I know people who love getting their hands in the dirt and really working with the Earth to plant their beds and manage their gardens. Methodical, even meditative about their process; gardeners fret over bugs and rejoice over buds.
Like all things, I’m certain that practice is needed and wisdom is developed from experience.
I know as much about gardening as I know about playing the ukulele, which is to say very, very little. I’ve never studied it, I’ve never learned. Even the bits and pieces I should have picked up just by making it to adulthood haven’t stuck.
As a new-ish Southern California resident, and a homeowner, I have a yard full of stuff that is growing. That is, whatever gets past my black thumb. Only the most fiercely independent plants flourish without my interference.
I’m aware of the concept of pruning, but wouldn’t know when to do it. When something fruits, I am quite dubious about the right time to pick. Jalapeno peppers I planted last year fruited again this year with tiny red peppers. How can that even be I incredulously wonder?
I love to snorkel because the experience of watching ocean life feels otherworldly. I can hardly believe those colors and textures have evolutionary rationale. Flowers are similar to me. Their seductive flashiness, their stems elongating to the sun as if in a yoga pose; it is so fabulous and fleeting.
I even have two flowering plans in my yard that have sprouted flowers within flowers, a lovely delight I can only liken to an egg with two yokes or a rare triple peanut treat.
Sometimes I dream about raised vegetable beds and vertical succulent walls. My Pinterest boards show more aspiration than I can muster in real life. Time poverty more than anything holds me back, delaying my farm to table harvest for another day.
For now, it is okay by me that gardening remains mysterious and special. I still observe as an outsider the blooms, textures and shades of green.
Today, when I walk the Paseos of my neighborhood, I am proud of the blooming beauty of my community. While I am not contributing, I am appreciating.
Perhaps with study, trial and coaching, I will plan and plant and nurture. When my seedling grows to reach its limbs to the sun there will surely be a flower-within-a-flower, that makes people stop and say “look at that!” and smile.
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