and find out what’s really important in life. To live! Not someday when you retire, or when you make x amount of dollars, or when your candidate is elected, but right now.

    We are starting a new venture in addition to our garden center. A pre-school and daycare. So many of them are just places to drop off your kid and pick them up. No learning going on. The kids are often stuck inside and go outside to play on concrete. We will have a children’s learning garden, a lawn area to run and play on, and a curriculum that includes nature and the outside world.

    Imagine the possibilities! The children of Generation x and y, who seem to have missed out on much of the outside world are dying to have their children learn about it. Being busy parents, and in many cases lacking the knowledge of the outside world it will be THEIR KIDS that drag them into a closer relationship with nature, to everyone’s benefit.

  23. I so agree, gardens are more important than ever. When I was a child, I and the other kids in the neighborhood would just go play in the woods and fields around our houses. My children don’t have that opportunity, as all those untended spaces are gone, turned into strip malls & subdivisions. The only places where children can experience nature now are parks and in the garden. I want to be more than just an EdenMaker; I want to be an EdenMaking evangelist. I always call my children over to see something in the garden, a toad, a butterfly, a bud about to burst, to awaken in them a love of and respect for nature and a sense of awe about its workings. There is something healing to the pysche about plants and nature, a much cheaper form of therapy. At the darkest time of my life, I poured my grief into the creation of a new garden. I truly believe that garden saved my sanity, if not my life. On a garden walk this summer, one of the stops was at a retirement home. The gardens and container plantings were tended by the residents. My friend & I agreed that if we ever required assisted living arrangements, we would have to live in a place like this where we could garden or at least be outside among plants.
    I’m honored to be considered a member of this community of EdenMakers. BTW, I loved the video!

  24. Oops, I runned on a bit. You’ll have to sue me, I guess. Love the video!

  25. Shirley, there is some irony in the internet for gardeners and aficionados of garden design and its particular wonders. I have been floored often – and happily! – by the rise of garden blogging and the wonders of all those friends and people we visit. As someone who really enjoys seeing the creations of others, it’s a true glory finding all that amazing stuff made and conceived by these most avid Eden Makers. As a landscape designer with an installation Jones, I ponder all those new things with an eye towards using them myself. With the internet, the envelope of Garden Ideas sure opens wide and sure holds a lot!

    My most amazing discovery in implementing gardens and designs has always been in the transition in those homeowners who suddenly spend yet more time and energy outdoors, far more than before. Sure, some of that is proprietary, lol – they paid a bunch for some of that. (Thanks!) But much is definitely not. Passing by later, I can usually find them outdoors, changing things just a little or adding to their place. My role is always to enable that, in my opinion, because those who commission the work most certainly spend the most time there. What I provide most often is an incomplete palette – they furnish the rest.

    I have often said, and will say it again: You can take the greatest works by any of us designers and hold them against the work of some very creative people who do much of their own work, and you will finish a distant second place. Some work is just evoked – it is spiritual and it is as creative as anything any of us could devise – ever. There are wonders out there, pockets of amazing genius, from the most atypical people. BUt there you go – they make Edens the right way.

    Gardens are unique. They offer something the internet is utterly counterposed toward: Time and the effects of Time. Where we get instant input online, we need to wait years for some things in a garden, sometimes merely months, yet either teaches us the patience that the Natural World alone can teach. Their seasonal changes and their growth patterns are of a subtlety we only find in our human families over the passage of years. Yet, there they remain, always changing and always developing in that microcosm of the Eternal World we create ourselves. Gardening, in short, rocks.

  26. Every day I am more and more proud of you. Your article is wonderful. Perfect truth expressed with words from your heart.
    The earth is our precious gift from God, we must love, take care of and preserve it. It brought to mind these inspiring verses:

    ‘He set the earth on its foundations;
    it can never be moved.
    You covered it with the deep as with a garment;
    the waters stood above the mountains.
    But at your rebuke, the waters fled,
    as the sound of your thunder, they took to flight;
    they flowed over the mountains,
    they went down into the valleys,
    to the place you assigned for them.
    You set a boundary they can not cross;
    never again they will cover the earth.

    He makes springs pour water into the ravines;
    it flows between the mountains.
    They give water to all the beasts of the field;
    the wild donkeys quench their thirst.
    They birds of the air nest by the waters;
    they sing among the branches.
    He water the mountains from his upper chambers;
    the earth is satisfied by the fruit of his work.
    He makes grass grow for the cattle
    bringing forth food from the earth;
    wine that gladdens the heart of man,
    oil to make his face shine
    and bread that sustain his heart.

    The trees of the Lord are well watered
    the cedars of Lebanon that He planted.
    There the birds make their nest,
    the stork has its home in the pine trees.
    The hight mountains belongs to the wild goats;
    the crags are a refuge to the coneys.

    The moon marks off the seasons,
    and the sun knows when to go down.
    You bring darkness, it becomes night
    and all the beasts of the forest prowl.
    The lions roar for their prey
    and seek their food from God.
    The sun raises and they steal away;
    they return and lie down in their dens.


    I am sorry that I took a long space but your article inspired me to share these great truths with you.
    Shirley [too}

  27. Dear Shirley, with the megawatt smile and personality to match,

    I am honored and humbled you consider me an EdenMaker, a title I will cherish. I am with Anna and think you should create some kind of widget for our techie web/blog spots.

    It is a privilege to be a small voice in the larger garden community. I take my role very, very seriously and consider my contribution to creating gardens and knowledge of gardening just a bit part on a very big stage.

    I am involved in creating a new children’s adventure garden at the Idaho Botanical Garden: No big plastic crap, just running streamlets, sandy places to play, sticks for building dams in the water, a tree house for everyone, and places to hide and explore. We want them to get dirty! (We will include an area to wash the kids off before they go home).

    As a sistah of the soil, a dirt diva in part, I say, lets drag the world out onto the patio, into the garden, let’s feed them from the garden, hand then a lavender wand, and show them the magic that is a seed.

    Thanks for bringing us together in the garden.

  28. Eden Makers, indeed, Shirley! Yes, as we move ever more into a technological society, we have to bring along the agricultural society we thought we no longer needed, and you surely have pointed out how true that is! My daughter, Antonia, has two middle names, Juliet Eden. I’m so glad I blessed her with that reminder, which she grew up with and increasingly honors in her own blog hittingsend.com. It’s important as mothers that we do send our kids out of doors, teach them to grow things, teach them to connect with Mother Earth. One day we will no longer be on the planet and if we have taught our children to connect with Mother Earth, they won’t miss us quite as much. They will have a source to go to that is powerful, centering and grounding. If not, they really are lost. Thanks for calling attention to how important it is to honor our precious Earth, Shirley.

  29. hi Shirley…..you are an evangelist for making Edens in ordinary backyards! thank you for including me in your world,

  30. Shirley, all I can say is “Amen Sister!” I hope I’m an Eden Maker. I worry about everyone in the world as we become more tech driven and oriented. I hope that people use their free time to get some sunshine. I think I heard @ the GWA symposium that the color green soothes our weary souls.

    What a beautiful visit to your garden. I just want to come sit & have a cup of tea.~~Dee

  31. I couldn’t agree more, Shirley. Your point about how much more we need connection with the outdoors as we become increasingly attached to our technology–that’s very similar to a prediction made in MegaTrends (yes, the book from 1988) about the trend toward “high tech>high touch”. There are basic sensory needs that humans have, and a clicking keyboard can’t provide it. For example, despite the magnitude of email and texted communication, there are more inventive and charming greeting cards than ever before, and homemade card-making has its own industry. (I hope someone is actually SENDING those cards!) I think you can see where I’m going with this. I also believe that the local, organic food movement is not only about safety and conservation of fuel–it’s at least as much about feeling connected to, as you put it, the ‘dirt world’, .

  32. What a beautiful video Shirley of your own personal Eden. The music was just perfect & your gardens are gorgeous! Thanks for stopping by my blog today & for the nice comments. 🙂

  33. Of course I agree with every single word, and right-on, sister! But I only WISH more people responded to nature the way you and I do. I guess in hte East more than in SoCal, fewer people even have outdoor furniture so they can occasionally use their “yards” – which definitely aren’t gardens. I was just meeting with a client who’s Malaysian, who expressed shock that Americans don’t USE their front yards, which back home in Malaysia are gardens, are filled with human activity, unlike our totally bland no-man’s land, the American front yard.
    I truly hate spending a whole day indoors but it’s just sad how many people, especially kids, are just fine with that. I can’t figure it out because I agree with you that being in nature is our normal condition but ah, how far we’ve come.

  34. Shirley, I cried! Love the music and it’s one of my favorite songs. This sure lifted my spirits.

    You are so right, we need to connect and firmly ground ourselves in the basics that sustain and improve our spirit, mental health, even physical health. We can’t do that hooked up to the computer world. It makes you anxious.

    You made an important point and said it beautifully—-those plants don’t get there by themselves. Someone had to plan that and imagine how others would enjoy it also. I feel the same and am proudly proclaiming myself an Eden Maker!

    Shirley–you should give some kind of widget to share for those of us who claim to be Eden Makers. I would love to have one on my sidebar. It isn’t one that you make people participate in..rather, they come and read your article and decide if they want to be one.

    You are the best and love ya bunches!

  35. Hi Shirley, thanks for calling me an Eden Maker. Your narrative is thought provoking and so so true. The earth calls to us to go outside and be in it. Gardeners already know the pull of the soil, let’s hope the people chained to their computers can experience that same draw.


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