"Bloom where you are planted."
"Plant a seed and watch it grow."
The quotes abound when it comes to plants, not to mention the plants themselves. This time of year, there is no stopping them.
Part of my business reimagination has been to add items to both my online and brick and mortar store that are garden related. After all, I have a beautiful garden, why not have items that support this? Beauty is not just skin care. Self care and gardening go hand in hand in my mind.
What I Love About Gardening
I love pretty planting pots and happy watering cans, and fun stakes to remind me what I planted because I always forget even when I think I am going to remember. I love seeds and smells and ways to make gardening easier for anyone. One simple pot with a sprouting zinnia gives me a daily jolt of happiness knowing I put the dirt in, put the seeds in and watered it to produce this sprout. It really is miraculous.
Plants show up where you never thought you planted them thanks to the birds and the critters digging, eating, pooping— voila, a new garden where you didn’t intend. Last year it was my driveway thanks to the extended fox family who decided to take root in my outdoor barn. Cosmos and zinnia showed up all over my gravel driveway and I would like to think they had something to do with its magic appearance.
Whether you are an avid gardener with swaths of backyard space, an apartment dweller happy with just a few containers or a hopeful future gardener drooling over other people’s delights, the outdoors in the summer is especially gratifying and at the same time grounding. It is almost cliche to call it that, but I must because there is no other word that describes the impact that my garden’s bounty has on my inner compass.
My Gardening Process
I gave up vegetable gardening a few years ago because I couldn’t compete with the rabbits and headed straight to the seed packets for zinnia, basil, parsley, chamomile and cosmos instead. I sprinkle my garden weekly with the thousands of seeds, throw cares to the wind and water, then watch the magic. I don’t even pinch back the bounty, I just let it grow wild and it never disappoints.
There are a lot of rules and regs out there in gardening land. Advice everywhere you look, not to mention the little tidbits from neighbors over the fence and the ones that walk by to let me know the names of some of the flowers that I can’t recall planting, but yet, here they are.
Just the other day, I was on my front porch, writing and my neighbor, Carol walked by, an avid gardener herself. We stopped briefly to share our love of the strong and mighty Linden tree across the street. I reminded her that she was the one who told me the name of its majestic beauty. Since then every time I recognize a Linden tree, I think of her. The smell is intoxicating.
She took a brief walk in my garden and let me know that the tall dancing purple and lilac flowers were larkspur and I was reminded how happy I am to know people in my neighborhood who know gardens and trees and love them like I do. We chatted and smiled happily with the satisfaction and joy that our gardens, especially this time of the year, give to us.
Lessons from Gardens
What I have learned from gardening is:
- Perfection is bullshit.
- Gardening is never complete.
- There is always something to do.
This has taught me that I must force myself to sit and enjoy it, staring and sitting, smelling and listening, just sitting. I would say that this is the greatest lesson in gardening. The excuse to sit and stare. To not get up and pick that one weed you spot, or cut back that pesky catmint that has gone nuclear since the last time I looked.
To sit and watch the robin who built a nest in the wisteria and digs worms with an intuitive maternal science to feed her babies right behind my head as I write today. The two catbirds I have named Fred and Mary who built a nest in my rosebush, but then abandoned it to rebuild in my late blooming hydrangea only to seem to abandon it again. There are baby bunnies who stand in the direct center of my yard for any predator to come take them down eating the clovers with their innocent vulnerability.
I watch my wisteria take hold and take shape knowing that it must be tamed and trained or as the former owner of this magic palace said to me, "Alayne, it will take down your deck."
I sit close to the honeysuckle hoping for more wafts of sweetness to infiltrate my olfactory system watching the bees buzz and drink up the nectar like a good bottle of wine. The fragrance transports me back to my times in Jamestown, RI with my little brother and it warms my heart and makes me feel like he is sitting right here with me.
My new business direction will involve the garden. This is what I have spent the last year thinking about, plotting and imagining. It is my hope that the garden will serve as a centerpiece for retreats, and workshops, outdoor herbal foot soaks, artists and writers. To get more of us to gather solo and remember the quiet of last year, to remind more of us the gift of just sitting with nothing planned except a cold glass of homemade herbal water and a pair of sunglasses.
This is the power of plants and gardens, they are a constant source of pleasure that I love to share with anyone who needs some personal rooting. There is so much to come and I have always felt that my space is not just for me. I will not say that last year was a gift because it feels selfish and trite for the trauma we have all just witnessed. I will say though, that the forced pause made me really consider what direction I need personally and if that makes my garden part of someone’s healing in the near and distant future, then I have learned and used my time wisely.