I have this vision in my head of myself as an old woman.
I tend to a small, welcoming home, bathed in brilliant colors… inside and out. The walls are adorned with pictures of the people I’ve loved, the shelves filled with pieces of the world I’ve traveled and it smells like freshly-baked bread.
I wake in the morning, before the sun, to feed, water and walk my perfectly-behaved and peace-filled dog. Then I’m home to spend the rest of my morning hours piddling in my flower garden. I know the flower names and their needs. I walk on a stone path from flowerbed to flowerbed. I know where the divisions are, but anyone looking at my garden would think it is a seamless expression of blooming brilliance.
Then there are the days there is not much tending to be done, and I can sit in my garden with my coffee, the sounds of the birds I’ve invited to join me and any friend who happens to need a place to sit. The fleur de lis iron bench is covered with a well-loved cushion that knows the places my bones find rest and the table is set for visitors.
There is a problem with this vision…
I don’t know how to garden.
My gardening resume’: I’ve managed to keep three potted
plants alive for an entire year…barely. A personal record. I pruned my bridal spireas two years ago, and I have helped my daughter to kill her girl scout plants for two years running.
“Life is too fast and chaotic,” I justify.
“There is no time to tend to plants…I have other growing to do.”
It’s true, and excusable…sortof.
I want to make a sign to post in our yard that says, “Excuse the weeds…we’re growing children.”
The energy I spend on the physical, intellectual, emotional and spiritual growth of our children is time-consuming and very real. That being said, it is starting to be a problem that our life is too chaotic for a garden.
It is another reality I can no longer ignore. Part of why I cannot have a garden is because I am never planted in one place long enough to have one. A garden needs a gardener, but I am also realizing, if I want to become an old-woman gardener, I need a garden. The logic takes me to the acceptance that I need to find a place, dig in roots and surround myself with fertile gardening soil.
Gardeners are patient, however, and I will be picky about the ground that calls me.
The plan: I will slow first, plant second, tend third…and then my vision of floral brilliance actually becomes possible.
10 thoughts on “Growing Toward Gardening…”
T too always wanted a garden, sort of. I didn’t get obsessed with gardening till my daughter was a baby. I started slowly, with a few pots. I belive in the “stupid gardner apporach”, buy the right plant for the right spot and water it. Meagan, I tell you, you really might get hooked. I now know why my mother loved it so much. When something is not working in your garden, you can cut it, transplant it, or even rip it out and start over again. You CAN NOT do that with you children!!! Trust me, I killed everything too, get a pot of marigolds or somethng easy, you will never go back!!! It becomes an addiction!!
I loved this post! I always love it when I get an update on your blog! Thanks.
Thanks Kathy. Now I know exactly where to go when I find my fingernails caked with soil and my plants browning around me. Thanks for commenting!!
have just ordered the book – and CANNOT WAIT to get it!
Meagan, you sound like my daughter – too busy to smell the roses literally!! She has a 4 and a 5 yr old, a husband and her work. She often tells me, a little resentfully, that it must be nice to have time to do nothing. (not that I have that much). I reassure her that life slows a little as time goes by. Enjoy each phase, even if your garden has to wait a few years.
Your writing is great – I loved this piece.
Thanks Joyce. It is a balance to continue seeking out the beautiful when we are entrenched in the busy, but I think it is worth the effort 🙂
Plant that garden Meagan! Sometimes our visions are our deepest selves trying to break free. Congratulations on the plant you have managed to keep alive. Do not despise small beginnings. You will learn how to keep your garden alive – it’s in you to do so. Smile.
Make a glass terrarium, one of those glass jars with pretty moss and stones in them. That way, if you happen to have the urge to get up and go – your garden can travel with you.
I LOVE the idea of the terrarium. I think I will absolutely try that out this spring. I know I’ll be on the move, and I would love to take the garden with me.
I have a feeling you’d be a fabulous gardener! And I love that photo. I have a thing about photos of doorways…
I hope you’re right. I want to be a good gardener 🙂 I love door pictures too, and I was so happy to have found this one!