This may be a surprise, but I love gardening! I love the feeling of working with the earth, pulling weeds, watching plants progress. I love the constant, slow nurturing of watering and feeding the plants. I love the excitement when flowers blossom and fruit grows.
What I don’t love is the pressure.
There’s pressure to grow lots of produce, pressure to keep a weed-free garden, pressure pick your produce at the right times, and pressure to know when to water and when it will rain overnight. There’s pressure to produce enough tomatoes, zucchinis and cucumbers for my mother in law to can.
After several years, I realized, my garden is a mess. My gardening skills are a mess. And also, that doesn’t bother me a bit! I still love it!
I love flowers. And tomatoes. The sweet ones. The little yellow cherry ones.
I love the pumpkins. And the cucumbers. I love surprise plants growing from random seeds in my compost. Last year we grew several butternut squash, and potatoes without meaning to.
I love spreading flowers that flourish around the yard. And letting my girls buy a potted plant to care for. I love picking the flowers I planted way back in spring when they finally bloom. Then I get to surprise people at work with vases of color. Or have a pretty bouquet on the table.
This year, my girls and husband grew grass in pots. At the start there were wildflower seeds planted, but the only thing that actually flourished was grass. The girls don’t care, so I don’t either. They insist on watering their grass and noticing the growth.
During the winter months, I purchased bee and butterfly flower seeds, as well as bright pink peony seeds. The seeds were planted in the spring. Only the Foxglove plants grew. The peonies started growing but mysteriously disappeared when transplanted. Nature was not kind to them. Alas, none of the seeds flowered.
But I don’t mind. I learn a little each time, and rarely get discouraged.
Plants are like children, but easier. They need regular food, water and sunshine. They need tending to, love, sunshine and appreciation. They need acceptance for who they are, and they need the right conditions for their personalities.
The first three or four years of my gardening journey, I planted just for the vegetables. After mixed success and tiring of the labor of harvesting and processing the veggies, I decided to purchase a Community Shared Agriculture plan. They guarantee me veggies so I can use my garden for what I want. And alleviate the pressures.
So now we plant a tomato garden, some cukes, some pumpkins for fun, some snow peas for the girls and flowers.
We plant lettuce too, but more for a science experiment. I find lettuce difficult to clean. We do eat a good amount from our garden each year, but inevitably let it grow into a lettuce tree.
What a treasure!
Also, I pot herbs to use in cooking. But what ends up happening is the girls rip the leaves off and eat them for novelty’s sake. Who cares? It’s another treasure.
My garden is glorious. My girls can eat snow peas and tomatoes right off the plant. They get to search for and pick cucumbers for our lunches. They observe the lettuce tree, pick flowers for our table and get to watch the life cycle of their Halloween pumpkins. These experiences are priceless for our family.
Maybe they will have the green gardening thumb I am still searching for, but if not, then they will still have a rich experience with caring for plants and harvesting food.
I am so grateful for the climate where I live, for my state and my home. I am blessed with good fortune to afford the Moo Doo, mulch and other materials needed, as well as the CSA share to enrich our summer and fall. I am one of the lucky ones to have the access to water each day to water my garden. I wish all people had such treasures. May all who are searching for it, find their roots, grow from interacting with the earth and blossom with healthy, fresh foods and beautiful flowers.
Please comment and let me know- what’s your treasure? What’s your experience with gardening?