Gardening is a way of showing that you believe in tomorrow.
- Author Unknown
It is that time of year again. The time when folks head out into their yards and start preparing the earth for planting. Seeds, seedlings, sprouts, and young plants are purchased. Dreams of beautiful flowers, and delicious fruits and vegatables are on the minds of these nature loving souls. I have longed to be one of these people, but as you might have read this week, gardens and I....well we have issues.
Gardening is about enjoying the smell of things growing in the soil,
getting dirty without feeling guilty, and generally taking the time
to soak up a little peace and serenity.
- Lindley Karstens
Have you ever wanted to be someone you are not? Wanted to like something that you don't? Wanted to excel at something that you just aren't equipped to handle? Well, that is me.....and gardens. Ever since buying our house 12 years ago, I have WANTED to like gardening and yard work. I would love to have an amazing yard, full of beautiful flowers, but when it comes right down to it....I despise everything that takes place AFTER the planting. I thoroughly enjoy the planting part of the project, but I can not handle the upkeep. I WANT to like it....but I just don't. Weeding has to be like the most boring activity ever. UGH! I find no joy in taking care of my flowerbeds. It is work, plain and simple. I wish it weren't so....but it is.
The man who has planted a garden feels that
he has done something for the good of the world.
- Charles Dudley Warner
Until last summer I hadn't even the inkling of a desire to plant a vegetable garden. I had SWORN to all that was holy that I would NEVER.....EVER have a garden. But......then came Sugar Bear. As much as I despised working in our family garden when I was growing up, I somehow have this feeling that Sugar Bear would love it....at least while she is young. These photos were early last June. We were up visiting my parents one weekend, and my mom needed to replant some beans. There were some bare spots in her rows that she wanted to fill in. Instead of running out and doing this task in a quick 10 minutes, she invited Sugar Bear along. What would have taken my mother a few minutes, took that pair a good half hour, but I am certain my mom understood the impact that experience had on Miss Sug. As you might have guessed.....she loved it.
Watching those two slowly make their way down the rows blessed my heart, and warmed my soul. It was the first time in over a two decades that I found a reason to smile in a garden. Observing the precious connection of grandmother and grandchild, as they gifted the earth with life, blew me away. The patient and gentle way in which my mom let Sugar Bear help reminded me that it isn't always about rushing through a task. Sometimes it could just be about the task itself. Sure....she could have planted twice the seeds in half the time, but it wouldn't have been near as fun as those special moments with a young child. It was Quality over Quantity.
Gardening is any way that humans and nature come together
with the intent of creating beauty.
- Tina James, 1999
There was a particular moment when I watched my mother struggle to make the hole in the ground, as Sugar was literally hanging from her arm. I wondered how her back was not aching, and why she didn't ask Sugar to just let go. I nearly hollered out a gentle command for Sugar Bear to release Grandma's arm when I realized it was Grandma that had a hold of Sugar, not the other way around. Grandma was embracing her young helper, and sharing the knowledge of many years.....passing down the family gardening tradition. It was QUALITY TIME.....and QUANTITY TIME. Not only was she gifting my Sugar Bear with patience and understanding....she was making a deep connection. She was sharing a part of who she is.
I have found, through years of practice, that people garden in order to make
something grow; to interact with nature; to share, to find sanctuary, to heal,
to honor the earth, to leave a mark. Through gardening, we feel whole
as we make our personal work of art upon our land.
- Julie Moir Messervy, The Inward Garden, 1995, p.19
It was too late last summer for me to throw in the towel, and end my mental battle with Gardens. I resigned myself to reevaluating it this coming season. Now that it is here....I'm nervous. I WANT to love it. I WANT to share the fabulous experience with my daughter, but I am nervous. The past has shown me, that I don't love it....I don't enjoy it one bit....but can it be different this time? Would there be a way for me to see past the WORK and embrace the gifts? Can I get over the Quantity (time laboring) and enjoy the Quality (time with my daughter)?
I took baby steps earlier this season, and we have planted some flowers together. I lifted our spirits out of the winter doldrums. I am currently struggling to keep our little blossoms alive however. I don't have the greenest of thumbs. This worries me, but I am still toying with the idea of making a small garden this year.........and when I say small, I mean small. Maybe two tomato plants....and some carrots.....or something like that. Start SMALL. It is Quantity that scares me. Maybe....just maybe if I start small, I'll be able to keep the focus on Quality......time that is, cause I'm not guaranteeing anything will actually grow.
In the heart of a seed,
Buried deep so deep,
A tiny plant
Lay fast asleep.
"Wake," said the sunshine,
"And creep to the light."
"Wake," said the voice
Of the raindrops bright.
The little plant heard
And it rose to see,
What the wonderful,
Outside world might be. ~Author Unknown