Only on Farmville could I ever have imagined yours truly, Ms. Black Thumb Extraordinaire, growing a garden this green and lush. True confession: I’ve been a plant-killer all of my life. A pretty bad case– I’ve never owned a house-plant for more than a year. Previous attempts at outdoor gardening have been frivolous and indulgent, at best. But somehow this year is different.
Over the past two weeks, my garden has grown from being an oh that’s nice you have a garden garden to an Oh, my goodness, what a lovely garden! garden. I don’t know if it’s the constant blazing sun in this South-facing garden plot, the over-priced (but oh, so worth it!) organic soil we purchased from Lowe’s, or perhaps the spirit of the previous home-owner, Barbara, lingering on the grounds and gifting me with her amazing horticultural acumen. Dare I say it could be of my own doing? Perhaps I learned a bit in my previous failures?
Whatever it is, this garden brings me such peace, joy, and satisfaction that I could never fully convey to someone who hasn’t experienced it firsthand. It makes me feel close to my late father, who had flower beds and fruit trees and vegetable gardens and bushes plotted all over their yard until my mom finally said “Enough!” It brings out the chatty neighbors when they catch me hose-in-hand (or, more often rear-in-the-air) tending to my plot. They always comment “That’s some garden you’ve got there!” and inquire as to what I’m growing and how long it will be until I show up, knocking, with freshly picked tomatoes, squash, or a watermelon to share. I think it gives Ollie, the lovely octogenarian man who lives across the street, something to look forward to. He watches from his window or the bench in his yard, and when his legs aren’t hurting from the diabetes he’s afflicted with he’ll grab his cane and make his way down to the street for a quick chat. He waxes poetic about the unequaled taste of home-grown tomatoes and reminisces about his more agile years when he had a garden in his backyard, too. And that’s really what’s important, isn’t it? Not the food itself, but the sense of connection with the world.
You push a seed into the soil, give it water and light, and it will eventually grow into something that nourishes your body and your spirit. Miraculous!