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Friday, May 16, 2008

Q is for........Quality vs. Quantity

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 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

13 Live It or Love It:

Maude Lynn said...

Ah, Corey! The quality of the time that Sugar Bear and your mom shared together was due to the fact that your mom was sharing a part of herself. If gardening is not you, it's just not you. Let Sugar Bear make mudpies! She'll love it!

Bellevelma said...

Corey, I can relate. We have a garden patch and every year I think how great it will be to grow our own vegetables and Snags gets all excited about buying seeds to plant. And then the moment I stick the shovel in the ground I think, this SUCKS! I hate planting stuff. Gardening is just not me. I wish I had the money to hire a professional to do it for me.

Deb said...

As another non-gardener (although I try for a while every year), I know what you mean. I would so love to be good at it and to have a gorgeous yard full of things blooming all year round. And a garden of yummy things to eat as well. That's actually on the agenda if we can ever get the side of our house finished - I know the girls would have a blast with a garden. Sugar and your mom look like they were having a wonderful time with hers! :)

Anonymous said...

Small is good. Try something cool like watermelon! They grow on really cool vines.

Anonymous said...

What a beautiful post, Corey! And your mom has!! I would *LOVE* to have one so expansive!!

I happen to love everything about gardening, even the mindless task of weeding. I've been in the garden since I was Sugar's age and really, starting out young really helps.

I think your idea of starting out small is a good one. How about trying a few herbs, like basil and chives? Just not rosemary. Even I can't get that to grow!

AnnD said...

I have to agree with the top person, it's not the's one-on-one attention! But, I know where you are coming from...about wanting to be something you are not! I get all of these ideas about taking photoshop classes or even just making a point to justplay around with photoshop to fix each and every single picture I take. But, I just can't, photoshop bores me silly! I'm also the same way with cooking. I despise preparing food but so want to be a great chef!

Jo Beaufoix said...

Corey I'm the same. I may grow some veg this year. We have cleared a tiny patch and planted some seeds but it's not something I love, I wish I did, but it doesn't come naturally. I'm going to go step by step too. :D

Kimberly Vanderhorst said...

Oh how beautifully put! We just put in our first much to learn! I'm like Jo, it doesn't come naturally for me, but I can't wait to see the results!

Anonymous said...

Yeah.. Go green..

holly said...

if i had a dime for every plant i killed trying to facilitate queen of hearts' love of plants? i'd have several dimes.

the WORST thing is that my grandma was pretty much the envy of the town with respect to gardening. sigh. hopefully one of her other grandchildren inherited that...i certainly didn't.

Carolyn said...

Sigh. Sigh. Sigh. Lovely post. I'm not much of a gardener either, but my mom loves it and Csilla shares in her enjoyment while I sit back and read a magazine (or take photos). We all win! Try not to worry so much about loving it... just try to enjoy it with Sugar and see what happens.

Anonymous said...

Such a super sweet post, Corey! I've got two black thumbs as well. We've finally settled on a pair of herb pots on our back deck. The whole 'planting experience', harvesting fresh herbs for dinner, no weeding and plants that don't die (I've learned it's pretty near impossible to kill off a thyme or chive plant!). Works for everyone. Wishing happy Sugar moments in your garden!

John-Michael said...

Just came in from planting basil, culantro, and rosemary ... feeling very much the Accomplisher ... saw this photo on the cre8buzz site (which is very cool!, indeed!!) ... clicked on it there ... back here ... saw the expanse of your garden ... I don't want to talk about it any more (he slinks sulkilly, [yes it is a word!! I just made it up!] and inadequately away.)

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